The ship is sinking.

2 Sep

Hey to anyone listening I am moving this blog to this address: http://emereviews7.blogspot.com/

I will keep this up for my own use and so you can peruse my portfolio.

Now as always, see you later!

-DBSLAYER7

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South Park the Stick of Truth

18 Mar

Words can hardly describe the experience that is, South Park: The Stick of Truth, as it is one of the raunchiest licensed games and the most “true to South Park” game created.

After several developmental pushbacks, instilled by the game directors themselves, Stick of Truth was finally released on March 4, 2014. And much to no one’s surprise the game lives up to the South Park name in its entirety.

Developed by Obsidian entertainment and published by Ubisoft, Stick of Truth tells the story of a silent new kid whose name is chosen by the player yet the characters refer to him as “Sir Douchbag” in true South Park humor, poking fun at one of the many RPG tropes. There is a standing war between the humans, who are led by Eric Cartman, and the Drow Elves led by Kyle Brofloski, in pursuit of control over an “ancient” artifact called the Stick of Truth, whose holder controls the Universe. This is nothing more than a dramatization of the boys’ playing since the story unfolds as a continuation of the Black Friday Trilogy form the T.V. show and blends incredibly well with the cleverly handled “Larping” RPG gameplay.

The player creates the character to their liking and can choose between four different classes, including Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew, yes Jew. Once a class is chosen you are taught the basics of combat and the specialties of your class as the player is introduced to the basic, turn based RPG combat system, all while being entertained by the tongue in cheek dialogue. Speaking of which, every aspect of the game from the look, the animation, voice acting and writing are perfectly recreated and feel like you’re playing an interactive episode of South Park. This isn’t surprising given the team behind the development of the game.

For starters the game isn’t technically a “licensed” game as it was managed and directed by the creators Matt Stone and Trey parker, along with the same studio that produces the television show. That being said the two take full advantage of the freedom that comes with making a video game in America, and even the strong willed South Park supporters will have to brace themselves for the things found in the game. Not only does the game feature some the grossest most disgusting shock humor possible, it will also be fighting foreign countries on censorship of the extremely offensive material that could possibly be thought up by Stone and Parker.

That being said the game still feels natural in its execution and anyone who is a fan of South Park will know what to expect when picking this game up. Even if you are not a fan of the game it still could be worth a try as the gameplay is more than just an excuse for jokes as it takes notes from well-known RPG’s such as Super Mario RPG and the old Final Fantasy games. Mechanics like timed attacks and interactive actions keep every battle interesting and engaging, and cannot be completed by just mashing the same button.

The gameplay is also deep in its execution as it gives you new things to use throughout the campaign but so much of it that you get to choose however you want to play. That, coupled with four different classes, a cavalcade of adjustable equipment, side missions and 17 years’ worth of South Park history make The Stick of Truth an early contender for game of the year and well worth the price of admission.

The Monuments Men

18 Mar

An innumerable amount of movies, books, T.V. shows, and plays have been dedicated to the events that transpired during World War II, but in this movie the story focuses on a more intriguing subject not often looked upon in media.

The Monuments Men, released on Feb. 7, 2014, is an American-German war film produced and directed by George Clooney, and details the exploits of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program members, who return to service in the pursuit of retrieving and protecting art stolen by the Third Reich.

The Monuments Men is based off the novels of the same name, written by Robert M. Edsel, and was written by Clooney and screenwriter Grant Heslov. The film is home to a story that might have some movie goers scratching their heads at the notion of going into war torn territory with the intention of risking their well-being to protect pieces of art. And therein lays the strength of the film in both how it presents its characters and its overall moral on the importance of preserving culture.

The movie features the altered version of the book and the history it’s taking from but still represents itself as a non-fiction period piece that tells a bloated yet poignant story of how a small group of men realize that art is more than just a fleeting past time that doesn’t hold any importance. In a surreal self-representing metaphor the movie delivers the message that any and all art is not just a piece of paper, or a carved rock, nor just a collection of sounds but a reflection of the people who make it. The movie asks a very difficult but ultimately soul stirring question that is going to reach a lot of people, whether they like the movie or not, and that question is whether art is worth dying for.

