Monday, March 24, 2014

Titanfall, a New Generation of Multiplayer

From Respawn Entertainment comes a new title known as Titanfall, one of the most anticipated games of 2014. This first person multiplayer shooter takes place in a dangerous universe where you, a pilot, and your titan, a giant humanoid robot you pilot, do battle with other titans, pilots, and AI soldiers. The game focuses on the two elements of these soldiers, the pilots, which are agile footsoliders with a jetpack, and the titans,who are the giant robots you can maneuver around the map, until they explode. The pillot, that is you, start off by choosing a default class to fight with, and five weapons of choice for their class: the main weapon, the side arm, an anti-titan weapon, a special ability, and an ordinance. The titans themselves have their own sort of classes, as there are three types of titans to use. Everyone gets a titan, and surprisingly, contrary to popular belief, the titans are not ridiculously overpowering, and rather easy to take out. As of right now, there are two game modes for Titanfall, known as Attrition, a basic death-match, and Hardpoint, which is a 'capture the flag' type operation, where you try to capture and defend three territories. Only three maps have been released so far, though I can only imagine that many more maps will be following in suit. The controls you have in the game really set it apart from other shooters, as maneuvering feels more natural than that of Battlefield of Call of Duty, and there are more ways to manuver, such as double jumping, and wall running. The graphics are incredible, from the massive ships in the sky and the landscapes, down to the finest detail on the soldiers and their weapons, Titanfall does a good job at immersing you in the gameplay. The story is driven by two factions, the IMC and the Militia. The IMC is a giant cooperation who is exploiting a place known as the Frontier, or the collection of resource-rich planets at the deepest reaches of space. The Militia are run by people known as settlers, who are men and women who journey to the frontier looking for new opportunities and places to settle outside of Earth. It is the settlers belief that the IMC should stay out of this free new land, though to the IMC, the settlers are a huge obstacle in collecting their precious resources, thus, the two fight one another over control of the land. The game will be released on the Xbox and the PC, so both console gamers and PC gamers can get a taste of this game. Released on March 11th, the titles of this game are now available in stores everywhere, or online. I highly recommend getting this game, for sandbox gamers, for shooters, or for those who enjoy multiplayer. Hope to see you soon on the Frontier.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Super Mario Galaxy on Review

Mario is one of the longest running series in video game history, and certainly one of the most popular. Since the dawn of his creation, the concept has remained basically the same, with occasional variants like Mario Kart and Mario Superstar Baseball that Nintendo has made and sort of set aside the original Mario storyline. My favorite Mario game, by far, is Super Mario Galaxy, made for the Wii system.


In this game, you play as Mario running through a space-like environment. Princess Peach is, once again, captured by the dastardly Bowser, and it's Mario's job to get her back. Like other Mario games, in Super Galaxy you have the option to travel through different levels, and unlike other games, you go about it defeating monsters and completing puzzles as you go. What really stand out, though, are the level designs, which are completely out of this world, excuse the pun. The creativity that goes into the design for the levels is phenomenal. Where in other Mario games, the levels are flat and fairly two dimensional, Super Mario Galaxy is a game with three dimensions. This whole game has a space theme to it, and it's your job as Mario to go traversing across these floating 'planets', each with their own gravity, different dangers, and unique components that set each level apart from one another. In these collections of planets, you act as Mario, bouncing around to try and collect coins and 'star bits'. Star bits act as both the currency and a type of weapon in the game, along with Mario's original bounce and a new 'spinning' move that can be done by shaking the remote. Because of this, it can be fun to just run around and goof off in levels, and Nintendo made it even more fun to return to previously played levels to collect all the coins and the stars themselves, which are needed in order to save the Princess, and travel through the galaxy. The graphics are by far better than previous Mario games made for the Gamecube and N64, and the controls do fairly well as far as a Wii game is concerned. Sometimes, while wandering around in a nearly four-dimensional field, the controls can get a bit strange, and the gravity of a planet can sometimes make it difficult to jump in a straight line. However, the strangeness and newness of the platformer makes it an amazingly different, but still fun, game to play. However, if you don't like the Wii controls, I do not suggest this game for you. While this game is not particularly challenging, it can get tiresome, as this game calls for aiming the remote at the TV quite a bit, to spin, to shoot star bits, to defeat bosses, or to complete different puzzles. While most Mario games are more based on the playability of the normal Mario levels, Mario Galaxy really stands out because of the exact opposite, with the playability, mechanics, and art design of the levels being the center of what makes this game great. It is that, with the nostalgia of the old Mario thrown in on top of this that make the whole game a great play, whether or not you like to play Wii games or not. If you do own a Wii, I would definitely say that Super Mario Galaxy is a game that should be one in your collection.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

News of Steambox in 2014

(2013 ces.cnet.com Steambox Debut)
With the holiday season over, and most gaming companies done with their Christmas and New Year sales, most gamers are focused only on completing all of the games they received for gifts this year. While not much news has been circulating, there are certain things to be looking out for this upcoming 2014. News of the release of Elder Scrolls Online and the new lineup of Mario games abound, what I'm most excited about is the new Alieanwear Steam Machine. Announcement a new gaming platform for the first time in fifteen years may sound a bit risky, given today's competitive gaming market, but is also extremely exciting for both console and PC gamers everywhere.

