Tag Archives: videogames
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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

5 Aug

“It is said that there is but one thing certain in this world…All that lives must die” Welcome to the Faelands your entry fee is your life. Its time to put another dent in the backlog; time to pop in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning! This game has been sitting on the shelf for a couple months now and was just ripe for the picking, I am happy to say the wait was definitely worth it! Developed by the now Defunct 38 Studios and Big Huge Games; Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a mash up of classic RPG elements with a hack-n-slash brawler element. Released on February 7th in the US, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning brought with it an immense amount of talent; such as the likes of Todd Mcfarlane, R.A Salvatore, and Ian Frazier; all of whom are extremely talented artists in their respected fields. KOA: R does a great job bringing multiple genres together but fails to capitalize on the success of any of them.

Weapon of choice

Weapon of choice

This was played on a PC using the EA Origin Client. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning can be found online for a couple bucks here and there but is still 20-40 dollars at retail. (Who gets the money now that the Studio is gone?)

Visuals: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning takes place in a fantasy world full of lush green environments, and dark caves with vivacious neon fungus. The characters are diverse enough (more on that in a minute) and each area has a distinct feel to it. While Graphically the game cannot stack to a God of War or Uncharted it does an amazing job “painting” this fictitious world and really helps you get immersed in the fantasy. While there are several races in the game most of the bad guys look like carbon copies. After fighting bandits and dark Faes I found myself getting bored with the same five or six enemy types dungeon after dungeon. That said the battles with these repetitious enemies were always enjoyable as spells and attacks lit the screen up with colorful lights and visually stunning animations.

Story: The Story starts out grand, you are a soldier on the field who is killed and you come back to life thanks to the works of a machine called the “Well of Souls” You are then dubbed the “Fateless One” and are deemed with the mission to rid the world of Tuatha; the main enemies of the game. After the first couple missions however the story takes a back seat and then falls off a cliff. So many missions are simply fetch this and find that, that you simply forget about the story and become a messenger or delivery man for the non playable characters of the game. The game does constantly remind you that you are there for a reason though you won’t feel compelled to boot up the game to dig deeper into the Main story. The side quests while slow and repetitive do offer some great mini stories I would highly suggest purchasing the DLC as it adds some neat lore to the mythos.

and on the 7th day

and on the 7th day

Gameplay: This is where the game cranks the dial to 100. Your character has the ability to be a Mage, Warrior, Rouge, or a mix of all three. The game employs a tree mechanic to help with its RPGish elements. The difference in KOA: R is that if you get bored playing one way you can completely reset the tree and change up your play style. While the game doesn’t branch too far off the norm KOA: R’s leveling up system is quite refreshing. If you want to take on the first half of the game as a raging Tank and finish it as a nimble Assassin go for it. Maybe you want to play as a Mage and realize having a sword in your hand is more rewarding than a glowing staff, restart the tree. The possibilities are endless in this world. Movements are fluid and combat is a fun mix of action and flair. The best way to picture the mechanics of the game is to fuse Fable and an MMO like Guild Wars 2 together. While never as fast as a God of War or Slow as an MMO, KOA: R  strikes an amazing balance between fun combat and deep battle systems.

I think were going to need a bigger stick!

I think were going to need a bigger stick!

Test of Time: While the game is not very old it does show some signs of age already. Even with my graphics engine set to high some of the characters looked washed out and there was a bit of screen tearing from time to time. I am sure with the next generation of consoles the character models will look more than a little dated.  I don’t see the combat getting dated anytime soon as every battle was fun and challenging. While certainly not a Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy Seven, I do think this will be a fun game to pick up anytime within the next 2-3 years.

BROS System

Buy: I had so much fun with the combat in this game and even though the story isn’t in the forefront, the side quests and back stories should certainly entertain you for several hours. If my backlog weren’t so full I would absolutely try and 100% the game but in the mean time I hope you will do it for me and post comments below telling us all about your experience.

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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!

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!