Sunday, October 30, 2011

Slightly Redder Red: STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl

If you like cozy shooters like Call of Duty, where it's, you know, easy, then don't play this game.

STALKER: SHADOW OF CHERNOBYLl is the first of two STALKER games I'll be reviewing, the other being Call of Pripyat. Expect that later this week. If you HAVEN'T picked them up, they're on sale on Steam for about nine dollars for the next... four hours. Totally worth it.

The game is great. Bottom line. It's a grittier and delightfully Russian Fallout 3, post apocalyptic fiction at it's finest. The gunplay is refined, the enemy AI is a real challenge to conquer, and there's enough side-quests and things of such nature to keep the player interested from things outside the main story (although the time limit on said side quests can be a tad frustrating).

However, the game is REALLY HARD. Enemies can sometimes kill you with one shot, and when you're navigating a house with plenty of corners that can lead to a lot of hazards. If you get ganged up on by wild dogs, don't expect to survive, running is your only option. And the random, lethal anomalies  that can sometimes strike completely randomly while wondering the open world? Forget it. And get ready to cringe, Fallout players: ammo has weight. Yeah. It took me a while to realize my nine hundred pistol bullets were what was taking up so much space in my inventory.

One really neat part about the game is the artifacts you can find. You can find them just lying on the ground or as a quest reward (the better ones are usually quest rewards), and they function like perks, giving bonuses to armor, protection against fire and electricity, or your bleed-out rate. However, most of them come with a downside, such as weakness to radiation or a deduction from one of the aforementioned stats. Having these are sometimes invaluable though, so be on the lookout constantly.

Overall, STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl is a really well oiled machine, and I completely recommend picking it up.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shatterblog!: Captain's Log 10/29/11

Law Number 4: Children under the age of 17 who act immaturely or have annoying voices are not allowed to play Mature rated titles under any circumstances. Those caught doing so will have their Xbox 360s, Playstation 3's, et cetera, manually self destructed.

Law Number 5: The act of "teabagging" in any video game, if the victim is not a personal friend who will see it as humorous, is also punishable by Xbox, PS3, etc detonation.

Law Number 6: Any person caught playing an obnoxious song (ex. "Friday", "Whip My Hair", or anything by Lady GaGa) at a loud volume, causing those who don't enjoy the music to have to listen to it, will be buried to the neck in sand and have horseshoes, bowling balls, and bricks tossed at their exposed head.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Slightly Redder Red: Zombieville 2

MikaMobile is once again blowing me away with a game on iOS, this time in the form of a sequel to their 2009 hit Zombieville USA.

With Battleheart released last year (I think), I was really skeptical on how MikaMobile was going to be able to top that tactical RPG gem. When I heard that Zombieville 2 was in the works, I was actually very skeptical on how good it would be. I was expecting a rehash of the first game, simply with maybe a few added characters and weapons, like Colosseum Heroes added to the Colosseum game series. My low expectations, however, have been completely shattered.

Zombieville 2 is a complete departure from the original game, abandoning the linear side scrolling format for a level hopping brawler similar to something you might find at your local bowling alley. I mean that in a totally good way. It plays like an arcade beat-em-up, and ports amazingly from a cabinet to an iPhone. The levels are always replayable, and grow in difficulty each time up, similar to the first game, but now are unlocked by the amount of Zombies killed instead of just beating the level. The zombies look even better than ever, with the models being diversified beyond the design of the simple green skinned walker. Think Team Fortress 2 diversity.

And the in-between level shop? Completely redone. Instead of walking around and picking to upgrade your weapon like the first game, it's now a full interface, with character skins, weapons, and perks all easily accessible. Although it is sort of hard to acquire money, I can't complain. Grinding is fun enough to not be repetitive, considering how hectic the game can get sometimes, especially in the later levels. Enemies frantically coming in from all sides definitely reminds one of Battleheart, especially the arena levels. And the music? No longer the same track looping over and over again. Although this track is heard in the menu screens, be prepared for an awesome soundtrack that totally reflects the feel of the game.

However, the BIGGEST addition to the game has to be the addition of a multiplayer mode. It's over Bluetooth, not servers or LAN (although there is an option to hook up with a friend over GameCenter), so expect a super smooth experience. Beating up zombies with a buddy is totally awesome, and prepare for some F3AR style competition for MVP. It's a tad glitchy, but that's expected of a game only a day or two old. Expect quality.

Problems? The joystick is sort of wonky. While most iOS games featuring a joystick allow your thumb to drift outside the boundaries of the circle itself, this one doesn't, and may take a little time to get used to. This doesn't ruin the game though, so it's not a big deal.

But, overall, it's a super hot game totally worth the $0.99 (get it while it's still such a low price!).