Not much is currently known about the new Steambox, but from what has been released, we do know that the box will be able to act as a mini server, able to serve up to eight controllers and monitors, meaning you could have the ability to hook the box up in one room and have it serve eight other screens, in distant rooms of your house. There will be no motion controls, rather a handheld controller as most other consoles use, replacing the keyboard that all Steam games typically use. To compensate for the lack of a keyboard, Valve has put a touchscreen in the middle of their controller (a bit like Sony did with the PS4) a pair of buttons flanking the touchscreen, and two 'non-joystick' analog on either side of them. Steam has also redesigned their website to better fit onto your livingroom TV, a simpler, sleeker design, called the 'Big Picture Mode', which can already be found on the steam website, under settings. Here, it will be easier to access your Steam account and the store to buy new games, eliminating the use of game discs.  Basically, the new Steambox will become a new gaming computer without the computer, a post-PC-gaming console if you will.

While console gamers are excited, PC gamers will still have the ability to sit back and relax with a nice game downloaded right from the internet, without having to move from their monitor to their TV screen. The point of the Steambox is to expand Valve's reach, rather than eliminate PC gaming entirely. With this, Steam will be able to reach out to a whole new audience who can experience a completely new form of platform gaming, one only previously experienced by PC gamers.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas wrapping ideas for the gamer in your life

Has someone else already bought the gamer in your life a fourth generation console for Christmas? Are you having trouble finding a game that they don't already own? Well, don't panic! There are tons of ideas out there that don't involve anything electronic or digital at all, that can still please anyone who plays video games. T-shirts, board games, and mugs can usually be found in your local gift stores, or, if your feeling lazy, right online at JiNX, the only place to buy gaming goods for your special someone.

As a gamer myself, I would love to find a present under the tree that isn't a new console or another game I have to play through. Even gift cards are widely accepted, though not as fun to wrap as material goods. If you want to go beyond the normal stocking stuffers, you could always get a bit creative with wrapping your presents, such as grabbing online orders from the gametimezone website and making the ordering code into oragami, or taking strips of paper and interweaving them together to make a flat picture, and wrapping a gift in that. This technique of wrapping, known as the 'pixel weave', can even make it look like there is an 8-bit pixel or icon of something on the present, if you get the technique down well. If you're not feeling crafty, JiNX always has posters that you could wrap your gift with, and with that, you get to give two presents instead of a single one.
(source: Anjelika Temple)
Of course, if you really can't think of anything, good old gift cards and downlodable content really doesn't hurt. You can't wrap things like that, but at least it saves you the paper, and it can still save you a trip to the store. Although JiNX doesn't sell wrapping paper, you can save yourself a trip to the store by shopping online. Just head over to gametimezone.com and shop to your wallet's content, buying those things your gamer craves to have year after year.

Happy Holiday, and please feel free to comment with your favorite gift wrapping ideas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pokemon X and Y, The Release

Once again, I must excuse my absence. My computer has been on the edge of breaking, and I'm having difficulties getting it to hold a charge at all. Either way, I should have a consistent way of getting back into the blog again, and hopefully this time, it's for good.

Now, with that aside, I announce that it's time for my review on the newest installment of the Pokemon series, the X and Y games. I must say that nothing in particular sticks out that sets these games apart from the others. Not at first, at least. You start out your adventure with two rivals like you did in the Black and White games, and two more friends, who you periodically battle throughout the gameplay. The graphics have improved ten-fold, but considering that a 3DS may as well be a handheld Gamecube, this is no surprise. The introduction of a fully three-dimensional world, instead of just pixelated Pokemon battles is extremely exciting, and the additions made to the environment make the world that much more engrossing. Diagonal movement, along with freedom to use any direction on the analog stick in certain towns is a huge improvement to the ninety-degree angles we could only use in the past. The new fairy type, which adds a brand new weakness to Pokemon like Spiritomb and Sableye, and some other new Pokemon type match-ups, such as Steel-Ghost and Dragon-Poison, throw a completely new curve on type matching. Mega wvolution, which is reserved for
The new Pokemon games, as released in-stores
(images found on www.gengame.net)
only a certain Pokemon, like the first generation starters and others such as Lucario and Blazekin, is a type of evolution that can only be activated during a battle, adding a whole new element to the main core of the game. What makes X and Y especially special, though, is the additions that have been made to the bottom screen, namely the Pokemon Amie and the Super Training systems, along with the easier-to-use wireless communications. In previous games, I found myself rarely connecting to other trainers to battle and trade, and now, I find myself on the Wonder Trade nearly every time I turn on my DS. The other two functions are actually mini-games that have been added to the game as a whole, meant to increase your level of interactiveness as a whole. The Super Training system makes it easier for players to raise the effort values on their Pokemon, and the Amie function, which allows you to interact with a 3-D model of your Pokemon, adds different effects to the creatures during battles, such as higher evasion, or a higher chance of waking up from paralysis. All of this together makes for a new sort of Pokemon experience, which doesn't detract much from the old. While newer fans can enjoy the additions of the Amie function, old players loose nothing to the new look of the 3D graphics, and can even find allies in the new Pokemon introduced to this game. I, myself, found that I was not detached from the gameplay at all. This Pokemon game can definitely be considered a step up from it's old counterparts (though I would give most of this credit to the capabilities of the 3DS) and, once again, a new and engrossing pokemon game has been introduced to the franchise.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Tale of Two Towns; Harvest Moon