As melodramatic as the movie may sound it is still an enjoyable experience that has the ability to balance comedy from natural camaraderie and the dramatic weight that comes with telling a story set in World War II. The film’s cast, featuring a few known comedians, knows just the right amount of attention, inflection and expression with every scene to make it fit together nicely. The movie is also filled to the brim with memorable and timeless moments that people will most likely be referencing for the rest of movie history.

The Monument’s Men isn’t a ‘Triple A’ blockbuster, nor is it anyone’s dream project, but  feels like home movie made among friends and filled with enough heart and care to warrant a second look. Not wanting to make waves the movie represents itself better than anyone can say and if this was the intent then the film makers have surely succeeded.

Thanks and see you later!

DBSLAYER7

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Fre(aking Hard!)eze

18 Mar

Although it seems as if Nintendo is going into a financial crisis in the wake of the Wii U’s paltry sales, the humble company still puts out a fantastic product for those who did buy one.

The game sees the Kong family celebrating DK’s Birthday when an army of arctic animals called the “Snomads” attack. Using a magic alphorn the Snomads blow the Kongs out of their home and put the tropical DK Island in a perpetual winter a la “Frozen” style. The Kong’s must traverse the different Islands taken over by the icy invaders and take back their home.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the latest game in the DKC franchise and employs the same 2D platform gameplay the games are known for since the first one developed by the OG’s at Rare. In single player you play as the titular Donkey Kong whose larger body feels realistically heavy but still tight to control and can use one of his three relatives as assists which change up the dynamic of your controls.

With Diddy you can use his jet pack to get an extra second of air time, using Cranky allows you to pogo with his cane to avoid spiky terrain and kill horned enemies and last but most useful is Dixie who uses her ponytail to give a lot more amnesty and control during tricky platform sections. In Multiplayer Player one controls DK, while a second player controls one of the three supports independently and both can still come together to perform the same actions.

The game consists of six different vibrant worlds, from Bavarian mountain tops to deep sea caverns, all with an icy coat to keep up with the game’s theme. Each level provides a surprise in terms of gameplay, with fast mine cart sections and in look, such as certain levels turning the in game characters into art deco silhouettes. This is all made better by the fact the great optimization of the graphics keeps the game at an extremely smooth frame rate  Each world is finished by defeating a boss character,  each with their own strategy and theme that tests the player to their limits.

The music is composed by David Wise who helped compose the music for the original DKC and returns with old remixes and new scores that will stay in your head as you play the game.  The new voice acting for the Kong family is also a hilariously campy and will alleviate the frustration when you miss that split second jump.

DKC: Tropical Freeze is a beautiful game that keeps the hardcore, challenging platform spirit alive and makes a cool way to pass the time in waiting for the next masterpiece.

Thanks and see ya Later!

DBSLAYER7

The Lego Movie(Everything is Awesome!)

10 Feb

It’s a rare sight to see the stars align for a film, but when the gears mesh they sing like angels, and what better movie to represent this allegory then The Lego Movie.

Released on Feb. 7, The Lego Movie is a computer-animated adventure comedy film based on the Lego construction toys and the different licensed products made from them. From the trailers and initial speculation The Lego Movie seems like a hodgepodge of references and nostalgia, with a little star power thrown in for extra measure.

The Lego Movie actually houses a cleverly written and engaging world built with enough fervor and heart to rival the Pixar classics. The film tells a familiar yet unique story about an average construction worker, Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), who goes about every day following the instructions given to him and never going outside the lines. Eight and a half years before this, an evil dictator by the name of Lord Business (Will Ferrel) steals a weapon called the “Kragle” and wants to use its power to make the Lego world perfect by his personal instructions. Emmet becomes wrapped in a prophecy foretold by a wise man named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), who sees a chosen one called, “The Special,” as a the one who will use an artifact called the Piece of Resistance to destroy the Kragle and defeat Lord Business.

Seems simple enough but looks can be very deceiving. First off the first surprise of the film would be its cast and its refreshing lack of celebrities. Sure there’s Liam Neeson and Ferrel but the main cast consists of TV actors such as Pratt and Will Arnett as Batman. The best part is that The Lego Movie uses these actors to their full comedic potential and several scenes will have you chuckling throughout the movie.