Slightly Redder Red: Star Wars: Legacy (Rated R)

First off, thanks to whoever on the P:BD roster edited my last post, at least I wasn't sent to Siberia.

So, I recently got the Dark Horse app for my iTouch, and I explored the free comics it has to offer, and my god, am I happy some of the comics are free before you buy the entire series.

I looked into reading a comic called "Star Wars: Legacy," which takes place 125 years after Darth Vader's death, and I gotta say, it was extremely sub-par. It basically just set up the story for the comic, first issue and all, but I am NOT interested from what I saw.

The comic starts off talking about how "Darth Krayt," who wears armor that reminds me of the Hunter from Xeno Clash, was waiting 125 years to make his counterattack on the Jedi, and then it cuts from the narrative into two Jedi fighting off a bunch of Sith looking guys, apparently at the Jedi Temple. The two Jedi, Master Wolf Sazen and Kol Skywalker, who looks nothing like Mark Hamill, just exchange some dialogue, and then yell at Kol's son Cade for a page or two about how he should be getting off the planet and into a ship to protect the younglings.

Then 2 pages later, Sazen dies, and Cade goes apeshit, and all the sudden appears next to Kol. I say appear because it's never exactly clear whether the ship he was in takes off, so I was stuck between whether he BASE jumped out of the ship or whether he just ran out the door. Kol yells at him again, and he grabs Sazen's body and takes him aboard the ship, which apparently HAD NOT taken off. Then, through force voodoo, Cade gets super pissed and brings Sazen back to life, which makes Sazen go all "Cade, this is dark force magic, I can feel it on you," but Cade doesn't care. Then Kol dies by getting force lightninged by some random Sith who was leading the assault, and Cade goes apeshit again.

Then it's actually clear that they're in space, and Cade is going ballistic, while all the while Sazen is like "dark force blah blah blah," and then they realize they're being chased by some gimpy form of a TIE Fighter, so Cade gets in the fighter they APPARENTLY have on the shuttle and goes out to fight them. Sazen and the padawan piloting the shuttle start yelling at him, and whenever it cuts to Cade in the fighter, he's crying. And then Cade's fighter explodes from too many lasers (should have upgraded to Heavy Ship Armor), just as the shuttle hits light speed. But of course Sazen is like "oh, Cade's alive, I still feel his force." And the comic ends with Darth Krayt sitting on the throne of the Jedi Temple (it has a throne?) being all evil.

It's also worth mentioning that every time Cade is drawn, he has this lemon face on that just annoys the fuck out of me, but all the facial expressions aren't drawn that well. Kol Skywalker looks like Red Buttons, which also bugged me out. The pacing is off, a lot of shit happens in too little pages, and the dialogue is hackneyed and cheesy at times.

All and all, I wouldn't recommend looking into this.

The SteamWorks: Left 4 Dead 2 Review

Hey Gang,

So today I'm going to throw another review at you today! I'm going tor eview Left 4 Dead 2 by Valve!

Some backround of the Left 4 Dead Universe really isn't needed to play at all. It's standard zombie stuff; you're a survior, so continue ... you know ... staying alive and stuff. There really isn't a story either, which is nice if you're the, "I just wanna shoot shit" type of person. Of course, there is some REALLY intense lore on the whole game, which is a unique feature that makes it really cool; you can be as little or as intensely involved in the game lore as you want to be, and it wont affect you're gameplay at all.

That being said, the game mechanics are pretty standard as far as a first person shooter goes; you have an x,y, and z axis, a gun (or melee weapon, whichever you prefer), and a horde of enemies that want to kill you (or in this case, feast on your delicious brains). The interesting feature in this game are Safe Houses; I've personally never experienced this in a game before (probably because I don't play many first person shooters ... especially zombie ones ... /shrug). I thought it was a really awesome feature that not only that gives me an objective but also says, "...Hey guys ... there are some awesome goodies waiting for you there." And my response? "...Yeeeesssss."

All in all, it's really a cookie-cutter first person shooter at its basis. However, as you play through the game, you realize all the depth there really is to the game, and it differs itself to a lot of other games that pale in comparisson. I've really enjoyed the game, and I'm sure a ton of you have too. Besides, it's certainly given me some lessons on surviving the Zombie Apocolypse, so that's always useful.


Peter, The SteamWorks

Shatterblog!: Common Faults- The Silent Comedy Review

My music tastes tend to be all over the place.

I like a good beat and good lyrics. I tend to listen to kinda odd stuff. The Silent Comedy definitely falls under that category. I was introduced to them by their song, "Bartholomew" which was recently featured in the trailer for Dark Souls. Dark Souls also used their song "All Saints Day" in a different trailer. I really liked "Bartholomew" and kind of liked "All Saints Day" so I picked up the CD hoping for more for me to like. I enjoy the CD overall, but if you aren't a fan of "All Saints Day" it may not be worth picking up.

