Thursday, November 14, 2013

Overview and Review: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag US Limited Edition (Gamestop Edition for PS4) (w/Pics)

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Note: This is a review of the Limited Edition’s Content and not the game itself.

            It’s that time of the year again. The now annualized Assassin’s Creed Series is continuing with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. As with the last title’s Limited Edition (reviewed here), Black Flag’s bells and whistles version costs considerably more than the standard edition. In fact, at 130 bucks, it is, surprisingly, even more expensive than last year’s 120 dollar limited edition.
            Black Flag’s Limited Edition will have to offer quite a lot of content in order to justify its price point. One can only hope that it fairs as well as last year’s excellent Assassin’s Creed III Limited Edition. As far as first impressions are concerned, the size of Black Flag’s box in comparison to ACIII’s sets the stage for what will hopefully be another excellent offering from Ubisoft.

What’s Included:
1) Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag game for PS4
2) Steelbook Case
3) Soundtrack
4) Hardcover Artbook
5) Assassin’s Creed IV Pirate Flag
6) Various DLC
7) Edward Kenway Statue

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Detailed Reviews: Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land (3DS)

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Prologue:
            What can I say? It’s the perfect storm. Regular Show for the 3DS is the kind of game that I was going to buy regardless of what anyone said about it. It’s an old school platformer. It’s based on Regular Show. It was developed by WayForward. And, let’s be honest, at only 30 bucks, it doesn’t require a large investment.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Theory for why 24 hour checks on XboxOne are necessary

     This is my theory for why Microsoft added a 24-hour online check requirement for Xbox One. There are a few things you have to understand before we get to the DRM.

Part 1: 
     It is clear that Microsoft wants to switch to an all digital system. The very fact that discs become coasters so soon after buying them is enough proof of that.
     If that's the case, though, why does the Xbox One support discs in the first place? Why not just distribute games like Steam? It's a good question. The reason for this is twofold. First, even though Microsoft is certain that most households in their target countries will be able to provide the minimal internet connection needed for their DRM checks, they are probably afraid of a situation where users can't buy Xbox One games because their internet doesn't allow for the kinds of large bluray-sized files needed for next gen games. Installing off of a disc eliminates this potential problem.
     The second reason is retail. Even though Microsoft could foreseeably cut retail out of the software game, Microsoft would have an INCREDIBLY hard time selling the console itself without the aid of brick and mortar stores. Given that retail will still be important to Microsoft, they need to give retail a reason to stock the X1. Not too many stores would want to heavily promote or give much shelf space to a product that sells only itself when there are products like the WiiU and PS4 that will provide more long lasting revenue streams through continued software sales.
     So, even though Microsoft wants all digital (like apple and steam), it still needs to support discs.

Part 2: 
     Used games. Microsoft would probably prefer for there to be no used games. This would help them control their market, it would make publishers happy, and it would help stop piracy. If that's the case, then why doesn't Microsoft eliminate Used Games?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Overview and Review: US Injustice: Gods Among Us: Battle Edition (Fight Stick Edition) (Gamestop Exclusive)

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Note: This review is for the US Collector’s Edition of Tomb Raider and NOT the game itself. 

            As with Warner Interactive’s previous offering from Netherealm (Mortal Kombat 9), Injustice: Gods Among Us has been given two different non-standard editions. Likewise, the game, regardless of edition, has been graced with rather excellent retailer-specific DLC. This review is only going to focus on the Gamestop exclusive Battle Edition of the game. The need to purchase from Gamestop means that the pre-order DLC mentioned in this review will be the “Red Son” content offered by the aforementioned retailer.
            Before I start the review, I would like to note that even though I will always pick a fight stick edition over a collector’s edition (as I did with MK9), the terrible design for the Collector’s Edition’s statues probably would have swayed me towards the Battle Edition regardless of my preference for fight sticks.
This goes for both the UK and US statues. As far as the UK edition is concerned, I can’t see myself really wanting a statue of Batman with his fingers wrapped around Wonder Woman’s throat. I realize that Batman does not have the hand-strength required to actually choke Wonder Woman, but the image is still one that I find a bit difficult to want on my shelf. The prospect of having to explain to the non-comic book inclined why Batman’s choking a girl out is not something that I would look forward to.
The US edition is a mess for completely different reasons. The first problem is that the two battle-engaged characters aren’t even facing each other. That’s a terrible design choice. How did they expect the statue to effectively convey the tenseness of the battle when the two combatants aren’t even eye to eye. Sure, Wonder Woman is heavily engaged in the battle, but Batman seems to just want to escape. The other major problem with the statue is that a fair amount of the sculpt relies on the use of a generic sci-fi spacecraft. Considering that Wonder Woman actually owns her own jet, it would have made more sense to have some fun trying to include an invisible plane into this sculpt. It’s a missed opportunity and it’s been replaced with an object that has no obvious reason for being there. With that said, let’s see what we get with the Battle Edition.

