Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mortal Kombat Tournament!!

Join us for a Mortal Kombat tournament!! Violent Gamer will feature a bracket style tournament for solo matches and tag team matches starting in May.  Sign up by e-mailing with your name and character you will be using for the tournament.  We will be updating the roster and hold exhibition fights to determine player seeds. Check back often to see the player roster!!

Exhibitions will start when the PSN comes back online.  This tournament is for PS3 users, sorry Xbox.  

Friday, April 29, 2011

Game of Thrones Episode 2 "The Kingsroad"

Something wicked this way comes, is what I can most likely say for every single episode of this entire show. There is a lot of sadness in this episode, but not comparatively to the rest of the series. I have read all of the books so forgive me if I hint at future events that are guaranteed to happen based on their importance in the books, but I will not spoil anything. Although I will spoil things for Episode 2.

*Spoiler Warning*
My favorite scene from the series so far was in this episode with Tyrion and Joffrey. Tyrion wakes up in the stables and Joffrey refuses to gives his condolences to the Starks about Bran being injured. So, Tyrion promptly smacks Joffrey around which is greatly satisfying, love it. We all know arrogant children like Joffrey, but he shows it is much more than just arrogance later on, and it's a bit of a guilty pleasure to watch someone give him what he's due.
So far this series is doing a great job of representing the characters, while also moving the story along at a decent rate without leaving out much substance. There were only a few times where I felt like they should have added one of the scenes from the books. For instance when Bran in this episode, is almost murdered, they never explain that his direwolf has been outside for a long time howling and waiting to come see him. So, when the direwolf breaks in and saves Bran and Catelyn Stark, it felt like it would of been a little confusing for anyone without knowledge from the books. In the books they spend a little while explaining the bond between all the children and their direwolves, which would have made the moment later with Sansa and Lady, her direwolf, all the more painful.
The episode starts out with Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon, the King, and their entourage, all heading to King's Landing, the Capital. It also quickly shoots back to the world of Daenerys and her experience so far with her new husband Khal Drogo. They manage to do a good job switching between all the characters in this episode, while also choosing important scenes to show of them. I am grateful that they decided to include the scene between Tyrion and Jon Snow. The banter between them shows off a great deal about the two characters. It also shows Tyrions intelligence and that he does care a little about others, but he is used to be looked down upon by so many that he has little sympathy for the world. Tyrion explains to Jon that he uses reading and intelligence as armor against the outside world and Jon should do similar. It also shows Jon's anguish about his place in the world and how he is more than a little worried about taking the black.

One of the biggest moments of this episode had to do with Arya, Joffrey and Sansa. This is the first time in the series, other than Bran's attempted murder, that it show's off the true brutality of the world they are living in. It has to do with Arya’s direwolf injuring Joffrey because he was threatening her because she was practicing with swords with her friend, the butcher’s boy. Anyways, this all ends with Joffrey being a whiney little girl and Arya and her friend running for their lives. This all ends with Sansa losing her direwolf and Arya having to send her direwolf off into the woods to escape the wrath of the Lannisters. Before all of this Queen Cersei had often shown restraint and kindness to everyone, except Bran, but now she shows her true maliciousness when it comes to this situation. She cares nothing for the Stark’s feelings on the matter and demands pain and suffering upon Sansa and Arya, while also having the butcher’s boy murdered by the hound.

They cannot find Arya's direwolf so Cersei demands Ned kills any direwolf available, which means Lady, Sansa's direwolf. Sansa and Arya scream and cry in refusal with Ned alongside them arguing with every card he has but the Queen wins in the end, as she often does. Ned is the one who always bears the responsibility of whatever horrible things fate decrees upon his family. He sadly must kill Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, in order to appease the Lannisters and the King.

All of this is only the beginning of the long hard road for everyone in the Stark family. Ned will find it harder and harder to be a good friend to the King and fulfill his job as the King's Hand. Jon will find that joining the Black is not a easy life. Catelyn at the end of this episode seems intent to travel to King's Landing to talk to Ned about her sister and the Lannisters. While all of this is going on there is still Daernerys in the east struggling to become a true Khalessi. She also trying her best to enjoy her situation, while getting out of the role of being Khal Drogo's servant instead of wife.
So far the series is going on smoothly. I am pleased with the acting and scenes that they have chosen to include into their limited scope of time. At this point it is still going slowly and no one should expect to be too attached to any character yet, but if it's anything like the book's it won't be long till you are rooting for many of the characters, while greatly despising others. I can't wait to see how the rest of the season plays out. I enjoyed this episode and can't wait to see the rest of the season play out. My only complaint is that the Dothraki are far too clean looking, I mean come on..they are supposed to be incredibly dirty and vile barbarians. For anyone confused about characters and how they are tied together there is a great compilation of information on the houses and characters on!/guide/houses/stark/. I welcome comments.

