Category Archives: Videogames

Other than metal, we like to play videogames. We also like to talk about videogames. Since playing games in an expensive hobby, we tend to not have as many posts as we do for metal. From time time we come across something cool in videogames we will share our experience with the enlightened ones of A Metal State of Mind.

Game Review: The Evil Within (Xbox One)


D_093155118539I can’t think of a game in recent memory that has been more overblown than The Evil Within, at least in the survival horror genre.  Tango Gameworks took cues from just about every other horror game out there; Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Outlast, etc., and put them all into one mashup, hence, it’s unoriginal!  I will give the developers props for a few things, but seriously how many puss-filled, pulsating, veiny, acid-spewing, bulging mucous looking sores-on-walls am I going to see in these kinds of games?  Time to come up with something new; let’s get back to scaring the crap out of gamers with suspense instead of wowing us with the fantastically grotesque.

What started off as a pretty legit story line; cop responds to gruesome murders at Beacon Mental Hospital.  Cop sees some really strange crap and runs for life.  Cop and friends escape in ambulance (earth shakes violently); ambulance crashes in the woods; cop and friends get split up (of course).  Cop runs through woods trying to find his way.  And this is where things start to take a turn for the worse.  And when I mean worse, I don’t mean for the safety of the cop protagonist, I mean took a turn for the ludicrous worse in overall gaming experience.  Read the rest of this entry

Game Review: Game Dev Tycoon (PC)


profile_lThis review was created entirely by my 11-year-old son/game enthusiast…

I bought Game Dev Tycoon as part of the 2013 Steam Summer Sale.  Business Simulation games weren’t really my style then, so I thought “Hey, I’ll give Game Dev Tycoon a go.” As of now I’ve committed 132 hours of blood, sweat, and tears into this game.  This game is basically centered in the early 1980’s era when videogames were getting very, very popular.

So, I started my videogame developing Simulator Company with the name “Crank Incorporated,” named after Steam Corporation.  My company started out in a location that seemed like a garage that might actually be housing a DMC Delorean.  With $70K, I started development of my first game.  At the moment I had four game topic choices, one of those being “Racing,” so I chose that.  The second choice was of the genres RPG, Simulation, Action, etc.  So, I chose Simulation because I know that racing and simulation is a good combo.  The next choice was naming my game.  I saw some of the forum pages where people made hilarious names such as a military action game being called Call of Dooty, but that didn’t stop me from making a formal name for my racing simulator because I take gaming seriously. Speed Racer was what I chose; named after the somewhat successful film. Read the rest of this entry

Game Review: Sherlock Holmes – Crimes & Punishments


thumbnailTitle:  Sherlock Holmes:  Crimes & Punishments

Console reviewed:  Xbox One

Developer:  Frogwares

Release Date:  (latest) 3 Oct 14

Style:  Adventure

Mode:  Single Player

Similarities to:  L.A. Noire, CSI

Despite being released in the latter part of 2014, this is my first 2015 gaming victory courtesy of Santa Claus.  Solving crimes as Sherlock Holmes not only tested my aptitude, but my moral virtue.  You see, this game allows you to be lazy and hasty…to a certain point.  There are about a half-dozen crimes to solve and for each one there are multiple outcomes…quite a few possibilities actually.  In the end, you can actually put an innocent person in prison, hence the test of moral virtue.  Will you ignore the clues to “get your man” and close the file or will you be thorough and ensure justice is served appropriately?  The choice is really up to you.  Read the rest of this entry

Free Games on Xbox This Month (Jan 2015)


For those who have Xbox One and/or Xbox 360; here are a few games ready for download for free if you are a Gold subscriber.  Enjoy these clips.  Personally, the D4 game looks interesting.  Anyone play it yet?

Xbox One:

Xbox 360:

Game Review: Sniper Elite 3 (Xbox One)


sniper+elite+3+ssIn my attempt to break away from wildly popular shooter games (you know what they are), I picked up “Sniper Elite III” to shake things up a bit when it comes to fast-moving shooter action.  Not to mention, there just aren’t “that” many games out for Xbox One right now, so my choices were limited.  I haven’t played the previous editions of the sniper franchise and it worked out great because I didn’t really need to know about those games coming into part III.  Despite the fact that this story took place before “Sniper Elite V2” I didn’t feel I missed out on story and concept.  All I really needed to play this fun game was patience.  Sometimes I had it; sometimes I didn’t and here is my “Sniper Elite III” story.