Which goes by quick with a frenetic pace that seems to fit the movie perfectly as the beautiful faux stop-motion animation direction is incredibly fun to watch. But nothing is perfect and the film does lead to a few flaws such as the fact that since it has such a fast paced feel, the more slow moments seem out of place. The sound design seems a bit muffled and it’s not clear whether this was intentional or not.

Regardless of personal taste or the want for something that “seems” original The Lego Movie is a must watch for anyone looking for a fresh idea and film that stays 100% true to its name.

The Last(PS3 Game) of Us

10 Feb

Image

It’s not surprising that the team at Naughty Dog, the people responsible for the beloved Uncharted series, to pull off a game that not only keeps the player engaged with great gameplay but also legitimize story in games. In games it’s rare to come across a good story since it’s just a framing device to get the players in the game that you don’t mind sitting through but it’s different in the case of The Last of Us. At face value TLOU may look like your typical, generic zombie shooter, but it looks can be deceiving as it’s played.

In TLOU you play as Joel (Troy Baker), a middle aged man who, after 20 years of surviving the disaster of the cordyceps virus that creates the zombie-like hordes, must escort a young orphan girl Ellie (Ashley Johnson), who was born and raised in the new desolate world, to a group of mercenaries in order to get a weapons cache. The pathway there is rife with zombies and the occasional group of “sane” survivors who will shoot first and ask questions later.

Speaking of the zombies, they come in three flavors: Runners, which are basically feral humans in the first stage of the virus; Clickers, who are the iconic cauliflower, faced biters that cannot be engaged physically; and finally the Bloaters that throw fungus bombs with pinpoint accuracy and God help you if it gets a hold of you.

The gameplay is probably the best thing about the game as you have to make do with what you find in a wonderfully realized scavenger system. Everything you use from health items made of rags and alcohol to more Macguyver-esque smoke bombs made of fire crackers and sugar is crafted in real time. As for the firearms you use, it’s all up to what particular ammunition you can find and you’ll want to horde every bullet and only use it in last resort scenarios.

The reason for this being that the shooting is less arcade and more simulator, with aiming being more realistic, jostling with natural movement and the fact that it takes multiple bullets to take a human down unless you get a headshot and good luck with that.

The game also emphasizes stealth and that the fact that there is always different ways to go about different situations. All that is well and good but what about the game giving you an A.I. companion that runs around in tense situations? Thankfully Ellie doesn’t technically exist as she’ll give her position away but not make the enemies alert which is one of the smartest decisions made in game design but will inevitably make the games immersion break from time to time.

On top of all the greatness there is still room for a game that looks absolutely gorgeous. A perpetual sunset beams across the dilapidated buildings covered in luscious overgrowth and water effects that look like water and not bunches of paper Mache.

TLOU is a beautiful game that keeps its finger on the tension and applies more pressure as you explore the world in an effort to face past problems and create a more enjoyable future.

See you later!

DBSLAYER7

Games of the Year-2013

25 Dec

Hello one and all, it’s the end of the year and that means it’s time for ranking various products side by side and figuring out which one is the best! Just kidding, I’m going to indulge in the new trend of picking, “Games,” of the year and telling you why a handful of games deserve more attention than the rest. So sit back and enjoy my ramblings as I recount the 2013 year in gaming.

Top 10 Games of the Year

10. Rayman: Legends

Not completely surprising but all the same this game is a testament to staying true to your-self. Michel Ancel keeps the colorful, cartoony spirit that was present from the first Rayman game from 1995 alive. A current example that not only is the 2D Platformer genre is alive, but that it’s also able to thrive and innovate in new ways. The main game is enough to warrant a purchase but the game is packed to the brim with musical levels that are some kind of magic and it even features a pseudo HD re-release of the first game. Here’s to more Rayman in the future.

