Last night, I stayed up ludicrously late to beat Assassin’s Creed 2. It was one of those things where I knew I was closing in on the end of the game, and was willing to do whatever I had to in order to see the end. Fortunately for me, the game is a blast, and has easily become one of my favorites for this past year, if not one of my favorites of the generation.
Part of what is so fascinating about the game is that as a sequel, it is such a ludicrous improvement over the original it’s hard to even compare the two. The gameplay that was only hinted at in the first one seems fully realized here, and the story is way better to boot. I’d even recommend it to people that hated the first one, it’s such a great open world game in comparison.
When I really think about it, next to maybe Metal Gear Solid 3, it’s one of the best video game sequels I’ve ever played. Seriously. Maybe one of the greatest sequels ever made. Lots of games improve with new iterations, but there are some that occasionally take gigantic leaps over the predecessors in a way that’s hard to imagine. Metal Gear Solid 3 was one such game for me, because it blew MGS 2 out of the water completely. Uncharted 2 is a great sequel and game, but the first game was already good, where as the original Assassin’s Creed was just mediocre.
Anywho, all of that to ask you guys- what’s the best sequel to a game you’ve ever played? As good as AC2 is, I think MGS3 is still the king of all sequels. One of the greatest games of all time, hands down. What about you? Go!
A game we haven’t talked about much here but that is covered elsewhere in copious amounts would have to be Bayonetta. Partly for her boobs and lack of clothing (she sheds it as you perform greater combos), and also because people love those old school action combat games. Me, though, I’ve never been too interested in them. Honestly, Wolverine is one of the first ones I’ve enjoyed after hating Ninja Gaiden, feeling so-so about God of War, “meh” about Devil May Cry, etc.
Hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year! As we slip into 2010 and eagerly await the best first quarter of video game history, we look back and reflect on 2009 and what an interesting year it was for gaming. We had plenty of great games drop this year (Batman, Resident Evil 5, Assassin’s Creed II just to name a few), and we finally saw the release of the undeniable juggernaut, Modern Warfare 2. But, as great as this year has been, there’s been more than a few eyebrow-raising moments as well. Whether you’ve got Infinity Ward’s decision to use matchmaking on the PC, Bobby Kotick’s Emperor Palpatine-esque villainy or Microsoft and Sony’s bizarre desire to tap into the motion control market, 2009 has seen its share of shenanigans. 1up has put together a list of their top industry quotes of 2009, and I’ve gone through and picked out a few of my favorites:
“You ever wonder what the bottom of an Avatar’s shoe looks like? Well BAM! There it is!”
Kudo Tsunoda demonstrating Natal at the E3 2009 Microsoft key note.
“Games have been used for stimulation, but maybe it won’t be long until games are used for relaxation and even to fall asleep.”
Nintendo prez Satoru Iwata introducing the ultimate WTF, the Wii Vitality Sensor, at the E3 2009 Nintendo key note.
It’s the New Year’s Edition of What Are You Playing, so let’s get to it.
I know that many of you dudes are probably cackling like mad and experiencing all the new gaming loot you got over the holidays, so I’m curious to see what the responses have been here. I know that Anthony has been playing the junk out of Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, which I’m sure is true for others as well.
As for me, I’ve been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed 2 and just loving it. While the first hour or so of the game starts off terribly awkward and almost clunky, the rest of it has been a blast. The game really opens up once you get your villa, and I can’t wait to see what else lies in store for Ezio and the Assassins. It’s one of those things where I’m getting more hooked to the game the more I play it, which doesn’t happen very often.
TheDuoGroup makes really sweet videos. In fact, they make some of my favorite video game videos that I can remember. Just recently, they posted this awesome Assassin’s Creed video with all original art work and motion graphics, telling the story of Altair losing his ring finger and getting his assassin’s blade before the events of the first game. They do a remarkable job with it, and once again I am impressed with their work.
Right now, I’m loving Assassin’s Creed 2 so this is pretty cool to see. What do you guys think?
I never really played the first Battlefield: Bad Company game, but I hear it had some really cool features, and its multiplayer showed a ton of promise. Well judging from the preview of Bad Company 2 below, it looks like they’re taking what they learned from the first game and making a kick-ass follow-up. The multiplayer demo is looking all kinds of hot, so I’m actually excited about it. Maybe I’ll have to pick the first one up over the holidays on the cheap…
There’s always been three certainties so far this generation in regards to online console services: Microsoft’s costs money, Sony’s is free and the Wii’s connectivity is balls. While the Sony Defense Force is always quick to point out how readily Microsoft is willing to try and nickle and dime its subscriber base, it looks like the PlayStation 3 might be setting up its own monetary-based service.
A recent survey lays out several different plans all with varying levels of privileges and content. There are some pretty decent perks included with the subscription options such as cross-game voice chat, loyalty rewards and access to the first hour of a full PlatyStation 3 game instead of a fifteen minute demo.
Judging by the survey it appears that PSN users are still going to get access to the basic offerings, and this is just an option for those who want a $69.99 garnish on their gaming experience. Take a look at the survey and tell us what you think. Would you pay for premium Sony content or stick with the basic package? Remember that this is just a feeler put out by Sony, so all these things are subject to change.