I was completely wrong to think I could have played only a Harvest Moon game for a whole week straight. By the end of this, I was screaming and crying when I had to turn on my DS to do my daily play-throughs. Still, I can't completely bash the game for just being a Harvest Moon game, it was, after all, only doing what a game as itself was trained to do. Summing it up right quick, this issue of Harvest Moon, called A Tale of Two Towns wasn't completely bad. Still, this title for the DS was lucky if I could sit down and play it for more than two or three hours at a time.

As things go, ToTT was your average Harvest Moon game. It has a unique setting which features two towns instead of one, sitting at either side of the base of a mountain. At the beginning of the game, you must choose a town to live in, basically forcing you to choose between crops or animals. Eventually, I went with the Crop-growers, simply for aesthetic purposes and because it's where my chosen marriage candidate lives, which left me starting with enough tools to grow a flourishing garden. While it struck me later that going with Bluebell might have landed me a free cow and chicken, instead of just one vegetable, I sucked it up and stuck with my decision, (despite the fact that one can choose to move towns, if they please, after the 23rd of every month.) tending crops every night until I wanted to sob. Eventually, I did get to run and get my fair share of animals, but they take so long to grow that I haven't yet gotten any products from them. And, while every Harvest Moon game is supposed to be focused on farming, there's a bit of a twist with this game, where the focus seems to be more centered around cooking than anything.


You see, this game is based around the fuming rivalry between the two towns, Bluebell and Konohana. The ultimate goal of the game is to get the two mayors to cease their fighting and make friends, and the only way to do that is through the cooking contests that are held four times monthly at the top of the mountain that separates the towns. This can get aggravating, as I've been playing the game for a week and I've only gotten one and a half hearts into the mayor's friendship meter, and I already want to drop the game, to boot. While others might be more willing to stick it out and finish what they started (perhaps, even, if they weren't forcing themselves to play the game through all in one week), I really can only see die-hard Harvest Moon fans enjoying the game for what it's all worth. The graphics are nothing flashy, the music is repetitive, and there are more faults to this title than I've seen in the previous titles I've played. The repetitiveness of the farming, of the day to day activities, of the infernal running up and down, up and down the mountain, is really the kiss of death for this game. While most other titles have something running for them, that tends to brush away that monotonous feeling of sowing seeds every morning, this title really kicks itself with it's own repetitive activities. All in all, I cannot recommend this game to anyone outside of the Harvest Moon fan-base, unless you're into long-and-hard, brain-rotting tedium.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Back In Action; Looking Forward for Things To Come

After having vanished into thin air for two months, I am now glad to announce that I am back in action, with a more permanent position in place, as well. Although I have not played two-months-worth of games over this lost time, I can guarantee now that there is plenty of spare time ahead of me for me to devote to those games, and this blog here. In fact, I've got a plan to keep this thing more active than it's ever been, which involves bi-weekly entries and a whole lot more thumb-smashing than I've been up to. Basically, I plan on taking and reviewing one game a week, starting off each week with a 'day one' run-through, and eventually coming to end on a complete summary of the game after it's week of being played through. While I have never been the best at keeping up with news in the gaming community, I might even think about adding a third entry every so often, in the middle of the week, which would run-through anything new and exciting, such as new games or news on the next generation of consuls. While I would love to be able to take recommendations on the games I should go about reviewing from you guys, the fans, I've actually got a pretty solid line-up of games that have been sitting patiently waiting for me to get to this point, where I am constantly reviewing their titles. This line up includes things such as Bioshock Infinite, throwbacks to things like Silent Hill 2, and even a special run that will focus on the pros and cons of both consul and PC Minecraft. This week, my focus is going to be on a game that was recommended by a special friend of mine, after she saw my review on the last life-simulator I played (which was Animal Crossing: New Leaf, for those of you who don't know) and go ahead and make a relatively short-summary review at the end of the week on the title Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns. While some of you might be rolling your eyes at my strange choice in game playing, I can guarantee it is merely to keep the genre's and audiences broad, so that they cover all types of gamers, and can entertain anyone who will come here to read up on these reviews.


Along with a more solid schedule and more reviews than one can shake a stick at, I'm hoping that this blog might even be getting a shiny new skin soon, and perhaps and update on other things to come. I'll try to keep everyone posted as things come and go, but for now, I hope the boring old news of new news can keep us happy until my review (and maybe even whispers of new games) hits us this Friday.