9. Pokémon X/Y

Finally the Pokémon game fans have been waiting for since the old days of color. A slew of New Pokémon and a beautiful presentation come from developer, Game Freak’s, latest title. The one thing that’s been missing from Pokémon has finally returned i.e. effort. Interesting, fun, collecting and strategy gameplay with a traditional story will put older fans’ hearts at ease for the new generation of children entering into the Pokémon fandom.

8. The Stanley Parable

Don’t call it a copout but this game is one that can’t readily be explained. The epitome of non-games, The Stanley Parable satirizes current gen games while keeping with its own unique feel. Explore the office building where Stanley works as you try to find out where your fellow employees have gone all while the narrator keeps pushing you in the right direction, if you want to of course.  The narrator alone is something magical, but coupled with a game that always keeps you guessing this one is an immediate recommendation.

7. Papers, Please

There are games that are made by hundreds of people and still attain panning from critics and end up feeling like a waste of time. But the indie hit Papers, Please, which was made by one person, stands as one of the most unique experiences ever birthed from the mind of a creator. Experiencing a world through the eyes of a checkpoint guard puts things in perspective. Simple gameplay and a rustic presentation keep Papers, Please above the rung and in our heads as a source of intrigue.

6. Bioshock Infinite

After Bioshock 2, the lackluster sequel to one of the best games of all time, everyone was spinning in anticipation before the release of the latest foray into Philosophy: The videogame. Infinite presented a new look into the world crafted by the folks at Irrational Games which saw the player in the preverbal opposite of Bioshock’s Rapture. The opulent Columbia, a floating city in the sky filled with a living breathing society that the player gets to explore. Even though the gameplay may seem generic the experience as a whole will stand tall in the halls of gaming history.

5. Tomb Raider

Reboot the dying franchise by taking notes from more successful games in the genre, an amazing amount polish and keep its own “girl power” flavor and you have the best Tomb Raider game to date. Shrugging off the years of meme worthy campiness that the older games and Angelina Jolie put on and comes out like a glorious butterfly from the cocoon of mediocrity. Square Enix and the developers seem to love the series and while the game takes a more serious tone it’s all for the setup of a strong character so that future adventures can have that added, relatable layer in the newest addition in the action genre.

4. Injustice: Gods Among Us

What do you get when you marry the tight intuitive controls of street fighter with the colorful and diverse nature of the DC comics universe? One of the greatest fighting games in recent history Gods Among Us is an example of a company pouring its time and resources in what’s really important, the game, or more or less everything you see for the most part. The cut scenes are stiff and the story is old but the game is new and fun which is why it outsold.

3. Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus

Ending the year in a surprising little treat the good folks at Insomniac games delivered a short but sweet addition to the Ratchet and Clank Franchise. Into the Nexus is packaged as a sort of epilogue to the PS3’s “Future” series and stays true to the run and gun/platform gameplay. Complete with ridiculously fun weapons like a gun that turns enemies into snowmen while playing Jingle Bells and a new jetpack mechanic that made the game 10 times as fun as you live out your Looney Tunes/Rocketeer fantasy. A welcome return to form and a sign of goodwill that the franchise is still alive and will most likely thrive in the coming generation.

2. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

A lot can be said about this game but one factor remains clear and that is that this game is the shot of juice that JRPGs needed. Not adrenaline but “juice,” the juice of heart, effort, and a story that can stand among the greats. Ni No Kuni captures that same magic that made the old Final Fantasy games great. Able to balance pathos and levity and create a world filled with endearing characters brought to life by the beautiful artwork done by Studio Ghibli. The gameplay may be frustrating at times but it never gets old and here’s hoping that a franchise was born.

1. Grand Theft Auto 5

The latest in the world sized series that takes the best of the genre and makes the most of its seemingly bloated budget that has since seen turn a profit on at least five times the investment and for good reason. The parodied world of Los Santos and Pike County are the tremendous settings to the parody of California with deserts, mountains and a beautifully realized city are a gigantic playground for madness and mayhem. Three different characters to play with, the game never gets old and gameplay that addresses fun over function. A game that is a non-stop thrill ride that left its mark this year as the greatest.

Have a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Here’s to a great New Year and may 2014 be a better time for all. Thank you for reading and as always I’ll see ya later!

DBSLAYER7