Things are pretty messy out there in the video game realm. Gamers fighting against gamers, flames flying around the tubes left and right. People claiming superiority over one another because of a purchasing decision. What have we become?
I suppose it was only a matter of time before it came to this. Sure, everyone’s got their favorite system of choice, be it PC, XBox 360, PS3 or the Wii… But what about the franchises? To help feed the fanboy flames, I thought I’d throw some of our most beloved characters and stories together, to see who came out on top after a brutal battle to the death. It’s the franchise fanboy wars!
I never played the original Kane & Lynch, so I can’t really comment on its quality (or lack thereof). One thing I do know, though, is that the trailer for the second game is amazing. I realize that it has no game play and it’s more than 99% likely that this is not in-engine, but you know what? I don’t really care.
I’m not sure why, but I love this trailer. My advice to IO is that they should just make this a movie. What do you guys think? Interested, or were you burned by the first game? Perhaps you’re getting sick of the number two in your titles? Oh, the video also contains some bad language, so exercise discretion if you’re into that sort of thing.
Oh, Modern Warfare 2. When will we stop posting about you? I’m not sure, but I do know that there is a nifty new video that combines the Discovery show Mythbusters and Modern Warfare 2, resulting in some awesome tricks that I had no idea existed. To be honest, I’ve never experienced anything remotely like this in matchmaking, so I’m curious how they came up with this stuff.
I believe I’ve posted before about a similar series done with Halo 3, which was created by the same dudes. Glad to see they’re still working together! Also, the bouncing throwing knives were incredible. You’ll see what I mean.
Spike’s Video Game Awards were last night, and for the most part I think the accolades handed out were fairly accurate. Besides doling out some weird monkey statues, the VGAs also played host to a smattering of game announcements from the obvious (Halo: REACH), to the puzzling (Green Day: Rockband), and finally to the completely mind-blowing. If you missed the first few minutes of the awards show like I did, you may have missed this trailer. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so take a gander.
What did you guys think of the awards show, and, more specifically, what did you think of the premiers and the winners? Hit the jump for a couple more trailers.
I’ll be honest here, I loves me some Transformers. Although I am of the opinion that Revenge of the Fallen is the cinematic equivalent of water-boarding, there’s just no denying that watching twenty-foot machines that turn into jets and cars beat the lug nuts out of each other gets my motor running.
We’ve seen the Transformers battle it out on the silver screen and on television, but I’ve always wanted a good Transformers game. There have been some decent titles in the past, but nothing that has really grabbed me. The upcoming Transformers: War for Cybertron game by Bad Moon Studios, the development house behind the Bourne Identity games, may just do the trick.
What do you guys think of the trailer? Sure it’s computer-generated as opposed to actual game-play, but it’s got me hopeful. All I need is Soundwave messing up Autobots and I’ll be happy.
When your magazine is owned by one of the largest video game retailers on the continent it naturally means that you’re going to have a bunch of exclusive info crop up in your publication. Game Informer has, over the last year, dropped a lot tantalizing data on the games we want and the January issue is going to be no different.
Though it may come as a bit of a surprise, given that the original didn’t sell nearly as well as EA hoped, Dead Space is getting a sequel and there’s going to be quite a few changes in store for everyone’s favorite space-zombie killing mute. First off all, Isaac is able to talk in the sequel, so perhaps he’ll start telling off all the people who insist he repair a toilet on the other side of a necromorph-infested space station. Other changes include the ability to float while in zero-g and fire your weapons as well. The game is going to take place on a space station called “Sprawl”, which is apparently going to be much larger than the Ishimura was in the first game.
Perhaps the biggest shake-up is the inclusion of multiplayer this time around. No one knows what it consists of at this point, but a lone man surviving against waves of player-controlled necromorphs would be pretty banging. Team Death Match and CTF game types are probably a safe bet, but we’ll have to wait for the January issue of Game Informer to get all the details.
What do you guys think of Dead Space getting a sequel? Are you excited that EA is giving the franchise another try? How do you feel about multiplayer and what do you expect from this second go-around?
The first Assassin’s Creed was a love it or hate it affair. The game was, to be honest, a proof of concept more than anything else, a playground where Ubisoft could test out a really impressive graphics engine. The game rightly caught flack for its repetitive nature and the general silliness of its sci-fi overtones, but there were a lot of people out there who believed that the series had some merit. The game ended up selling fairly well, so the green light was given on the sequel.
Whereas the original game took place mostly in 1191, the second Assassin’s Creed is set during Renaissance Italy around the late 15th century. While you still control hapless kidnap victim Desmond Miles during some sections of the game, you spend most of your time inhabiting the body of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a brash young nobleman and banker’s son. The game starts off very similar to Grand Theft Auto where it walks you through a bunch of missions that teach you how the game’s mechanics work while setting up for the first big plot point. Some of the early missions are, admittedly, fairly stale but serve as a good introduction to the setting and some of the major characters you’ll be running across.