The biggest reason I enjoyed this particular tactical shooter is that I had time to plan my attack and decide which approach I was going to take.  I could go quiet or I could go loud or both.  Mostly, I preferred sneaky and stealthy.  I can be a methodical kind of guy, so this aspect of the game pleased me.  Because the game took place during WWII in Northern Africa, there were lots of large rocks, hills, and dessert-atmosphere to hide behind; perfect for sniping. Read the rest of this entry

Game Review: Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One)


510nNUKnXmL._SY300_I waited for what I thought was a reasonable time to purchase an Xbox One.  If there were bugs to work out, I like to think it would have happened by now.  One aspect that Microsoft changed for the best, in my opinion, was selling a Kinect-less system which is the one I opened my wallet for.  Since I have been part of the Xbox family since about 2006, I didn’t see a need to swap to Playstation only because it may have slightly better graphics.  So, this game review is not going to harp on which system is best.  It’s about my brief thoughts on the Xbox One and, of course, “Dead Rising 3,” the first game I played on the new system.

Xbox One

The first thing I noticed was how quiet the system is.  If you have an old Xbox 360 like I do, it sounded like a jet taking off in your living room. That issue, and I thought it was kind of a big deal, is gone.  The Xbox One barely purrs like a kitten. It’s that quiet.  For that I am grateful because I no longer have to compensate on the volume of the game to make up for the Boeing 767 that was in my man room.  Read the rest of this entry

What I’ve Been Playing


video_game_meme_by_amarakaiba-d4sd371Haven’t written about any video games here in a while, so while I got a bit of free time on my hands figured I’d drop some game suggestions to some games I’ve played recently.  All of these are available on Steam and most likely also available on consoles as well.  Each, of course, is worth looking into if something about it catches your eye.  So, here are a bunch of random games that are pretty great and stuff.

 

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

This is the first game in the Call of Juarez series I’ve played and it is the most recent offering from, going by reviews, a very hit or miss series.  If anything, you don’t need to have played any of the other games in the series to enjoy this one.  And if you are a shooter fan and don’t enjoy this, you probably don’t like fun.

Basically, take the scoring system from Bulletstorm, the graphic style of Borderlands, and the narration of Bastion and you get Gunslinger.  Seriously, this is the most fun I’ve had with a FPS in a while (barring the next game on this list).  I love how as you run around the map the narration of an old bounty hunters tale gets told to you and some cool effects when he decides he told something wrong.

Bonus modes include a New Game + mode as well as a super-fun arcade mode where the cool combo chaining system from the campaign gets beefed out and you get to go for runs for high score and best times.  There’s also a shootout mode which focuses on the 1v1 shootout portions of the campaign, but I didn’t spend much time with it as I thought the shootouts were the weakest part of the game.  For the price tag you are getting a lot of quality and content to play with and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

I quite enjoyed Far Cry 3 regardless of the fact I really didn’t care for any of the other games in the series.  I think it is a bit over-rated, but then again, how many other games let you use a tiger to wipe out your enemies?  Well, Blood Dragon, a stand-alone DLC (Far Cry 3 is not required to play this one), does FC3 one up and lets you use a fucking dragon to kill your enemies.  And you rip your enemies hearts out to make bait to direct where dragons go and make murderous mayhem.  Sounds fun, right?  It is.  IMO, Blood Dragon outdoes it’s core game in every way.

And that’s just one small piece.  If you grew up in the ’80 with heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Van Damme, etc. you’d be pleased to know the over the top 80’s sci-fi neon cheese is capped off with THE Michael Beihn voicing all the quips and one-liners of the lead character, Rex Power Colt.  Everything about this game is a love letter to that bygone era (complete with a great Krull reference that made me squee with glee) and besides being a nostalgia trip, some fun gameplay is underneath.  Well worth your time and credits.

Shovel Knight

Speaking of nostalgia romps, Shovel Knight is also a love letter to 80/early 90s gaming.  Pretty much equal parts Mega Man, Zelda 2, Castlevania, and the NES version of Ducktales, Shovel Knight is a retro gamers dream.  The level designs are outstanding and devilishly difficult (not punishing though ;) ), the characters are charming, the retro graphics are stunning, and the music is some of the best chiptunes you can get this side of Mega Man.  You also beat shit out of everything with a shovel, if that’s not enough to sell you, maybe you were smacked with one as a child.

Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death

Best $1 game I’ve ever bought (though it was on sale, so it may be a couple bucks more now).  Basically, it’s Bro of War.  That is, God of War with some bro instead of Kratos and a tad smaller budget. Equally as fun though.  Lots of explosions, big combos, and cheesy dialogue, that’s about it.  Good fun.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

I’m a huuuuuge South Park fan.  I have been literally watching the show ever since the dude from the local rock and roll memorabilia shop pulled me to the side and made me watch a VHS tape with The Spirit of Christmas on it (wow, now I feel old).  I’ve seen every episode multiple times, can quote more than enough of them, have a good amount of merch, and etc.  all that other fanboy stuff.  If there’s been one area that South Park has ever let me down in, it’s been their video games.  The Stick of Truth changes that.  This game is everything a South Park fan ever wanted; a chance to play an episode of the show.  Seriously, if you didn’t have a controller in your hand, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Presented as a turn-based RPG, you take on the role of the new kid in town and engage in a Lord of the Rings style quest filled with poop, tampons, aliens, magic, and Lemmywinks.  Every character from the show at least makes a cameo and since series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone worked very closely with the dev team, everything is undeniably South Park.  As with anything SP, this isn’t for kids.  There was one part where I shoved a kid up a man’s ass while exploring a man’s ass…

Seriously, if you like South Park and haven’t given this a go yet, you’re really missing out on some great SP cannon.  Euro buyers beware, because of of shitty laws, the console versions of the European versions of the games needed to be censored, get the PC version on Steam and you’ll be good to go (I got mine in Italy, and no censoring whatsoever).

Game Review: Uncharted: Golden Abyss (PS Vita)


unchartedvita-300x300When I bought the bundled Playstation Vita, it came with Uncharted:  Golden Abyss among other games.  It was one of the original released games on Playstation’s latest hand-held system and is found exclusively on the Vita.  Since I am not a Playstation owner, this was my first time with the Uncharted franchise.  Though I heard many great things about the game, I couldn’t help but think I’ve seen this before…archaeology, bad guys, scaling perilous cliffs, tomb raiding.  It sounds so familiar, but I can’t quite place it ;)  Anyway, my expectations were actually pretty low.  At the end of the story, I have to say I was pleasantly pleased.

The game takes place in Panama at a dig site.  Drake is accompanied by a friend, but before too long it is evident that Drake’s friend is not really his friend, but a partner of Guerro…the warlord.  Oooh! The plot thickens and chaos ensues.  Guerro has an abundance of fearless henchmen that are available for target practice with Drake’s shooting and stealth killing prowess.  All the trappings of a tomb raiding game are present…scaling the impossible, finding artifacts, and getting closer to the truth.  Drake is accompanied by Chase…a chick.  She’s cool, but gets herself in a little bit of trouble where Drake must bail her out all the while collecting artifacts and revealing the story of what happened down there. Read the rest of this entry

Game Review: MLB The Show (PS Vita)


$_35America’s favorite pastime (baseball for you non-Americans) is in full swing with the All-Star break just about a month away.  It’s time for my annual installment of baseball gaming review.  If you have been following our videogame posts, then this is no surprise that I have been modeling a character after myself and helping the struggling Kansas City Royals to World Series victory.  It started with MLB 2K11, MLB 2K12, and MLB 2K13; all on the Xbox 360.  This year, things are a little different.  I tried my luck with MLB 14:  The Show on Playstation Vita.  They say good things come in small packages.  I say, not always.

One of my major complaints about the Xbox titles was there was very little innovation from year to year with 2013 being the worst ever…basically a cut/paste from 2012.  Even the glitches were the same.  It was very disappointing, but since I spent money on it, I took myself and the Royals to the title and called it a day.  I was hoping for more depth on the Vita because I have heard so many good things about The Show.  Though there were many cool things about the game I found some frustration therein. Read the rest of this entry

Console Review: Nintendo 3DS XL


asdaEver since the release of the Nintendo Gameboy I have had a Nintendo handheld in my home (or car, on the plane, train, bus, etc).  And with every release of a new handheld console from Nintendo they find a way to outdo themselves and crush the competition with their device which always has boasted a lot less graphical power than the other options on the market.  But with some kind of gimmick and insanely superior libraries of games, the big N always comes out on top.  After nearly a decade a proud owner of the Nintendo DS Lite I decided it was finally time to upgrade and find out what all the hub-bub about the 3DS was.

