Sunday, January 31, 2016

Let's Get Political 2016

Yes, I am going there. Prepare yourself for the "Burn"! (Burn, get it? Bern? xD) ...

It is 2016, and politics in some form or fashion has bled through the internet firewalls, onto social media, through the boob tube, and further onto the tips of the tongues of the worldly citizens. Whether you want to believe it or not the information you think you know to be true is passed down, diluted, reworked, and manipulated from it's origin source. The sad thing is most of us (including myself) are guilty of taking such things at face value. We believe what Tom said. Tom, of course heard if first from Harry, a man who heard it first from Dick. So forth, and so on. We don't stop to question where the so-called facts originated from. We don't consider the actual sources, or their validity. Someone out there is pulling our strings, and we are so blinded by our unwarranted rage, and blame that we fail to see it. They are working our nerves, and guiding our actions through our misguided emotions, and opinions. For all we know the nameless instigator on social media whom we don't know from Adam, or Eve could be debating with us on that party's, or individual's behalf. We just don't know ...

Friday, January 29, 2016

Megadimension Neptunia VII - "Zero Dimension Neptunia Z" (PS4)

Over the years, and through different Playstation consoles the series that is "Hyperdimension Neptunia" has evolved, and improved in various ways. The gameplay, the visuals, and even the soundtrack have been tweaked over time to bring to the gamer the most inviting experience possible. While the mechanics, and gameplay constantly hold strong to the game's root theme the underlying plot that accompanies each narrative heavy tale only changes to fit in with the goings on of the current real world gaming industry. For those of you who have never played a 'Hyperdimension Neptunia" game the series is basically a parody of real world gaming industry topics, and concerns. The fantasy driven tales encompass everything from the console wars to journalist and community based opinions, and even the state of the industry. Often times the characters, which were created specifically for the game's lore are tied in with various consoles, and even operate as nation rulers in their own alternate game industry (Gameindustri). Like the console makers of our industry these characters, or 'CPUs' battle it out with each other for shares, and favor among their fans. Even with this mirrored storytelling logic set firmly in place as Neptunia's foundation the games in the series remain as their own unique experience, and keep things both lighthearted, and fun while doing so. For me, it's the one video game series that has always brought a smile to my face, and laughter to my stressed out life. Having also played Idea Factory's and Compile Heart's latest release of 'Megadimension Neptunia VII' I still find myself pleasantly surprised, and happy with what the developer has produced.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Red Game Without a Great Name (PS VITA)

When it comes to the naming of this game I think iFun4All's approach is rather innovative, and catchy. In fact I caught myself singing out the title of the game earlier today for no apparent reason. I'm crazy like that, lol! As far as the title of the game is concerned the only thing it really describes in regards to the gameplay is the colored theme you'll be seeing throughout your playthrough as well as the fact that the game is void of a proper name. Aside from those two things the game does still stand out on it's own as a uniquely challenging experience with a simple yet effective backstory. It does alright for itself by providing easy to understand content which the gamer can enjoy at home, or on the go. In retrospect it is one of those 2D side-scrolling, and finger swiping mobile types of games which you often times see as indie apps. While it is easy to pick up, and put down mastering it will require some seriously quick reactions, and interactions as you will be facing the task of delivering secret letters via a teleporting mechanical bird in a trap infested steampunk world.

The State of Online Gaming Address

Just like the president giving the presidential "State of the Union" address I'm here to talk to my fellow gaming community supporters about a topic of interest. I'm here to talk about something that concerns us all. That topic of discussion being the state of online gaming. I know that some of you out there in vidya game land want to believe that the servers, and the netcode are our only problems in the competitive gaming scene. If we were to be honest about it, and look deeper though we'd realize that that's not the case. While netcode, and servers could use improvement it's the majority of players who are out to grief the online gaming populous who are mostly at fault for the poor conditions of the online offerings. The trolling is worse than it's ever been, and the cheating even more so. It's gotten to the point where these grief mongers are openly displaying such behaviors without repercussion, because no one is doing anything about the problem. The gaming community is passive about the situation as are game, and console moderators. They think if they ignore it, it'll just go away. The sad truth is that you can only ignore a problem for so long before it becomes so in-your-face that it's undeniable. I think it's best that we all work together to bring this problem into the view of the moderators before it gets to that point. Otherwise we'll be left playing a mess of a game that's not worth playing.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Baseball Riot (PS4)