Ezio himself is far more likeable than Altair was in the first game. There’s no denying that Altair knew his business, but he wasn’t a sympathetic character. During the course of Assassin’s Creed II you’ll actually be rooting for Ezio as you pilot him through his trials and tribulations and, in a way, you’ll sort of feel like you actually grow with him. While the story does get kind of muddled around the end (I’m fairly sure the gaps in the plot will become downloadable content, but that’s just a guess), Ezio’s tale is full of likeable and hateable characters, and the writing and voice acting are both sharp.
Dragon Age: Origins is the newest RPG epic from Bioware, creators of other notable titles such as Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Their newest game takes things a little more old school, returning the quest programmers back to the days of yore, where dungeons waited to be crawled and dragons were there for the slaying. The studio has repeatedly said that Dragon Age: Origins was always a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, and they weren’t kidding. But is it any good?
Yes. Yes it is. Very good, in fact. This may spoil the rest of the review for you, but Dragon Age: Origins is simply one of the better RPG experiences in this generation.
The Land Down Under is known for many things, like koalas, giant cans of beer and Crocodile Dundee (not to mention all around manly-man Saxton Hale from Team Fortress 2 lore), but it’s also home to some of the most draconian video game rating laws on the planet. How the system works is that if a title is rated over MA15+, then it’s “refused classification” and cannot be sold in the country. Big surprise, then, that the upcoming Aliens Versus Predator by Rebellion has been banned. The game features two of the most acclaimed movie monsters of our time, and the films they’ve starred in have never been stringy on the violence.
If a developer wants to skirt a ban then they have to modify the content of their game so it meets the harsh criteria. Bethesda and Valve have both bowed to the iron will of the Australian government, but Rebellion is not backing down. They’re not going to modify the content, and they have one of the sassiest PR responses I’ve ever seen:
“The content of AVP is based on some of the most innovative and iconic horror movies, and as such we wanted to create a title that was true to the source material. It is for adults, and it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent. We will not be releasing a sanitised or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.”
Take that, Australia! That’s a nice intelligent response, but I doubt it’s going to sway the Australian government. How do you guys feel? I don’t think we’ve talked about Australia’s ratings before, so give me you thoughts on those, too. On the subject of AVP itself, who’s picking this up? I know I am!
Modern Warfare 2 is an incredibly fun experience online, whether you’re grouping up in one of the few rooms that allows party chat or going lone wolf like I tend to. The game is consistently rewarding, and I rarely feel frustrated to a degree where I consider quitting.
That used to be the case until a new exploit in the game became all the rage. You may have experienced a scenario where an enemy soldier sprints towards you with a Javelin launcher equipped, intent on suicide. You pop a few rounds into him, mutely thanking the newbie for an easy kill. Just as you begin gloating, the oncoming adversary explodes and takes you down with him. By using some sneaky controller manipulating, the griefer is essentially turned into a human bomb with a dead man’s switch. Killing him causes the Javelin to go off, triggering a massive explosion.
Fortunately, this new way to show your immaturity is being patched, and those who are caught using it face bans. This got me thinking, however. As much as this glitch peeves me, there are some legitimate things in Modern Warfare 2, and other games besides, that aren’t exploits per se but are incredibly underhanded.
The game announcements for Spike’s Video Game Awards keep piling up this year as Halo: REACH, TRON, and Star Wars have all dropped teaser trailers on us. This new one comes from the Medal of Honor series which is getting a complete reboot, taking the franchise out of World War II and setting it in modern conflict in Afghanistan. Little is known about the game so far except that the multiplayer is being crafted by Battlefield creators DICE and the character designs may or may not feature giant beards. Check out the teaser below.
How do you guys feel about this? Is it too little too late for Medal of Honor? Are any of you actually going to tune in to the VGAs this year, or just wait until all the trailers are put up on YouTube?
Over the weekend, I did something I tend to do whenever I am slapped in the mouth with a good RPG: I played the junk out of it. The culprit this time around was Dragon Age: Origins, and I seriously jumped in to the thing completely, putting about 20 hours or more in within just a few days. This typically happens with Bioware games. Funny how that works out.
Anyway, last night I stay up particularly late because I sense that at 60 hours of play time, I’m nearing the game’s end. So, I make my preparations, I tackle the awesome final battle, and I get to the best part of any RPG- the last boss, which in this case, is a rather sweet demon/dragon. I battled long and hard, and ultimately, smote my foe. At this point, I kick back, and I get ready for the ending of the game (of which there are 4 possible).
About a minute into it, suddenly, my game freezes. Just like that. Right in the middle of the load screen. At this point, I’m annoyed and tired, but I decide that it’s not that big of a deal. So, I reload the final boss fight, which takes a few minutes, and prepare to do battle again. Now, this boss fight is no walk in the park. It takes about 10-15 minutes. Well, halfway through the second attempt, my game freezes again. I threw the controller down in frustration and went to bed.
So now, I’m tired and have not finished Dragon Age. The worst of both worlds. When’s the last time you guys felt this kind of frustration when gaming? Go!
One of the things I’m enjoying about Modern Warfare 2 is the final kill cam, which shows everyone the way the last dude in the match got owned. While I’ve seen my fair share over the last week, none of them come even close to being as awesome as this video. You need to see this to believe it.