Well, first off, from the console’s name you can deduce that the big gimmick of the current handheld is that it displays games in 3D.  What makes this really special is that special 3D glasses are not needed at all.  Something I wished that the movies did as I wear glasses all the time and having to put another pair over my own is quite cumbersome.

The 3D effect is something that really does need to be seen first hand to believe, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s cool as all hell, albeit with some drawbacks.  The 3D effect isn’t really things popping out of the screen, but what it does is give an incredible amount of depth that really sucks you into the game world.  That is, when it is developed for properly.  I own 4 games (Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Super Mario 3D Land, Bravely Default, and Fire Emblem: Awakening) for my 3DS and to see more of what the 3DS library had to offer I downloaded a bunch of demos.  The quality of the 3D effect really varied from game to game with Nintendo first party games really doing amazing things with it and others just giving me an immediate headache (namely Castlevania and Monster Hunter).  On the plus sided, there is a slider on the side of the console where you can adjust the intensity of the 3D effect or turn it off completely.  No game suffers from playing in 2D as the 3D just really adds to the ‘wow factor’.

You also need to keep the console somewhat aligned with your direct eyesight for the 3D to work properly which wasn’t a problem for me until I tried out some action games where I’m hitting buttons like crazy and knocking my 3DS all over the place.  Mario was about the max in action I was able to play without jarring things around, but games like Castlevania became unplayable in 3D mode.

As far as design goes, I opted for the XL model of the 3DS since I’m a 30-something adult with big man hands and deteriorating eyesight.  The design is outstanding for me.  Buttons fall comfortably where my thumbs would land and the console rests in my palms comfortably with its nice rounded edges.  The analog circle pad controls wonderfully for precision controls and the d-pad is extremely responsive.  I really liked how the abxy buttons have a clicky feel to them and the l and r triggers feel good to press.

The best part about the XL model is the larger screens which are 90% larger than the standard 3DS and DS Lite models.  Coming from a DS Lite, these screens are amazing and really help me see my games much better.  Add in the 3D effect, they really help immerse me into the game I’m playing by pretty much consuming all of my focal points real estate.  I love ‘em and really see why one would settle for the other 3DS models unless they really need the smaller form factor.

The weight is also very nice with a tad bit of heft, but not enough to make my wrists ache during longer play sessions.  I also like the matte finish which prevents the scratches that the glossy finishes are notorious for.  And the sound!  Wow, I was really surprised how good the stock sound system in the console is.  At mid volume it produces a rich and detailed level of sound very rarely heard on portable gaming systems and rivals the quality of my earphones.  Which brings me to my only big gripe, the position of the earphone jack.  It’s located on the bottom left of the console and since my earphone input jack is rather large, it really gets in the way of my left palm.  I have a pair of earphones with a smaller jack I’ve been using exclusively with the 3DS, but while not as annoying as the larger one of my better earphones, it still is annoying.  Placing the input port on the top or bottom center would have been the optimum design choice in my opinion.

As far as the available library of games for the 3DS goes, I’m more than impressed.  My first 4 games have left me very happy with their quality and variety.  Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a sequel to my favorite game of all time, A Link to the Past, and is just nothing but pure classic Zelda joy to play; Super Mario 3D Land is one of the best Mario games I’ve played since Mario 64; Fire Emblem: Awakening is hardcore turn-based small encounter strategy at it’s finest; and Bravely Default is just a really badly named Final Fantasy games (seriously, it’s Final Fantasy in everything but name, phoenix downs, 4 crystals, turn based combat, cheeky and cheesy characters, epic quest, it’s all there).  Then there’s a ton of games that are high on my radar all boasting an incredible amount of diversity and critical and public renown.  Plus it’s backwards compatible with my old DS games so I can continue playing my Tetris cart on the crapper, now without fear that the top half of the console is going to finally break off and fall into the toilet.

If I did notice one thing from the demos I played though, is that if it wasn’t designed for the 3DS specifically, it’s not going to be too hot.  Metal Gear 3 3D had some serious frame rate issues and Rayman Origins simply looked like shit compared to its console/PC counterparts.  So if a game is available on another platform, that may be your best choice.

All in all, I’m extremely happy with my new 3DS XL and highly recommend one if you are in the market for a new handheld console.  A strong game library has something to play for all ages (even a nice and super bloody REAL Resident Evil game) and the design makes it optimum for adults with big hands and bad eyesight.

PS, Screenshots of the games on the internet really don’t do much justice to how good the games look.  I recommend going to your local game store and playing one for yourself to see what I mean.