Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Second Look At Zen Studio's "Avengers: Age of Ultron"

I had thought about doing the entire "Avengers: Age of Ultron" review over after revisiting the table today. I noticed a lot of things that I did not include as well as some things that were not exactly true to how I feel about the table currently. For whatever reason I had decided to do the review entirely from memory, and in my mind's eye the recollection of the table was poorly pictured. After revisiting the table this afternoon my thoughts were, "WTF was I thinking!?". I was literally baffled at how half-assed my former review was. There were some details I had initially wanted to mention that were left out due to my word artistry, and my approach to typing up the review. Unknown to most of you I approach reviews with a sort of artists' mentality. I manipulate the words like paint to make the review more understandable, and well spoken. It's not that I try to baffle you with BS, or dazzle you with brilliance. It's more so that I aim to make the reviews more sensible in a professional writers sort of way, and more digestible on a gamers'/readers' level. Instead of rehashing the table details, and the spoiler free intro paragraph of my first review I think it's best that I simply use this additional article to go over missed details, and give you a more accurate opinion based on my more recent findings. It is only fair to Zen Studios that I give it my all, and do so accurately.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Project Root (PS4/PS VITA)

The guys, and gals over at 'Reverb Triple XP', and 'OPQAM' bring to us a RAIDEN style (Top-Down) free-roam shmup that is of a mixed presentation. By mixed presentation I mean that "Project Root" only partially incorporates traditional shmup style scoring, and gameplay mechanics. It also does so with a story driven plot about a war for resources, and freedom from oppression as it's main focus. Basically, as a rebel pilot of the F72-Zonda you are presented with a mission to take down various Prometheus Corporation targets, and defenses in an effort to stop their greed ridden expansion, and stock hold of energy resources. Your weaponry for the assault comes in the form of air, and ground projectiles as well as special weapon power-ups that help to clear enemies even more quickly. Utilizing all available options of attack properly for the on ground, and in the air threats is what's going to mean the difference between failure, and victory.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Zen Pinball 2 - "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (PS3/PS4/PS VITA)

Throughout the Marvel timeline of events there have been numerous world changing conflicts. Some were so astronomical in delivery that they altered the Marvel universe forever, and others were so petty that the could best be described as quarrels amongst heroes, and heroines. When it comes to the "Age of Ultron" extinction event though a seemingly harmless creation grows inevitably difficult stop. Heroes come to the rescue only to realize that their present day fight for the sake of humankind is futile, and that a trip into an alternate version of their reality will be required to stop the villainous A.I. construct known as Ultron. Of course in the story arc mistakes are made, lives are lost, and eventually the reality of the Marvel universe's predicament is made known. Even though the damage is done at the hands of Earth's mightiest heroes, "The Avengers", and their comrades in arms they together try to sort out the sordid mess that they all have contributed to. For a little "FYI" info you'll find that the original story arc was done up in 2013 by 'Brian Michael Bendis', and was a 10 issue mini-series about the return of Ultron which was followed up by even more in-depth spin-offs involving multiple characters from the Marvel universe.

Archie vs Predator #1 - "Gamestop Exclusive Variant"

If you've not been visiting Gamestop's Power-up Rewards page for the past several months you'll have missed out on several comic book exclusives that were limited run variants. I'm talking about printed copies only in the low thousands. There have been everything from Marvel to DC comics, and now Dark Horse comics. The comic books will usually cost you an easily affordable 8,000 reward points (if you shop at Gamestop frequently), and will arrive at your doorstep in near mint, if not mint condition via a bag sandwiched between two cardboard boards. Speaking of which I finally got my '1 in 2,000' Gamestop variant today. I even snapped a photo of it's cover art for you! Yay!

Mortal Kombat X - "A Week In"

Before I get started on my review work I thought I'd catch you guys, and gals up on my bug findings within MKX. Some I've mentioned before, and others are new to the growing list of problems plaguing MKX. When it comes to the offline offerings in MKX there's a lot that's not right. A heck of a lot. The faction war page, for example will more often than not give you a server error message when trying to access it. On top of that sometimes the faction challenges will not appear in the listing making it anyone's guess as to what it is you are supposed to be pulling off in order to get the WP (War Points) for your faction. Other issues tied to the offline portion of MKX include lag, the inability to perform X-Rays at times, and even performed X-Rays that end up triggering the opponents X-Rays upon you. Another thing that is tied to both the offline, and online scenarios is the faction war percentages. There is definitely something shady going on behind the scenes as the percentages are dropping for no apparent reason, and are being distributed more evenly in what looks like an attempt by the developer to make things seem fair. It is anything, but fair though.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Art for April - "Terror Sprite"