Taking inspiration from mobile game franchises like "Angry Birds" 10tons released a wacky sports trajectory game which follows closely a has-been baseball player named Gabe who was injured during a season's playoffs. Gabe (the protagonist) ended up taking a baseball to the knee (enter Skyrim joke here), and in doing so became unable to play due to his unfortunate injury. After his mishap in the major leagues, Gabe fell to the wayside as newspaper tabloid material like most famous has-beens do. He was continuously shunned by his critics while his misadventures in the real world were documented in full for readers of said newspaper to gawk at. Following his forced retirement the team which Gabe had played for was ultimately bought out by a chemical corporation known as "Explodz", and was renamed the "Electrolytes" for obvious reasons. As the team became successful a problem emerged regarding the popular Explodz beverage which was consumed by players, and fans alike. This beverage was causing the fans, and players to become enraged for some unknown reason. Stepping up to the plate (pun intended) Gabe decides to take on the role of the hero, and uses his pro league batting skills to bat the bejeezus out of those who were afflicted by the effects of the sinister soda. It is his way of getting back into the league, and reclaiming his rightful place with the team he was once a crucial part of. Whether, or not he achieves this goal is up to you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gemini: Heroes Reborn (Xbox One)

So ... I had honestly never heard of this game until Imperative Entertainment's PR contacted me about doing a review of it. I didn't have a clue as to what the game was about beyond what I saw in the trailer, which I viewed prior to accepting the assignment. I didn't know that it was tied to the "Heroes" series, or the newly introduced "Heroes Reborn" series. After figuring this out though it did peak my interest quite a bit as I was a fan of "Heroes" back when it was popular, and in the headline news. I was actually curious to see how a game modeled after a TV series would pan out since such film to game translations often times do not bode well with the gaming community. We all know that such games tend to be not all that great, and that movie adaptations outside of games like the LEGO re-imaginings are usually a lost cause in the eyes of gamers.

I definitely think Imperative Entertainment, and the studio known as Phosphor Games were bold in taking on this game project, because of the legacy tied to said gaming genre and the legacy of the TV series itself. While I did encounter some unfavorable things in my playthrough, and several bugs along the way "Gemini: Heroes Reborn" did actually do alright for itself, in the "indie" sense regardless of my concerns. Using the Unreal Engine 4 as it's graphics processor really helped to bring the fantasy world, and the characters therein to life, if only visually. Even the gameplay was functional enough to a point to enjoy. At the same time though the rushed plot, and poorly applied character context building kind of hurt the mostly impressive gameplay. Having spoken dialogue, and onscreen text that was so to the point, and without proper storytelling elements in place really did the game a huge disservice. In the end it could have been better than it was, but wasn't too terribly bad for an indie game featured on modern-day consoles. Before I get too far ahead of myself though let me explain the game's premise to you ...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Google+ Subscribers, Twitter Followers & Page Views

It is 2016, and I'm still getting turned down by the occasional misguided indie game developer. For some reason they think the Google+ subscriber widget that is on this blog reflects my total audience count, and traffic sources. This couldn't be further from the truth. What developers, publishers, studio & PR need to understand when entertaining one of my review offers is that the Google+ widget only reflects the Google+ subscriber count. Not my blog's following. Here at this blog I get traffic from multiple sources, one being that of my Google+ page which houses all of my reviews, and blog posts. While that is substantial enough in the way of page views you have to also factor in my Twitter follower count which has friends, and followers who see and click on every review link that I share there. Currently I'm over 3,000 in Twitter followers which is definitely not a low number. It may not be on par with celebrities, and other famous persons of interest, but if you do the math and add up the links that are read and shared by said followers things begin to multiply. Things add up. I was not lying when I said that my Google+ page is nearing the 3 million view mark. That in itself is traffic worth mentioning as Google+ only contains post from this blog. Furthermore other traffic sources that contribute to my viewer reach include various other journalist sites who have linked to my blog as well as my Youtube channel which catches a lot of attention for what I provide there.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Zen Pinball 2 - Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PS4)

Before I get into the thick of this review I thought I'd be courteous, and let you know that I don't intend on leaking any movie spoilers. From time to time I may reference characters, but at this point we pretty much know of all the main role-players. For those of you who are unaware, and who have not yet bought this latest Zen Pinball 2 DLC pack I think you'll be pleased to learn that there are two tables instead of the one previewed table that was shown in the teaser trailer. It is the usual packaged deal in that you'll be forking over $4.99 in PSN credit for the DLC instead of the cheaper price for the individual tables. Single tables usually cost $2.99 each. In comparison of the two DLC types I think there is a bit of a discount with this set's pricing. The question that remains though is if it's worth having at all?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The State of Destiny 2016

I've been outspoken about Destiny since it's launch. Sometimes I've praised it, and other times I've outright bashed it because of it's growing laundry list of problems. Even with it's major downsides though I continue to play the game with friends, and admittedly so. I liken said experience to beating my head against a brick wall, but finding euphoria in the trauma induced dizziness afterwards. It's just one of those things in life, I suppose ...