The US Injustice: God Among Us: Battle Edition Includes:
1) Injustice Game
2) Injustice Fight Stick
3) New 52 DLC Skins for Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman
4) Red Son DLC (only if pre-ordered at Gamestop)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sarkeesian's "Tropes vs. Women in Gaming" is Good for Gaming

     Gamers are an odd bunch. On the one hand, you have a large contingent of gamers that very much wants their hobby to be taken as being as culturally relevant as other forms of entertainment. If movies, comics, music, and television can be the topics of serious academic discussion, then why can't games? Likewise, if movies, comics, music, and television can be respected as being potential works of art, then why aren't games afforded the same chance? This is the group of gamers that want games taken more seriously.
     The problem with that desire for serious discussion, though, is that it can lead to a pretty strong division within gaming culture when the serious discussion starts to get serious. One need to look only as far as the recent God of War: Ascension trophy debacle to see an example of what happens when one side of the gaming coin welcomes serious analysis while the other side does not. This second contingent of gamer out there wants that first group to stop taking the games so seriously because games are just games.

Monday, March 11, 2013

God of War: Ascension's "Bros before Hos" Trophy: An Editorial by Jonathan Ruiz

     I've been trying really hard to think of how to correctly approach this topic. I also feel that it's something that I absolutely need to address. It's not necessarily that the offending situation has me all that bothered (though it does bother me a good deal). The real problem, I think, is that I am ashamed of how many of my fellow gamers are dealing with the events that are taking place.
     Let's start at the beginning. In just one day, the new God of War game, Ascension, is coming out. In it, there is a part of the game where, following a gruesome scene of male on female violence, there is a trophy that pops up saying, "Bros before Hos." Generally, this kind of nonsense would not be enough to cause such a stir. The reason it did, though, is because a certain reviewer, Adam Sessler, decided to focus on the trophy during his review for the aforementioned game.
     In that review, he stated, and I quote:
"There's one more depressingly unfortunate aspect to God of War Ascension. After the very best boss battle in the game, there's a cutscene which displays one of the most violent things I have ever seen in a video game. It's Kratos boot stomping a fury's face in. While the image of a woman's face being kicked in is borderline, the overall dark nastiness of the franchise and its lack of gender roles outside of the famous sex scenes kept it just inside a tonal context, but following the conclusion of the cutscene, you get a trophy, this one, bros before hos. This gut punch of misogyny irredeemably sours this game and is shocking that such a talented developer would traffic in such a contemptible attitude. I have always liked the adult fantasy of the God of War games. (couldn't understand his speech here) silliness, and in this moment, it's all reduced to some frat house joke. Making me ashamed that I ever thought it was more than that in the first place."

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Overview and Review: Tomb Raider US Collector’s Edition (Amazon Exclusive Final Hours Edition) (w/Pics)


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Note: This review is for the US Collector’s Edition of Tomb Raider and NOT the game itself. 

Tomb Raider, being one of the most anticipated games of the year, has been graced with the now requisite Collector’s Edition treatment. The title has also had pre-order bonuses doled out to all the big name retailers. The edition I will be reviewing here is the Amazon.com edition that they have seen fit to title the “Final Hours Edition.” This review will make note of when a specific inclusion is specific to Amazon’s offering. Without further ado, here are the contents of the US Collector’s Edition of Tomb Raider:


1. Tomb Raider
2. Survival Tin
3. 15x19 inch Double-Sided Island Map and Poster
4. 5x7 inch Lithograph
5. CD soundtrack
6. Weapon Pack DLC
7. Patches
8. Lara Croft Figurine (8 inches)
9. Art of Tomb Raider Artbook (Amazon Edition Exclusive)10. Hunter Skin (Amazon Edition Exclusive)
11. The Final Hours of Tomb Raider “Director’s Cut” Kindle Edition (Amazon Edition Exclusive)
12. Tomb Raider Scavanger Hunt Code (Pre-Order incentive for various stores)
13. Shanty Town Multiplayer Map DLC (Pre-Order incentive for various stores)