It has been a while since I shared any of my own art with my readers. The truth is I don't draw as often as I once did, and have only recently picked up pen & paper to make some creations of my own. Before I share this latest little horror/fantasy creature though I'd like to give you a little background on my talents as an artist ... Like most aspiring artists I did have had an influence in my life, growing up. My biological mother was an artist, and nurtured my creativity from behind-the-scenes after I was adopted at a young age, and further on as I grew up out of her care. In school, particularly the middle school, and high school years I began to get serious about my talents, and took some art classes to better understand the field of art. Despite learning the basics, and being taught that art is governed by guidelines I went astray, and created my own unique style. This style, for the most part included a more dark, and sinister tone filled with Hellraiser-like monstrosities. Keep in mind though that I hadn't watched a single Hellraiser film until recently. My hellish creations were definitely my own in that sense. I particularly enjoyed dabbling in pen & ink with added red ink highlights for the blood, and gore effects. One subject that really captured my attention, and inspired me throughout my artistic growth was the female body. I drew a lot of female creatures, and characters leaving the male figure to be my weak point in the field of anatomy ...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Shovel Knight (PS3/PS4/PS VITA)

Imagine, if you will a game that takes everything that was great in the 8-Bit glory days including the chiptune music, the 8-Bit 2D graphics, and the puzzle platforming greatness from a few well known series. Put it all together in a virtual rock tumbler, and out pours "Shovel Knight". This game, which obviously takes tribute material from games like 'Castlevania', 'Mega Man', The Legend of Zelda II: A Link to the Past', and 'Super Mario Bros. 3' presents it's gameplay in an innovative yet comparative new way. You'll find in place a map not unlike the one in 'Super Mario Bros. 3', towns with vendors like those found in 'Legend of Zelda II', and platforming level designs that are a mixture of the 'Castlevania' series, and the 'Mega Man' series combined. Outside of all of those similarities lies a simple yet engaging story that features a protagonist known simply as, "Shovel Knight'. After an adventuring mishap with his female companion, 'Shield Knight' this treasure hunter of sorts finds himself at a crossroads of choices that is abruptly interrupted by the invasion of an Enchantress, and her knights of the "Order of no quarter". Once again, as the hero of his own tale the valiant knight takes up his trusty shovel, and sets out on an adventure of a lifetime in order to find out what happened to his partner while dealing with the threat of his newly found adversaries.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MTG Legacy Collection - Chandra Nalaar (FUNKO)

Funko toys have been super busy branching out, and capturing various video game, film, and book related characters with their noteworthy toy molds. This ever growing list of quality toys includes, but is not limited to "The Ghostbusters", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Diablo", and "Magic the Gathering" amongst many others. It's hard to keep up with all that's offered, but there is definitely a lot to choose from in regards to standard, and limited edition variations. As for me I've picked up a figure here, and there that interest me. I've bought Batman POP! Vinyls, Attack on Titan POP! Vinyls, and even have some Hatsune Miku POP! Vinyls. Upon seeing the MTG Funko POPs, and their action figure spin-offs in the Funko Legacy Collection though I knew I eventually wanted to pick up some up for my growing collection as that is collectible that greatly accents a game I love. For those of you who do not know of the "Legacy Collection" figures they are basically Funko's answer to the McFarlane line of toys. They are well crafted, and usually sport a decent paint job. While the figures don't span as many subjects, or characters as McFarlane's has Funko is building upon what they have to offer, and will no doubt be a mainstream action figure brand in no time. Currently I know of the "Game of Thrones" figures, and the "Magic the Gathering" series which features well known Planeswalkers.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Let's Talk - "Mortal Kombat X"

I had a lot of hopes riding on the release of 'Mortal Kombat X'. I hoped that it's new character variation system would be a blessing to the fighting game genre, and I hoped that it would revive my faith in the gaming genre that I grew up loving. Unfortunately as I poured hours of time into back to back playthroughs experiencing all that the game had to offer it became evident that MKX was to be another casualty in the growing trend of development half-assery. Everything from the story, to the actual kombat in the offline, and online scenarios suffered a fate worse than death. It was obvious that despite the effort put forth to push the graphics, and to make the variation system work that the game was lacking in so many ways. The roster, for one was so unbalanced with characters doing different amounts of damage per attacks, and throws that it made for a less than fair fight. That coupled with the button input delays in both the offline, and online environments only acted to add salt to the growing wound.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Omega Quintet (PS4)

When I first caught word of this PS4 exclusive I was truly excited. It marked the first time an Idea Factory Intl./Compile Heart game would be coming to new-gen consoles, specifically the PS4. I immediately looked up the game's trailer to see what it was about, and the intro sequence that was shown really captured my attention. I liked the darker appearance of the enemies, and the unique concept that girls with pop idol talents would be the heroines to take on the ominous threat. At the time I had no idea how things would play out regarding the story, and battle, but once I got my hands on a review copy of the game It all began to make sense, in a wacky RPG sort of way.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daredevil "Impressions" (NETFLIX)

I'll never understand all the hate for the previous Daredevil movie. Outside of the Bullseye actor acting, and looking like a human penis, and the boy actor for Matt Murdock not acting realistically according to his part I thought it was a damn fine Daredevil movie. What also gets me, after watching episode one of the Netflix exclusive series is that the beginning, while different in slight ways mimics a lot of what the producer of the previous movie was going for in his film. The hyper senses of Daredevil were revisited through slightly similar ways, and the younger Matt Murdock lost his sight in a very similar manner as shown in the movie. Even the boy actor for the new series looked, and acted as unrealistically as that of the young version of Matt Murdock shown in the Ben Affleck inclusive movie. The only real differences I noticed were the more "televised" feel of the series, and the focus on a different crime syndicate. Even that was half-hearted in delivery. If I were being totally, 100% honest, I'd say that if the first episode is of any indication of how the rest of the series will play out it is an utter disappointment. I just don't get the hype about it. I don't.

