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.
Haven’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.
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).
When 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
America’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
Ever 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.
I was never one to truly appreciate a handheld gaming system. I tried the Nintendo Gameboy and that was short-lived. I tried the Sony PSP and that was also short-lived. I guess I have been spoiled by loud, heavy consoles and the power contained therein displayed on a large HD screen. But, here I am trying another handheld system, this time the Sony Playstation Vita. I do have a reason though. Due to pending work-related requirements overseas, I felt it best to leave my console and all its accessories at home with the kiddies and opt for something more portable, something I can use on a plane and pretty much any time I want. After (some) extensive research I felt the Vita was best for me. It arrived in the mail recently, here are my thoughts on what it has to offer and its portable power.
Just in-time for your preferred end-of-year holiday festivities, the makers of Call of Duty released its 10th installment in the series, Call of Duty: Ghosts, the sixth with Infinity Ward. Instead of continuing on with the Modern Warfare or Black Ops games, Ghosts introduces a less complicated story line which is nice considering the myriad of plot twists, locations, and playable characters from other games. You still get some of that with Ghosts, but it’s far less complicated to follow. As you would expect, the 2013 version has much of the same mechanics and same terror-infused storyline, but there are some new tweaks.
2013 has been one hell of a great year for gamers. New consoles (which I probably won’t buy for quite some time, long live the PC master race!), the continued rise of independent games, and a ton of AAA publishers releasing quality titles that broke ground in what can and should be done in big budget games. Seriously, right now is such a great time to be a gamer. Of all the great games I played this year, the following ten stood above the rest not only in quality, but also in creativity, refinement of their respective genres, or just were flat-out fun. A couple of entries on this list were games released during 2012, but since I wasn’t able to get into them until 2013 I’m qualifying them for my list. So, enjoy reading and let me know what were some of your favorite games that you played this year.
Has something happened to you that when the event was over you thought to yourself that you’ll never get that time back? You know what I mean, like when you spend 3 hours stuck in traffic or had to sit in a meeting discussing the previous meeting and plan agenda for the next meeting. You think how you could have better spent your time and that those hours are lost forever in a black hole pit of nothingness. I think it happens to all of us at one point or another and sometimes way too often. If you have ever done the Four Lenses personality assessment, I will say that my primary color is “Green” which means I can’t stand to have my time wasted. Having said that, let me tell you about this piece of shit game called Saints Row IV.
I picked up Driver: San Francisco for my kids. They caught wind of it somewhere and wanted to give it a try. I do remember playing the very first “Driver” game and thought they might dig it based on my past experience…what kid doesn’t like fast driving games? I had no real interest in trying the game and when I saw my son leap (like Sam Beckett) out of his car and into another one actually becoming that driver, I thought the franchise lost it. Driver: San Francisco was nothing like I remember the old classic from 1999. Then, I decided to give it a try and I realized the leaping from car to car was not only innovative, but integral to the story line…though it is silly, it worked. Let me tell you about it.
Artyom is back a year after the events surrounding Metro 2033…the activation of the D6 silo and the ensuing missile attack on the Dark Ones. As a result, Artyom is promoted to Ranger. Controlling D6 has become a primary concern as it has been discovered there are enough resources to sustain the remaining population for a lifetime. It comes to Artyom’s attention that one Dark One has survived the attack and instead of setting out to finish the job, Artyom is led to believe that the remaining Dark One is the key to the future. Thus, the quest to find the Dark One again places Artyom in both above ground and in the Moscow Metro combating not only mutants, but other rival human factions determined to seize the rumored D6 stockpile of sustenance. Seems easy, but Artyom is faced with conflicting orders. 1 – Artyom’s commanding officer Colonel Miller sends him to find the Dark One and kill it and 2 – Kahn the mystic nomad advises to make peace with it because it is the key to the future. And so the adventure begins. Decisions will have to be made.