Very few of the songs have the same edgy hard-rock feel of "Bartholomew"but are slower, quieter, and have more religious themes (Not something I'm usually into, but it's not like Christian music, just allusions and such here and there). "Gasoline" actually makes me feel a little choked up, and is easily the best song on the album. "Moonshine" is another highlight, feeling a bit closer to "Bartholomew", the song that got me interested in them. Any song about the brewing of illegal alchohol is fine in my book!

Overall, the album is decent, but the slow, sad style isn't really to my liking. One major strength would be lyrics, which is a huge plus for me personally. I would reccomend the few songs I've mentioned, the others aren't for me but you may or may not enjoy. My tastes in games/music/movies can be... questionable at times. I'd give it a 7.5/10.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slightly Redder Red: Icanhascheezburger Is Bulls*** (PG-13)

Icanhascheezburger is bullshit.

Four years ago, Icanhascheezburger was an amazing thing. It had pictures of cats being funny. And dogs. And like, graphs and stuff. But now the site is basically Reddit for kids, just nothing but shitty overused memes over and over again. What used to be a network known for funny cat pictures has turned into every 12 year old's homepage, basically for use for reposting memes to their Tumblrs and other crap like that.

I may just be raging out of nostalgia for a place I once found endless laughs in, but I really think that the focus switching from innocent fun to memes killed it for me. People can say "oh wow what a hipster he's just mad that ichc is mainstream now," but no. That's not why at all.

Also, my Blogger app for my iTouch is in my folder for "reference" apps. Thought that was interesting.

Shatterblog!: Captain's Log 10/27/11

Law Number One: Those heard making a bad pun or using the word "punny" shall be put to death by firing squad.

Law Number Two: Those heard or seen using the word "blogosphere" shall be flayed.

Law Number Three: The singing of Christmas carols before November 15th by anyone will result in the offender being beaten about the head and neck with a sock full of quarters until dead.

The SteamWorks: Batman Arkham City Review

Hey Gang,

So the very first post of The SteamWorks will be a review of Batman: Arkham City! Ready? Here we go:

Let me give you some backround of Batman: Arkham City in case you don't know what it is. Released on October 18th 2011, Batman: Arkham City was the follow-up on the most critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum game. I have not played Batman Arkham Asylum, however, needing to play the past game doesn't seem to be a big issue if you at least have a general idea of what happened in the last game and even just an overall understanding of Batman and the characters seen in his adventures.

That being said, I sorta jumped into the game not sure what to expect. I was warmly greeted by a visually dynamic and amazing combat style that not only fit Batman extremely well but was easy to adapt to and fun to use. Seeing the Bat fly across the street, round-house kick an enemy, flip all the way back to the other side of the street and kick that other guy's ass gave me a really warm feeling inside. The "goons" say some really funny things, and I never get tired of eavesdropping on their discussions.

I don't want to spoil the story for anyone that wants to play it but hasn't had the chance to pick it up yet, so I wont get too into that. What I will tell you though is that it's a brilliant story arc filled with more twists than a crushed water-bottle (I know, that's weak, but I couldn't really think of much else). The story kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was playing, and on an average five minutes I'd scream, "OH MY GOD WHAT?!"

In reality, I still haven't finished the game yet; there are still a crap load of achievements, side quests, and equipment upgrades to earn. If I had to rate this game on a scale of 1-10, it'd definitely get a 9. Why not a 10? Well, as you read my reviews, you'll notice that even if a game is unlike anything we've ever seen before, I'll never rate anything a 10. Because 10 means it's perfect, it can never be a 10 because a game can never be perfect.

Do I recommend the game? ABSOLUTELY! If you're the type of gamer that loves mystery games, loves story development, or simply likes taking names while hiding in the shadows, you'll love this game like it's your own child. However, please be cautious if you are under the age of 13 when buying this game; there's blood, violence, profanity, weapons, and sexual environments. It's not quite enough to make the game "M" rated, but it's still present.

Hope you enjoyed the game as much as I did!

Peter V, The Steamworks

Project: Better Dolphin's Debut!


Welcome to Project: Better Dolphin! What are we? Good question; not even we know! We do know that we're a blog that talks about games! What games? All sorts of games! We'll review consoles from PC to Xbox to PS3 and anything in between! If there's a certain game you'd like to see, let us know and we'll talk about it!

So What Exactly is Project: Better Dolphin??

Project: Better Dolphin is a temporary name for a soon to be blog authored by four gaming geeks each with their own unique spin on a situation or game. Until we develop a name we can all agree on and sounds unique, our blog will be titled "Project: Better Dolphin". We will try to let you know in a timely manner when we will be switching over.