Weekend Blog Log (April 11, 2015)

I awoke this bright, and sunny Saturday morning more sleepy than I was the night before. I attribute this growing tiredness to the relentless nightmares, and tossing and turning that goes on each, and every night. I can't remember the last time I slept well. In fact the only time I can really get any rest is if I take a nap during the day, but I usually do not do that, because there's so much I want to get done. I am a zombie folks, but I sojourn on ... Once I forced myself out of bed I opted to go about my usual morning routine by visiting Youtube to see what my subscriptions had in store. Sadly, the only interesting video I found (if you can call it that) was from the 'New Sensations' porn channel that showcased a group of cliche Californian porn actresses (Blown up lips, botox, fakeness to the extreme ...) that were all hyped about getting screwed by a BBC. If you don't know what a BBC is you're gonna have to look that up on your own time. This is a gaming blog, after all ...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Aaru's Awakening "Impressions" (PS4)

While I was waiting on 'Omega Quintet' to download I figured I'd give 'Aaru's Awakening' a sample, and post my impressions of the findings for you guys. For those of you who are unaware of it this indie exclusive was released for free download to PS+ subscribers on Tuesday of this week. Lumenox Studio, for some reason decided to release it in a similar way as Roll7 did for the new OlliOlli2 game. I figure it has something to do with them getting paid upfront by Sony for each download instead of relying on PSN customers to actually pay for the game. While that's a sad way to go about it I know that not many gamers are willing to take a chance on indies, especially at a higher marked price. In that sense it may very well have been a smart business decision by Lumenox. As far as the game goes you'll find that the graphic art style, and the competitive speed run based gameplay is this title's shining features. Outside of that the story intro which was told by a child voice actor/actress did little to get me hyped for the experience ahead. Their monotonous tone throughout the narrative, made the story being told forgettable, and dull.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What Nintendo's Next Console Needs

After watching ReviewTechUSA's take on the reasons behind the WiiU's failure I felt inspired to discuss what I think the next Nintendo console needs in order to triumph, and regain a viable place amongst new-gen offerings. This will be an opinion piece, but a well thought out opinion piece nonetheless. Feel free to agree, or disagree if you like. That is your right ... First, and foremost I want to stress the fact that graphics matter. They've always mattered, and have been a relevant part to the progression of the at home, or on-the-go gaming experience. Gaming is about innovation, and as such you have to adapt, and evolve to the current industry offerings while moving forward with what your development team has to offer. This includes everything from the before mentioned graphics to the game library, and even the console hardware. I think in these past two generations Nintendo has stumbled quite a bit in those departments ...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Weekend Blog Log (Apr. 2015)

Normally I like to keep this blog strictly about gaming reviews, and game related news. It keeps out the personal clutter, and makes the blog the gaming, and hobby focal point that I aim for it to be. This Saturday, the Saturday before Easter though I figured I'd get on a more personal level with you guys, and gals. It'll probably be a lot of incoherent rambling, but I figure it's not going to hurt anything. So ... first off I want to talk about the interview between Angry Joe, and Ed Boon. It was by far one of the most revealing MKX interviews yet, because Joe dared to ask questions that others really hadn't touched base on. Some of the answers to those said questions sounded cool while others fell into a more concerning category. If you've stayed tuned to this blog you'll know I've had some concerns of my own about MKX, and hearing some of what Ed had to say only pushed those worries further.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rack N Ruin (PS4)

Demonic underlings always seem to catch flak from their demon lord bosses, and they never really amount to anything no matter how hard they try to please their master. Prime examples of this evil doer hierarchy can be found in NISA's Disgaea series, and in the "Legend" movie which featured a younger Tom Cruise. In a similar fashion as those examples we find yet another demon underling named 'Rack' within the recent release of LifeSpark's "Rack N Ruin". A demon underling who just can't seem to do what he's told. He turns planets into asteroid fields on routine outings, and in doing so doesn't spread the universal darkness that the demon lord, 'Ruin' is aiming for. As a punishment for his disobedience Rack is sent to Galia in a supposed last chance opportunity to prove his worth, and is ordered to give the people of the planet a proper taste of the dark side lest he come to know true punishment by his otherworldly boss. Upon the arrival of his destination Rack finds a former slain demon underling named 'Nihil' who tries to warn him that he was setup to die. After hearing the disturbing news from the spirited demon Rack decides reluctantly to join his newly found ally if only for argument's sake. The unlikely team of Rack, and Nihil journey together through Galia wreaking havoc, and inflicting chaos upon the inhabitants of the planet as they join the ranks of other fallen demon underlings in order to turn the tide, and best their boss.