Violent Score: 8.5

Side Note: For any readers of the series, the new book, A Dance with Dragons, is finally coming out on July 12th according to Amazon. The wait finally seems to be over.

Written by Sean Cargle

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mortal Kombat Review

Hide your kids and hide your wife because Mortal Kombat is here and brought enough blood to put a slaughter house to shame!  The new installment developed by NeatherRealm Studios goes back to the games' core gameplay style with violent 2D fighting, brutal fatalities and a rebooted story mode.  So is this new Mortal Kombat a legitimate fighter or just another gory bloodbath?

Good news! This is the real deal.  While previous games were more well known for pushing the envelope for violence, this latest release is actually a competitive fighter.  Even though the single-player modes are challenging and sometimes straight up frustrating, Mortal Kombat still delivers a great fighting engine with bloody fatalities and almost never ending challenges.

The story has always been a little silly, and with all the spinoffs its hard to know just what the hell is going on in the MK universe. NeatherRealm did a good thing by starting the series from the beginning, making it easy for new players and old fans to get back into the Mortal Kombat story.  Here is a quick summary: Shao Kahn invades the Earth Realm with the intent to merge it with Outland.  Raiden (God of Thunder) is the last fighter to take on Shao Kahn, but is ultimately defeated. Before his death he sends a warning to his past self in hopes of changing the outcome and preventing Armageddon. Raidens' past self receives this information and a complete reboot of the story begins.

The story this time around is very easy to follow, the cutscenes between fights make the game flow easily from chapter to chapter.  I was entertained from start to finish, mainly due to the quirky character personalities and hilariously bloody encounters. Now, lets talk about the gameplay.  Mortal Kombat is back to the original 2D side-scrolling plane. Staying true to the MK style, each character gets their own special set of moves that are easy to execute. Stringing together combos and special abilities that cause more devastating damage to your opponent may take longer to master.

The new Super Meter at the bottom of the screen is an important addition to the game because of how it effects gameplay.  During the course of a fight the meter will build up depending on the damage you deal and take.  The meter is broken into three segments that can be spent in different ways.  Filling up the first segment will allow you to enhance your special attacks by dealing more damage.  The second segment will break an opponents combo if they have you stuck in a corner and are beating your face in.  When the meter is completely filled you will have an x-ray attack that deals massive damage and can change the momentum of any match.

Lets not forget what made Mortal Kombat a household name. FATALITIES!!!!!  They are back and more brutal and gruesome than ever!  Each character has 2 fatalities, a stage fatality and a BABALITY! The second fatality can be unlocked by visiting the ever expansive Krypt and spending coins awarded through story mode, arcade mode and the challenge tower.

1 vs.1 and tag team matches are available if you want to play with or against your friends. Online play has the options you would expect.  You can join in single ranked, unranked or King of the Hill matches. One thing I loved about King of the Hill was being able to interact with other players and grade fights with respect points. Anyone who turtles during a match won't earn my respect points!

Even with so many improvements, Mortal Kombat is not without its flaws.  During single-player mode I got frustrated with the imbalance of 2 on 1 fights and found the boss fights ridiculous.  I understand NetherRealm's desire to make boss encounters harder, but when I have to spam cheap moves to win a fight,  its gotten out of hand. I don't feel the same accomplishment as I would landing big combos to finish a fight.

One technical flaw I found is not being able to skip through cinematic scenes. This gets especially annoying when you want to come back to a fight but have to watch the same 4 minute scene you just watched the last time you played.

The new Mortal Kombat is a winner when it comes to its predecessors.  Fans of the series and the fighting genre can rejoice now that they have a fun and competitive MK. I enjoyed the game the most when teaming up with a friend and moving through the arcade mode. I was disappointed in how difficult single-player could be, but it never kept me from playing through the story.  This is a must buy if you are a fan of the franchise or if you're looking to pick up a fighter that stands out from the rest.

Presentation: 8
The story is fun and easy to follow.  Not being able to skip cutscenes sucks...

Graphics: 9
X-ray attacks, fatalities and environments are badass.  Some character outfits are questionable.

Sound: 9
The sound effects are amazing and the voice acting isn't half bad.  The music could have used some work.

Gameplay: 8
The best fighter of the franchise! Loved the addition of X-ray attacks and the Super Meter.