Seeing as it's 2016 I figured in my spare time between reviews that I'd try to breakdown my thoughts on what Destiny has become, and what needs to be done in order to revive fan's faith in the game/series. I definitely have a lot to say, and honestly a lot of it is going to put the game in the negative spotlight. At the same time though I want you to understand that I don't want to see the game fail. I don't want to see it in the state of mismanagement that it's in. I'm hoping the team at Bungie can get it together enough to do what needs to be done in order to reverse the damage that Destiny's current build has done to the morale of those who have invested so wholly in it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Amplitude (PS4)

From the creative minds at Harmonix comes a game that is all about sensory overload. This game of which I speak is actually a remake of a cult classic of the same namesake. It is known as, "Amplitude". Amplitude, at base level is a game that utilizes similar mechanics such as those which are tied to games like 'Rock Band 4', and Disney's "Fantasia: Music Evolved". By this I mean you will be hitting targets via specific button presses in time with songs that are each associated with the game's included soundtrack. As far as a story goes Amplitude does include it's own underlying plot about nano-technology packaged in a tutorial style campaign mode, and in providing such content said story implies the use of pseudo-surgery on the human psyche within a particular patient. The game itself combines trance-like music from various artists, mixes it with some intense psychedelic visuals, and adheres it to the rhythm style gameplay that comes with the interactive music experience. Along with the challenging, and musically driven gameplay presentation also comes high scoring opportunities tied to an online leaderboard, and a separate mode of play known as "Quickplay". For those of you looking to best your friends with noteworthy top scores you'll find that, that is also an option if you choose to buy the game.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Troubling Tales From GameStop

Over the years I've become a frequent shopper at the local GameStop. Compared to most GameStop shops in the state the one nearest to me is actually quite large, and houses more merchandise than most. I go to it mostly out of convenience since it is a simple 15 minute drive from my house. Having to pay for games to be shipped to my house, and risking them coming in possibly damaged, or stolen is not the ideal scenario for a collector like me. While GameStop does have it's good side it also harbors an evil side built upon greed, mismanagement, and customer service that is either good or bad depending on who's working that day. Through the many shopping experiences that I've had at said GameStop I've had a few instances/encounters that made me rage inside, and nearly outwardly so. I actually spoke out against some things openly, and even took to the surveys, and online to voice my complaints in the past. Among said instances I've had pre-order bonuses nearly denied, and have even encountered employees (doing their job) trying to sell me a used game as new with a new price slapped on it. The latter happened to me again today, and that's what I'll be talking about in this very article ...

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The "OtakuDante's Gaming Inferno" Youtube Channel

Unbeknownst to a lot of you I've had a Youtube channel since mid 2009. It started off with some modest home videos of me playing games (which are now lost to history), and slowly evolved into replay captured features when the option to provide such content became available to me. I did provide some commentaries along the way, but mostly stuck to gameplay videos without my own voice or myself included. I'm honestly not the best commentator, and often times stutter, say "Uhm ...", or get lost with what I'm trying to relay to my viewers. I wanted my commentary inclusive videos to be genuinely good, and non-scripted, but I've yet to release a totally coherent one. Despite these shortcomings I've made the most of my channel, and have gained over 200 followers in the process. I continue to offer replays from various games, and even include upcoming trailers when I feel like it. On the rare occasion you might also find an unboxing video of a new game with my thoughts on said product included.

Friday, January 1, 2016

HYPER VOID is Coming to Xbox One January 6th!!!

Earlier in 2015 I had the privilege to review one of the year's more interesting shmups (shoot'em ups). It was a unique game developed by indie studio, "IN|Framez Technology Corp". The title of said game was "Hyper Void". What "Hyper Void" offered the gamer was new-gen quality visuals, and a complimentary soundtrack bundled together with a retro style of 3D oriented gameplay which goes back to the earlier years of arcade experiences. The game was filled with vibrant colors, bullet hell madness, and even bosses to beat as you traversed the unique universe within. I personally ended up on the fence about the game due to the lack of replay value, but did find some good points to it. Being a shmup fan the gameplay definitely drew me in, but the lack of extra replay worthy features made it a bit of a disappointment. Luckily you guys, and gals (who own an Xbox One) will be able to give the game a proper try come January 6th, and with a new leaderboard feature in place. This new addition to the already interesting gameplay improves on one of the bigger faults I found with the overall experience, and thankfully so. I definitely suggest giving it a chance when it hits the Xbox Live store if you have the holiday cash to spare. In case you want to catch up on my original PS4 review I'll leave that here for reference purposes.