Tag Archives: Podcast

Opinion Piece: Yellow Journalism

28 Jun

So this is my first opinion piece and quite a departure from the typical LtapGamer review. I want to talk about hype and how we can so quickly get lost in it. Let us take a step back in time to 1898 to the spark of the Spanish-American war. While not the first use of hyperbole or exaggerated details in my opinion it was the first time that people were allowed to post something without thought or without credence; I am of course talking about Yellow Journalism or Yellow Press. This form of media has evolved over time and with the invention of social media one man or woman’s word becomes law or fact. But what does Yellow Journalism have to do with Game Reviews or Games Journalism? The fact is that the first review of a game with mass hype typically sets the trend.

We see this all the time a game comes out with mass hype from some well-known or indie developer and journalist want to sell a product. While there is nothing wrong with the idea of being a promoter for the less informed or the financially dependent; video game scores are worth their weight in gold.

Game of the Year

Game of the Year

I want to talk about a Zombie game that has recently come out and received tons of praise, some rightfully so but some that seem to be a bit of a stretch.

Last year Telltale games released a point and click adventure game called The Walking Dead. This game was episodic (short bits of the game were released every couple of months) and had cel-shaded graphics. From that sentence alone you would not assume much of the game but many journalists clung to the game claiming the story and idea of choosing who gets to live and die caused a great amount of tension. They shouted that this is a different experience and no two players would feel the same way along this five episode adventure. This game was heralded as the “Game of the Year”, “an innovation in gaming”, so on and so forth. Yet no one talked about its archaic nature or shoddy movement and buggy camera controls; and if they did it was mildly glazed over. Yet fans ran to the game purchasing the game digitally on almost every platform including iOS and Playstation Vita, but what made it so special? It was different? How? Compared to what? As I started thinking about the game more and talking to more and more people our stories about the game weren’t all that different, in fact many of us had the exact same ending or series of events. Games like the Walking Dead have been around for decades and we all grew away from them over the years. So why now, why did so many people claim it was the game of the year?

The answer is simple; we wanted to be a part of the conversation. Just like back in the Spanish-American War we wanted something to talk about with friends and family members that didn’t involve the everyday norm. In the gaming world the everyday norm now is Call of Duty or Halo, so when something so “different” came around we got lost in it, we were subsumed by it. We immediately agreed with the first person who told us this was the pinnacle of gaming. Is the Walking Dead a bad game? Absolutely not I enjoyed my experience with it but I would never consider it Game of the Year Nominee. So I hope that when this year roles around and you are with your friends or loved ones picking your next game or wondering what will appear at the VGAs you don’t get lost in the hype and you do your research. Vote with your wallets, use your head, and game on!

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DarkSiders

10 May

Being a Playstation Plus member has its benefits. For those unaware of PS+ its Sony’s paid subscription service for its online service. One of the perks of being a Plus member is access to the instant game collection; Sony’s Dynamic (ever-changing) library of games which members can download for free. I’ve been a member for about a year now and I can easily say that $50 dollars a year is an absolute steal for the amount of deals and hours of gaming I get for joining this premium service. So why am I blabbing on and on about this service? My review today leads us to Darksiders a game that I would probably never have played had it not been for PS+

Darksiders was developed by now defunct Vigil Games in production with the now defunct THQ…do you see where I am going with this? Released in North America on January 5th, 2010 Darksiders was released on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. I read the so-so reviews and given my large backlog of games I could never bring myself to paying for a game that wasn’t in most journalists top ten. While the game certainly had its low moments I had a ton of fun playing this game. Lets take a trip through hell while I tell the tale of the four horsemen!

Black Stallion

Black Stallion

This game was played on a PS3 and can be found for less than 20 USD at most retailers.

This means WAR

This means WAR

Visuals: Darksiders looks like your standard open world 3-d action adventure game. While nothing stands out the levels vary enough that you never get bored with the game. Darksiders has a dark ascetic and plays well with the whole bright heaven and dark hell concepts. One of my favorite scenes in the game is when War the protagonist/anti-hero is riding through the desert fighting several worm enemies; this is one point in the game where you truly feel immersed in the experience and forget that you are playing a video game. The enemies don’t have a lot of variety  but the bosses look and feel different and add another level of visual fidelity with their bright spots and enormous size and detail.

Story: You play as War one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse trying to keep the balance between Heaven and Hell. You start out with your full arsenal at your disposal; Huge sword, Chain, Spells, and Demonic shape shifting form. Just like Metroid after the first couple minutes of the game War losses everything; while I wont get into details of who and why, lets just say War has to clear his name one bloody battle at a time. You are joined by the Watcher early in the game who is voiced by Mark Hamill  who does an amazing job as the dark and cunning watch dog for War. The actual story is ho-hum but the mythology and characters were interesting and a big draw for me.

Gameplay: Darksiders can easily be considered the Jack of All Trades and the Master of none. On minute you feel like you are playing the Legend of Zelda and the next you are Kratos the God of War slashing and dicing enemies left and right. The game does a great job incorporating game concepts like Mini-bosses, Backtracking, Hack-n-Slash and so on from other games, but they never work to the level of perfection that they should. I struggled quite a bit from the jump mechanics in this game; the timing seemed off when trying to jump from one ledge to another, or chaining combos. Jumping aside I never got stuck in my dozen or so hours in the game. The camera was never a big issue, and the animations were fluid; you fell because you fell, no other reason.