Lasting Appeal: 9
With a 300 level challenge tower, story mode, arcade mode, tons of unlockable content and online play, this game has A LOT of replay value.

Violent Score: 9 (out of 10)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mortal Kombat: Legacy Censored??

After watching episode 2 last week, I was excited to see that Mortal Kombat: Legacy was starting to deliver.  With strong character development, heavy violence, and adult language, I thought this series started out really strong.  I guess I spoke too soon...  This weeks episode was a huge disappointment.

Sadly the series has taken a turn for the worst.  Episode three separated from the first two chapters to introduce another main character, Johnny Cage.  The episode starts with an E! True Hollywood Stories like show portraying the rise and fall of the once big action star Johnny Cage.  Desperate for a new action hit, Johnny pitches a couple of ideas to producers including a reality show where he puts the beat down on real life criminals.

After watching his refined pitch, the producers don't buy in after determining Johnny is past his prime.  The Producers then pitch his idea to an actress on the same set and Johnny overhearing the whole conversation.  Johnny gets pissed and kicks everyone's ass (which was the most action of the episode).  The ending was awkward, after storming off the set, time freezes and a mysterious man (looks like Shang Tsung) appears offering Cage a deal.  That's pretty much it.

This episode was straight up awful.  Johnny Cage did not resemble the character used in the video games and the movies.  He was portrayed as a B rated action star, he didn't have the over rated action star ego and he was a former Power Ranger?  Really?  I would have accepted the character if they had kept the Jean-Claude Van Damme persona that Johnny Cage is based off of.

Where was the Kombat?  The only fighting we got to see was watching the TV show he was pitching and when he beat up a few guys at the end of the episode.  Both fights, very boring to say the least.  I would have been happy to see him give an autographed picture  "To my biggest fan" after beating up the thugs.

What absolutely killed the episode was the censored language.  All the F-bombs, S*** and hardcore violence is now being censored, even on previous episodes!!  If the censorship isn't lifted this will kill the series quickly.  Fans will lose interest and stop watching all together.  My guess is that the series was flagged by parents as being inappropriate to show on Youtube.  I don't know why people would do this, but I hope the censorship is reversed and the series is saved.

I hope next weeks episode gets back on track.  They need to find a way to remove the censorship and return to the strong start the series had with the first two episodes.  Leave comments below and let us know what you think!

Violent Score: 3 (out of 10)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

iPhone Games

Some old and some new. I've decided to review some iPhone games I've recently come across. The five games are Legendary Wars, Zenonia, Angry Birds Rio, Fruit Ninja and Game Dev Story. All of these games are compatible with iPhone 3 and 4. Also, all of these games have demo's/lite versions that give you some clue of how the game is, but most of them are pretty short. Legendary Wars, Angry Birds Rio, Fruit Ninja and Game Dev Story all have achievements and game center support.

Legendary Wars
Legendary Wars is a strategy/castle defense game developed by Liv Games. There are plentyof free PC arcade games similar to this on places like, but what makes this game special is it's depth, length, re-playability, graphics and presentation. You will never see a game with the quality graphics and art style like Legendary Wars has. The story in this game is descent and silly but it's depth and customization make it addicting and enjoyable to play. You have something around eight units that you can upgrade in multiple ways, through attributes and entire tiers; there is a currency system that allows you to do so. On top of that you can upgrade your castle and unlock new maps for the extra modes with the currency.

There are several extra modes outside of the campaign. There is a endless defense mode, side scrolling, survival and a armory. The armory only unlocks after you have beat the game once and one of each of these modes unlocks through playing the campaign. Your currency carries over from these modes to the campaign and vice versa. Each mode has 4 or 5 maps and are fairly fun to play.
The campaign has six environments and over 50 levels. Once you beat the game once you can replay it in a harder difficulty and all of your upgrades for everything carry over. It is impossible to upgrade even half of your army to its max level through one playthrough. The sound complements the game pretty well but isn't extraordinary. The animations are really smooth for the most part but there are a few bugs. The developers offer continuous updates and new content. For $0,99 this game is a really good deal, also this is a pretty new game. I've played it through once already and still enjoy playing all aspects of the game. Check out if you like these kinds of game at all.

