When Warner Bros announced the next game in the acclaimed Arkham franchise would be a preequel, the reaction was mixed. When they announced that Rocksteady would not be returning for the prequel, instead handing the reins to Warner Bros Games Montreal, the reaction was negative. It felt like a cash-grab, a stop-gap while Rocksteady worked on whatever would follow the brilliant Arkham City. Was this reaction premature or right on the money? Read on to find out. Continue reading Review: Batman: Arkham Origins
Hardcore games on the Wii have been few and far between lately. Despite Nintendo’s proclamations that their next system will focus on hardcore games before casual, it still took a massive online campaign to get the Big N to release Monolith’s epic JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles, in the United States. Now that they have, was it worth the wait? Continue reading Review: Xenoblade Chronicles
After the well-publicized falling out of Infinity Ward and Activision, the Modern Warfare franchise returns with (presumably) the final chapter in the world-devastating saga. There is no question that this game would sell a ton of copies, but the real question is can the remnants of Infinity Ward, along with a little help from their friends at Sledgehammer, maintain the quality that the fans demand? Continue reading Review: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Mickey Mouse has become a mascot, so much so that many young people have no real idea that he was once a pretty great cartoon character. Enter Warren Spector and Epic Mickey, a Wii-exclusive designed to relaunch the lovable mouse, while also introducing the world to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s prior creation that he lost the rights to oh so many years ago. Sadly, Mickey and Oswald both deserve better than this.
Epic Mickey starts out as Mickey is pulled into the Wasteland through a series of events brought about by pure mischief. See, in the olden days before Donald Duck, Mickey was the one who was always getting into trouble and it appears that Disney is looking to bring that aspect of his personality back to the forefront. Messing about with Yen Sid’s magic paintbrush leads the Mouse on a great adventure, trying to undo the damage done by the Shadow Blot, which Mickey inadvertently created. Continue reading Review: Epic Mickey
People first started suggesting I cover Minecraft on Bytejacker a little over a year ago. I messed around with it a bit and felt lukewarm on it. At the time, it was basically just a world of Legos – a cute sandbox you could dig and build in with others, but really nothing more than a technical demo. “Impressive for being made by one guy,” I thought. “I hope he can turn it into something.” Continue reading Minecraft: The Guest Review
The God of War franchise has become the premier beat-em-up in the eyes of many gamers, with its super-tight controls, stunning visuals and excessive brutality. God of War and God of War II on the PS2 were massive successes, both critically and commercially and Sony’s Santa Monica studios has pulled out all the stops to finish the series off in style.
The story of the game is simple and complex, oddly enough. Basically, Kratos has declared war on the pantheon of Greek gods, with his eye on Zeus, in particular. The bulk of the game is Kratos traveling from place to place, wiping out a god here, a demi-god there and acquiring whatever magical item is needed to help him succeed in his quest. The part where things get complex is that much of the game hearkens back to the first two games and even the PSP entry. It’s not a big problem because the game describes what you need to know through gorgeously animated scenes, but I was struggling to figure out opening Pandora’s Box in the first game was affecting events in this one. A minor quibble, however.
The controls, as ever are responsive and you always feel like Kratos is doing exactly what you want him to. The platforming sections are rare, which is good because Kratos’s boots were not made for jumping. The combat, though, is second to none. Each weapon Kratos has (you get four by the end of the game) has its own combo system and feel and upgrading these and then performing the new combos you unlock is extremely satisfying. Each weapon also comes with a magical ability and in addition to that, you have items that you use, such as the Head of Helios, which lights up dark areas and uncovers secret chambers. In short, Kratos has a ton of options at his disposal.
Which is very handy when dealing with the tons of enemies the game throws at you. It’s difficult to count when you are fighting for your life, but there were over 30 enemies onscreen at one point and the game didn’t even seem to notice, as there was no slowdown at all. There was one battle where I was fighting 6 giant cyclops and literally all hell was breaking loose and the game chugged along perfectly. This is a highly polished and beautiful game.
One thing I want to mention is that there is enough variety in enemies that I never felt like I was getting bored or slogging through it. The game will introduce a new enemy and once you get the hang of it, either throw a ton of them at you or combine them others. Gorgons too easy? Try fighting them with a chimera backing them up. These types of things make the game challenging and fresh.
A lot is said about the Quick Time Events and I feel like I would be remiss if I did not address this: I love them. See, when you beat an enemy down, an option appears to start the QTE. You can ignore this and finish the enemy off with normal attacks or you can watch a brutal kill that will grant you extra experience. Personally, I never get tired of watching them and I often exclaimed out loud how how disgusting many of them were. From ripping out eyeballs to disemboweling Titans, Kratos shows no mercy to anyone during the course of his journey.
The game should last you anywhere from 8-10 hours and there are bonus modes to play once you finish it, in addition to hidden items that grant you bonuses on a second playthrough, such as unlimited health or magic power. These turn the game into God Mode and while I don’t care that sort of thing, it does give you the chance to play the game without fear of dying, so I guess it’s good for trying new things.
Gorgeous graphics, sick gameplay and an epic story that slices its way through Greek mythology? I couldn’t sign up for this fast enough. God of War III showcases what the PS3 is capable of and if you have one, you have to play it.
OK, word of warning first: this review might contain words that, when strung together to form a sentence, may or may not become spoilers. You’ve been warned.
If you’ve been paying attention to the pre-release hype for Mass Effect 2, one thing that BioWare was constantly touting is this: your Commander Shepard can die. Not like the cheap video game deaths where you re-load a save and try again, but permanent death. This applies to all members of your party, and you’re constantly reminded of your mortality as Mass Effect 2 progresses. The Grim Reaper is waiting for you out in the reaches of space. Will you sacrifice yourself to save humanity or will you pull through against impossible odds?
Death comes repeatedly for Commander Shepard, though, who gets turned into space dust by a brutal surprise attack in the opening moments of the game. Not one to let a little incineration put him down, Shepard’s body is recovered by shadowy pro-human black-ops group Cerberus, headed up by the Illusive Man, ably voiced by Martin Sheen. It seems that after you saved galactic society at large two years prior, the threats presented by the Reapers, sentient machines that harvest all life in the galaxy every 50,000 years, have been swept under the rug. Only Cerberus knows who the true enemy is, and they’ve brought you back to deal with them.
Continue reading Review: Mass Effect 2