Looks like Link grew up!

Looks like Link grew up!

Test of Time: Darksiders plays great three years later. Due to the source material being relevant today with so many remakes and sequels of other games the dungeons and battles don’t feel dated just familiar. My suggestion for getting the most out of Darksiders is to pick it up after you have played a game like Final Fantasy or Rock Band. It’s a good game but if you just finished playing the latest God of War or Legend of Zelda it won’t stack up.

I am excited to play the sequel and hope that the new developer Nordic Games can give us the threequel fans deserve.

BROS: If you can get it under 20 bucks no reason not to buy this game, I don’t know where the funds would go at this point but you will get a dozen plus hours of enjoyment from this game and it will get you more excited about the sequel and any other adventures the horsemen may have down the line!

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days

9 Apr

Let me start off by saying Hi! Sorry I have been away for so long but some recent changes in my life created a creative block. 2013 seems to be shaping up and with it I thought; why not bring back the LTAP; better late than never I suppose. I wish I was coming back on a positive note, alas the game I most recently played is one literally, for the dogs.

Released on August 17th 2010 and developed by IO interactive the studio behind the hitman games KAL2 seemed to be a game built for me; a short 3rd person shooter with a grand story and short play clock. I purchased this game in late 2010 and played it for the first time last week on my PC.

Waddaya Playin

Waddaya Playin

This game was played on a desktop and was purchased via steam for 4.99. You can find the game in the bargain bin at most Electronic stores.

Two guys just going out for a bite

Two guys just going out for a bite

VISUALS: Weird, weird, weird. So the game is played in the 3rd person and it appears that a camera man is following you throughout the roads of Shanghai; yet when a chapter is over the Camera man mysteriously disappears. This can be a bit jarring and caused me to have a couple “WTF” moments. Another issue I had with this 1980’s camera approach was intense screen tearing; intentional screen tearing, like when a finger print would get on the film of a cassette.  While I see what they were going for, the bands across the screen were nothing more than a cheap trick that scared me for a second as I thought my monitor was broken. The graphics were subpar with characters looking fairly similar and all the locations being some variation of wet and grey.

STORY: You are playing as Kane and Lynch two buddies who happen to be guns for hire. The story starts with them meeting in Shanghai and one small mishap spirals into a four hour bullet slog. There are ups and downs in pace but the story does nothing except break up the gun fights. While this game does add a sense of tension and a chapter that was incredibly gruesome  I feel the friendship mentality could have been tapped into a little more especially at the end a la Army of two. The end of this game was an absolute mess by the way (No Spoilers) but my word did it just fade to black.

GAMEPLAY: This is where the game truly fell apart for me. For a 3rd person shooter that is supposed to be a duck and cover game the cover mechanic was abysmal. Sometimes my character would not even stick to a wall or he would read the wrong wall and run across the level. The other aspect of the game the “shooter” aspect was just as appalling. Machine guns were worthless in this game as it almost appeared that my bullets were flying backwards, Head shots did not count unless you were using a sniper, and Shotguns have the range of Rocket Launchers. I could excuse one of the mechanics but not both. As stated above the Camera is also a huge issue here as it gives you this faux 2nd person view for a 3rd person shooter. There were times where I simply could not see anyone but I was getting ripped to shreds.

The Dog Days are over

The Dog Days are over

TEST OF TIME: NOPE! This game should not be played end of story. It was less than 4 hours long and it was poorly executed on all levels.

BROS: SKIP! Do not walk, RUN!

This game can be found for a couple bucks on Steam and Amazon but again; No means No. Support the Developer and buy another game from them just not this one!

A Look Forward

15 Jan

Hello everyone, thank you for coming and checking out Ltapgamer every week for reviews of “vintage” games. It has been a fun and interesting couple of months and I wanted to thank everyone for their comments and give you some insight on what to look forward to in 2013.

There are a couple games in the back

There are a couple games in the back

In the Month of January I hope to get a podcast up that will center around news and discussing some older games. The Podcast will be all encompassing talking briefly about a game from each system (Xbox 360, PS3, Vita, DS, WiiU, and PC) With the inaugural Podcast you will also get some insight on how I came to pick the games that have been on the site and maybe hint at some other games in the future.

DJ LTAPGamer in the Mix

DJ LTAPGamer in the Mix

A new addition to the site within the next few weeks will be a Tuesday post for Trilogies. We will take a look at some of the biggest Trilogies to have graced our systems and talk about one series a month. It will be a fun piece that I will be working on from the beginning of the month to the end of the month to ensure quality. On the other side of the spectrum; something I believe the site has been missing is fun trailers. I will be looking into adding clips for classic games that we discuss to spark interest in older games and give everyone something to watch.

Trilogies in bound

Trilogies in bound

I am tweaking the review system as with any hobby/dream all the pieces didn’t fall into place for the BROS System.

I cannot thank you all enough for your comments and I look forward to a great 2013

Ltapgamer