Violent Score: 4 (out of 5)
For more info check out

This is a role playing game game, developed by Gamevil Inc., with a old school Zelda game look and feel. This a older game, there is a second Zenonia and a third one in the process, but it is a continuous story so this is where it would start. This game also won a award for best iPhone rpg game in 2009. I was drawn to it because I love games like Secret of Mana or Link to the Past and it is very similar in style. You have three classes to choose from; Paladin, Warrior and Assassin. You can only pick a male character and the only customization is the class difference, but thankfully the story is not linear. You can choose to take a evil or good path.
I am happy to say that the story in Zenonia does not suck like many other rpgs. While there is a good deal of go and kill x monsters quests, there are always story quests that make it a lot more interesting. It has a lot of basic features like item stores and quest halls but they are presented well and pleasantly. Combat is pretty basic as well, it uses a d-pad and an attack button that are presented on screen. You have various skills you can unlock, for each class, which are a little clunky to use but they look great.
In the end game is what you would expect it to be, but what makes it good is a well presented story and attractive visuals. The controls are a bit difficult sometimes but once you get used to them it flows pretty well. The length of the game is impressive for a iPhone game, if you do most of the quests it ends up being around 30 hours and for $0.99 that's hard to say no to if you like these kinds of games.

Violent Score: 3.5
For more info check out

Angry Birds Rio
This game is pretty new and it follows the rest of the Angry Birds games developed by Rovio Mobile Ltd. It is pretty much the same as all other angry birds except that it is designed after the environments of the Rio movie that just came out, its a animated children's move. Other than it being designed after that movie it also offers 60 levels, at the moment. In May, July, October and November they will unlock a new section, each section having 30 levels. The two with the game right now are Smugglers Den and Jungle Escape. They both are quite difficult to get 100% on and even more difficult to find all the secret objects.
This game seem's like it has a lot but it is only mildly fun after a couple days. The concept is still the same launch birds into objects and free birds or destroy monkeys. While it is simple it is really fun, until you get tired of it, it gets annoying once you realize a lot of levels rely on random luck in order to get the best score. On the other hand the game does look really good and the physics work pretty well. Once this game has unlocked a few more sections, for free presumably, it will have a lot more length and re-playability, but as it is right now it isn't bound to last you more than a week or two. It is only $0.99. If you like games like Crush the Castle then you will probably enjoy Angry Birds Rio at least a little bit.
Violent Score: 3
For more info

Fruit Ninja
Fruit Ninja, developed by Halfbrick Stuidos, is a game where you slice fruit...that's about it. Seriously though that is technically all you do in this game but fortunately it is fun. There are four modes: Zen Mode, Classic, Multiplayer and Arcade Mode. What really makes this game fun is trying to get high scores and combos in order to unlock new backgrounds and slicers. You can unlock all kinds of entertaining slicers, like a disco blade that looks pretty sweet.
iPhone Screenshot 2
Once you get done unlocking everything in Fruit Ninja, which doesn't take long, there is always multiplayer. Multiplayer is pretty fun but it would be a lot more fun if it was local multiplayer, which wouldn't work on a iPhone due to its size. On the iPad though they do have local multiplayer for Fruit Ninja and it is easily the most fun aspect of the game. Arcade mode is my favorite mode due to all the different types of specials that can happen, while the other modes just have to do with time or lives.
iPhone Screenshot 4
My only gripes about Fruit Ninja are the lack of diversity and re-playability. Once you get everything unlocked there isn't much of a draw to the game anymore, other than MP. It is always fun to just play it but it turns into more mindless fun than objectively going after specific goals. In the end though it is only $0.99 so it's hard to complain about it not having more.

Violent Score: 3
For more info

Game Dev Story
I love this game, it has take quite a hold on me surprisingly. This is the most expensive game of the bunch at $3.99, but it is my favorite. It is a Simultation RPG, which is a pun upon itself since you can develop that very type of game in the game. You have a game company that starts out small, in which you create video games and do contracts for various types of projects. Your main goal is to make the best games out there on the best systems. You have a 20 year time limit to do all you can to be the biggest and best game company out there. The style of this game is interesting and attractive, take a look at this video to see some examples of the game in motion.
You have a group of employee's who all start at level one at their various jobs. There are jobs like designers, coders, sound engineers, software engineers, directors and more. You can improve each individual through training, which costs money and energy, and you may also level up them which makes them cost more but is a guaranteed increase in all of their abilities. The abilities are broken down into program, scenario, graphics and sound. All of you employee's work on everything but for each section of a game you develop you choose a lead who provide the initial points.
iPhone Screenshot 1
There are things like gamedev awards that always leave you wanting to get runner up or best game. I have only won runner up and multiple best design and best sound awards. You can use advertising, which costs various amounts of money, to get your name out there and improve your fanbase. They do a lot of things in this game to keep it interesting and diverse, like if you get really good at one genre and you keep making that genre, you lose fans because they are tired of the same genre. Another example is another company making a similar game to yours so your sales aren't going to be as good because of the competition.
iPhone Screenshot 4
There are a lot of different genre's and types of games you can unlock. You may also develop your own console with a software engineer, which are hard to find. Once the 20 year limit is reached all of your hard work is not for nothing, much of it carries over to a new game and can be used again. I could say a lot more about this game but I'm having trouble making it brief, so lets just say it's great and if you like sim's at all you will probably like it. I recommend trying the lite version/demo at the least. As it is the game is $3.99 but that is subject to decrease or increase.

Violent Score: 4.5
For more info

Written by Sean Cargle

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shogun Total War 2 Review

War is bloody and grim but Shogun is not. It fills you with the feeling of hope against a hopeless struggle. When the Shogunate, the government, declares war on you it makes or break you. You must fight and die or be crushed under the coming storm. The realm divides and you can only hope someone will be on your side. This is one of the few events of Shogun 2 Total War. Creative Assembly developed it and it is produced by Sega, the same as all recent Total War games.
(If you are familiar with RTS games ignore this next paragraph.)
If you are unfamiliar with the Total War series, it is a real time strategy series that involves a campaign map in which you run your cities, politics, families, finances and armies. Whenever you are involved in a fight, be it a siege, land battle or naval battle you then go into a detailed fight that allows you to control your army, unit by unit.

For all of you familiar with the Total War series, Shogun 2 does a lot to improve upon all previous attempts. I know I have outlined many of these in previews and articles on Shogun 2 already but there was much more to be explored. Here are some improvements over the more recent Total War games, like Empire Total War and Napoleon Total War.
-Campaign Map
-Stability Issues at launch
-Clan uniqueness
-Sea battles
-Battle AI
-Campaign AI

I would like to think I could list more, but that may be just a little to specific for a list. One of the main and only problems I have had with the game, as have many others, is multiplayer bugs. Since the game came out on March 15th, there has been numerous game breaking bugs, as well as many minor ones. They have patched the game twice since then and the most annoying of those bugs seem to have been eliminated. One of the the least talked about improvements is naval battles. Naval battles, unlike in Empire Total War, are easy to get used to and actually enjoyable. You do not need as much strategy as land battles often require but once you unlock most of the units you can devise some interesting strategies.
Singleplayer is the games strongest suite and it always has been. You can play from nine different clans. Each clan has special units and usually some kind of specialization. The campaign map they use is the best looking of any Total War games and it also has the most interesting fog of war. Diplomacy is handled easily. All you must do is simply make contact with any unit of a clan in order to begin negotiations of any sort, be it trade or war. There is also a research tree that is divided between the Art of War and the Art of Chi; both paths have a long list of different things you can research. You must research about 80% of the city improvements. Learning arts always has a additional bonus, like increased income or morale or armor for all infantry units.
You can choose between a long campaign or short campaign in singleplayer, as well as various difficulties. If you are familiar with previous Total War games they have added a new legendary difficulty that sounds pretty tough and interesting. If you use legendary difficulty you may pause battles but issue no orders, you also have no minimap, you cannot see enemies very far, you have centralized camera movement on your forces only, there are no longer identifies on enemy units and more. There is also a multiplayer coop, or versus, campaign that has all of these same options. Here is a quick overview of the SP and MP menu's and options.

Multiplayer coop campaign used to have its own share of bugs and issues but it seems to have been cleaned up since recent patches. It works very well and with little lag. You and your partner have the option to choose to only do autoresolve or do real time battles. Something great that they added to this that makes it just as fun as singleplayer, is a option to give your ally some of your units during a battle. If you have a fight you can share as many units as you wish so both players can have a role in the battle. I'm really glad they came up with this finally. I was disappointed that in Empire Total War, when they first introduced a multiplayer campaign, that you could only autoresolve battles unless both of your forces were involved in the same fight. Multiplayer campaign has been problematic. I've played it about 15 hours and a good couple hours of that was trying to get around game stopping bugs. There used to bugs that wouldn't let you load a certain save or would crash the game for your partner when you when into the diplomacy screen with a clan. I can gladly say that, since the recent patch, I have no longer encountered any of these problems and it has worked very smoothly.
Multiplayer Avatar Conquest is a lot of fun on its own as well. You have a avatar, who is your general, that you can customize in various ways and also unlock and level up. Through achievements you gain new pieces of armor for your general. You get to choose what your banner with be and all of your colors. On top of avatar customization there is also veteran units that you may earn. When a unit does particularly well in a battle the game often gives you the choose to make them a veteran unit. Veteran units are fantastic, they get their own skill tree to level up and they cost slightly more than a normal plain unit, you also may customize there colors. For instance I've fought one person whose army was a full array of colors, so it added insult to injury when I lost to a rainbow colored army. The only downside to veteran units is that they can be injured and must rest for a battle before being used again at full strength, you can use them at half strength or whatever they are at.
There are a number of different options for you in the multiplayer avatar conquest mode. You can play as a team, with friends, and using a matchmaking service that will set you up against others in land, sea or siege battles. You can also drop-in to other players campaigns, if they are allowing it, and take over the AI in a battle against someone. You have the options in matchmaking to only select whatever type of battle you wish to play, it doesn't always work though. I've selected only naval battles before and ended up in a siege battle. You also have the option to look through a battle list that shows any battles people have created.

One of the main draws of Avatar Conquest is the conquest map. You start with only minimal units unlocked and they have a conquest map that you must use to unlock new units and retainers, retainers are battle bonuses you can use during any mp battle. The conquest map, as shown above, is very vibrant and well made. Just as in singleplayer, you choose where you would like to start. There is also the option to be a clan and do clan battles over the conquest map. There is a clan option that shows all the territories for the tier your clan is in. You have a little avatar piece and a naval piece on the map. You move them to whatever territory, that you can make it to, that you wish to conquer. Once you win a battle in any of the avatar conquest modes, as I mentioned in the last paragraph, you take that piece of territory and gain whatever it offered. That applies to the clan system as well. The main difference is when you are in a clan you also lose territories, on the clan map, when you lose a battle. This of course had it bugs as well but many have been squashed, there are still quite a few though but it is much more accessible now.
The graphics for Shogun 2 are fantastic, to the say the least. It is true that this game is a bit hard to run. If you played the demo though do not be dismayed, the retail game runs a good deal smoother. The weather effects are varied and wonderful looking. There are also common weathers effects and less common ones. For example, I've played the game around 55 hours and just saw my first rain storm a few days ago. Rain, fog, mist and wind are all very impressive and make it easy to be immersed in the environment. All that being said the minimum system requirement are pretty high. Take a look.

Minimum Requirements
"CPU - 2GHz Intel Dual Core processor, 2.6GHz Intel Single Core processor , or AMD equivalent (with SSE2)
MEMORY - 1GB RAM (XP), 2GB RAM (Vista/Windows7)
VIDEO - 256 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card (shader model 3)
Hard Drive- 20GB free hard disk space
OTHER DETAILS - 1024×768 minimum screen resolution"

A lot of people have said that you need a system a good deal better than that to run it decently.

All in all this is a great game. I have not felt this kind of draw to a Total War game since Medieval 2 Total War. While the game may be smaller, in scale not in detail, it is very fun and addicting. I often find myself saying just one more turn and before I realize it a hour has gone by and that is a very rare thing these days. I recommend this greatly to anyone interested in strategy games and Japanese culture. The aforementioned bugs have mostly been fixed and are being fixed at a decent rate. Also I've made a video highlighting many battles, land/siege and naval, check it out.

Presentation- 9
*Bug's at retail release are the only thing holding this back
Graphics- 10
*Works on a array of different computer setups and looks gorgeous all around.
Sound- 10
*The soundtrack draws you into the Japanese environment and the battle sounds are fitting.
*Simple, yet diverse and exciting. Lot's of options. The flow of battle feels excellent. Bugs hurt it.
Length of Play-10
*There is a lot to do in this game and lots of reason to continually keep coming back.

Violent Score: 9.5

Written By Sean Cargle

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mortal Kombat: Legacy Webisodes

Its been a year since the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth trailer created huge buzz on the internet.  Fans were disappointed to find out that the trailer was a fake and that a new Mortal Kombat movie would not be put into production.  After an outcry from fans, Warner Bros. agreed to give director Kevin Trancharoen a web series based off his Rebirth trailer.  The new series, now titled Mortal Kombat: Legacy, made its debut today.  If you are not familiar with the Rebirth trailer or this web series, you will notice Trancharoen is taking a "realistic" approach to this series rather than the mythical settings the previous movies.

Watch the first episode below and continue to read my review of Episode 1.

The first episode had a light start but built up to a bloody confrontation in the end.  We were introduced to a small group of characters from the MK universe, Sonya Blade, Jax and Kano.  These characters have had a long heated rivalry throughout the MK series so I felt this was a good way to start off the series.

The production value had a slight change from Rebirth .  Rather than taking the heavy theatrical atmosphere, Trancharoen seems to use a more conservative action movie approach. There were some great action sequences and the cinematography was really well done for a web series. 

I was disappointed to see the lack of hand to hand combat in the first episode, drowned out by gunfights.  I also felt the performance by Jeri Ryan (Sonya) fell a little short and didn't sell me on the tough badass Sonya should be.  It would have been nice to keep that dark dramatic environment Rebirth had but with a limited budget, the changes made worked well.

Overall I enjoyed this episode.  I was worried that the 12 minutes was going to be too short, but it all fit in real nicely, even with a short title and credits reel.  Sure this episode had some bumps and it wasn't as action packed as I was hoping, but it left me wanting more.  Hopefully this web series will live up to the hype and will have some of that unique cinematography that drew us into the original trailer.  Check back next week for episode 2!

Violent Score: 8/10

Thursday, April 7, 2011

SOCOM 4 Preview

The SOCOM games have always been a premier multiplayer experience on the PlayStation consoles.  With a strong following of fans since the online hit of SOCOM 2, Zipper Interactive and PlayStation knew they had a franchise to invest in.  With their debut on the PS3 system SOCOM failed miserably.  SOCOM 4 looks to bring back its fans and attract the new Call of Duty generation of players with their unique approach to military shooters.

SOCOM is a third person shooting game which gives you an over the shoulder perspective of your character.  The camera can go first person if you are using a weapon that features a scope or red dot sights.  The game also features a cover system which allows a more dynamic approach to game play.

After playing the beta for hours, it really feels like Zipper took the time to polish their new release.  Though the beta only gives multiplayer access, it is clear to see the dramatic improvements made since its predecessor.  The game now features different modes ("Classic" and new), better menu navigation, player rank progression and better character customization.

SOCOM features new and classic game settings.  The new standard setting features game play like newer generation shooters with respawns and heath regeneration and fewer match rounds.  The new standard mode also introduces airstrikes which is a first for the series.  Airstrikes are activated in different ways depending on what new game mode you are playing (uplink, bomb squad, last defense or suppression).  SOCOM also features classic settings for the hardcore fans of the franchise.  Some of the classic rules inclide:
  • No Heath Regeneration
  • No Respawns
  • Faster player movment
  • Rounds end after everyone is eliminated

Multiplayer also features different objective game modes, each mode can be played with either standard or classic settings.  Some modes do feature different rules or weapons allowed in the game. 


Standard Team Deathmatch

Standard Mode Rules:
  • Rack up as many kills in 20 minutes
Classic Mode Rules:
  • Best out of 7 rounds

Last Defense

This is a very confusing but fun game mode once you understand the rules.  There are three neutral sectors in the middle of the map.  Each team must capture and hold all three sectors in order to reveal the enemy's headquarters. 

After locating the HQ, the attacking team must plant a beacon on one of two locations on the map.  The attacking team will have 2 mintues to plant the beacon.  Once planted there is a 19 second window till the enemy HQ is hit by an airstrike to win the game.  If the defending team takes out the beacon at any time, all the sectors will go back to being neutral and will start over again.

Standard Mode Rule:
  • Best of 3 rounds
  • 30 minute time limit each round
Classic Mode Rule:
  • Best of 11 rounds
  • 5 minute time limit each round

Uplink is an objective game similar to capture the flag.  One team is attacking and one team is defending.  The attacking team must download the enemy data and bring it back to their base and uplink it to score.  Only one person can download data at a time.  Once a player has the data that person will show up on their teams HUD so they can protect them.

The Defensive team must defend the data locations until time has expired.  If the data is stolen, defensive players must kill the person with the data, then return the data back to their base. 

Standard Mode Rules:
  • Best of 2 rounds
  • 10 minute time limit each round
  • Teams switch sides after each round
  • Three random Data locations on the map
Classic Mode Rules:
  • Best of 10 rounds
  • 5 minute time limit each round
  • Teams switch sides after each round
  • Two locations for Data on the map
Bomb Squad

Bomb Squad is an objective based game featuring bomb defusing and protection.  There are three bombs sites located on the map.  One team must protect the bomb sites from being defused and the other team must defuse the bombs before time runs out.  The defusing team has one player selected at random to defuse the bomb, also known as the bomb technician.  The player that is chosen to defuse the bomb is given heavy protective armor to take more damage and has powerful weapons to protect him, a shotgun and grenade launcher.  Each bomb will take 9 seconds to defuse.

Standard Mode Rules:
  • Best of 2 rounds
  • 10 minute time limit for each round
  • A new bomb technician is chosen randomly after a technician death
Classic Mode Rules:
  • Best of 10 rounds
  • 7 minute time limit each round
  • A new bomb technician is chosen each round
  • The round will end if the technician is killed or dropped form the game

 Another game mode that was announced but not offered in the beta is the new Co-Op mode.  This mode puts 5 online friends together against enemies in 6 different maps.  Depending on the mode, players will have to team up together and complete the objective given to them all while fighting off endless waves of enemies.  Players will be able to revive fallen comrades, resupply during battles and gain new weapon mods by completing challenges.  Game settings can also be customized allowing you to choose how many enemies there are in each round. 

SOCOM 4 is looking like it will be the big step forward the franchise was disparately needing.  The improvements to the overall game play are drastic, and I can tell they took a lot of time getting it right.  Even though the game is just in beta, it will be interesting to see what the final product will be.  It is obvious Zipper cares about their product.  Shortly after the beta released, they are already putting a patch through to fix issues players were having with game play.  SOCOM has never been big on the single player experience so maybe this is they year the deliver the full package.  Tune in later this month for the SOCOM 4 review.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Minecraft Multiplayer

Many people play Minecraft, many of whom play on multiplayer servers. Have you played Minecraft multiplayer? No? Well you should. I originally started out playing Minecraft with one or two other people but found it to be a lot more fun to be part of a continually growing world. Every time I log into the server I am part of, a player named Zambini's server, I can set out in any direction and find something new. Working on mega projects, such as giant caverns/castles/bridges etc. , does get tiring but people casually log in once or twice a week. Server stability is very good and our host often saves multiple copies of our world just in case.
If you have not played anything but singleplayer Minecraft, I recommend finding some of the great servers out there and joining in on some great projects. Sure you can get some big things done by yourself, but to see what you and others can create is amazing. I have made videos showing off the kind of places people have made in our server. There are three videos in total and I will outline what is in each video for easy selection. Try out multiplayer Minecraft loners, you will most likely enjoy yourself.

Disclaimer: Music in the videos is mostly Metal. Except for Video #3.

Our Minecraft World Part 1
-Mega Cavern
-Giant wood bridge
-View of main castle/spawn
-View of giant sand tower
Music: Amon Amarth and Insomnium
Our Minecraft World Part 2
-Inside of main castle/spawn
-Castle observation tower
-Underneath Castle (underground forest/farm/obstacle course)
-Large Sky Complex (pyramids/towers/waterfalls and more)
Music: Dawnbringer and Alcest

Our Minecraft World Part 3
-Lava Fortress
-Minecart Madness
-Forest Cabin
Music: Kaskade

This world was created by Zambini, Soulis, Typhoeus, Jrmitche, Benighted, Lokai and several others. Hope you enjoyed, thanks for watching.

Written by Sean Cargle (Lokai)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mortal Kombat Preview

The Mortal Kombat series has seen its ups and downs.  When the original Mortal Kombat debut onto consoles in 1992, it was welcomed with a world wide fan base and a lot of controversy.  Kids were playing Super Nintendo, pulling heads off and ripping hearts out, and parents were shocked they just bought the most bloody and gruesome game to ever hit consoles for their grade school child.  What caused much controversy also sparked a revolution in game development, game ratings, and the potential for bringing video games to the silver screen.  After many hit or miss sequels and horrible spin offs, developers at NeatherRealm Studios took Mortal Kombat back to its roots.

So what's new? Well it's not what is new about the game, it's what will be returning to the game.  For starters Mortal Kombats engine will be on a 2D plain and reintroduce players to the gruesome Fatalities that made the franchise stand out from other fighters.  Some of the new additions include bone crunching X-ray attacks that slow down the fight and will give you a look at internal damage done to your opponent.  It will also feature classic stages, with stage Fatalities that will have long time players remember the first time they were knocked into a spike pit.

Lets talk about the roster a little bit.  As Mortal Kombat games have expanded, so has the roster.  Though a full roster has not been released yet, we can expect many of the fighters from Mortal Kombat 1-3.  Here is a short list of characters you can expect to see.
  • Sub-Zero
  • Scorpion
  • Nightwolf
  • Mileena 
  • Katana
  • Sonya
  • Raiden
  • Reptile
  • Kung Lao
  • Striker
  • Johnny Cage
  • Shao Kahn
  • Liu Kang

The new Mortal Kombat will also feature mini-games such as "Test Your Might", "Test Your Sight" and "Test Your Luck" along with a new Challenge Tower that will put gamers through a rigorous 300 challenge event.  Local and online multilayer will also be available to take your kombat skills to the rest of the community.

Mortal Kombat is due to release on April 19, 2011.  For now you can download the demo on the Playstation Network.  Happy Fatalities!