Why Didn't I play Crackdown 2 years ago!?

crackdown 2 - gameplayCrackdown 2 came out in July 2010 from Ruffian Games and Microsoft Game Studios and I never bought it. I played Crackdown and enjoyed it but didn’t feel a second game would offer me much more. Recently, I started to feel there was nothing new I wanted to buy or replay. So, while visiting a friend I raided his collection of games and found Crackdown 2.
The original game was about being a Peacekeeper in a city overrun with factions of gangs and violence. Depending on which area you were in, you’d have to fight a different gang. Through a series of missions and collectible power-ups you grown in strength, speed, agility, and other skills. Eventually you can leap tall buildings in a single bound and throw cars like they’re dishware. It’s awesome and fun. Unfortunately, once you level up it’s kind of just about running through the city being a nuisance savior.

In Crackdown 2 you again play as a Peacekeeper (I love that Peacekeepers are never good guy in SciFi), but this time you’re tasked with defending the city from the terrorist group, Cell and the mutants that come out at night, Freaks. Sure the naming seems a bit half-assed but that’s really one of the draws of this kind of game. It’s not about being deeply clever or building a elaborate world with a life-changing story a la Mass Effect. This is a game like Burnout or SSX where the reality that inspires the game is just inspiration.
crackdown2
After the city saw an extended time of peace post-Crackdown this new threat of terrorism and monsters is overwhelming the population and the police. Clones are created to combat the problem. You play as one of these clones, simply named Agent.
Your commander coaches you through a training simulation so you know how to use your sweet new body, agency issued weapons, and the world around you. It’s all a very awesome mix of machismo and goofy.
crackdown-2-terrorists
In the beginning of the game, while the commander is coaching you through the tutorial, basics, missions and whatnot it’s a little annoying how much he talks and points out obvious things and tries to get you to chase orbs while in the middle of missions. Fortunately, you can ignore a lot of the instructions until you’re ready to do things like chase orbs in cars.
Pretty quickly I was a carjacking Cell and Peacekeepers alike and running down Freaks with gleeful abandon. Crackdown 2 really is so much fun in the same nonsensical way that Burnout and SSX are.
Oh, what’s the point of the story? Well you want to save the city, obviously. And… Um. So the Freaks are underground and you have to turn on these UV light machines that bomb the area in light, frying the Freaks where they stand. You turn on three power supply things and then enter a Freak lair to turn on the big light machine. Then you do it again. … And again.
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The action and beat-em-up aspect stayed fun after the missions got redundant and I lost interest. I loved running across rooftops and punching hordes of Freaks to death.
There’s a good a mount of customization (not for your character, who is a clone after all) when you span. You choose your gun and vehicle and more. There are also a few other modes to play like the one where you have all the power-ups and weapons and just rampage through the city. Yay.
If you’re looking for a fun, dystopian game, you can get pretty cheap; Crackdown 2 is your answer.

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Dying Light gameplay walkthrough

Dying Light is post-apocalyptic video game with zombies by Techland and Warner Bros.. It’s slated for release in 2014 on most major platforms and it’s looking pretty good if I do say so my self. However, it also looks a lot like Dead Island but not on a tropical island. There’s even a guy at the base sending you on errands and makeshift weapons.
Dying Light seem to have various game modes planed that you don’t often see in similar games like “Survive the Night.” In this mode the player spends the day scavenging and gathering supplies. Then, at night, the freaks come out and well, you have to survive. I’m not sure if it would be a Last Man Standing style of mode like you see in a lot of first person shooter games like Halo 4‘s Flood Mode.
Official blurb from the official website:

Dying Light is a first-person, action survival horror game set in a vast and dangerous open world. During the day, players traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population. At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown. Players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning’s first light.

Check out the gameplay below and determine if it looks different enough for you to give it a try.

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Gods vs Humans is… an interesting mobile game?

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So I get the objective of Gods vs Humans but it just doesn’t feel fair or clear as soon as I started playing. I want to destroy the tower but no hurt the people because I need them to worship me so I can have the power to destroy their tower…
Le Sigh.
Here’s how it’s officially described in a December 17th press:

In “God VS Humans” humans build a ten-story tower up to the world of the Gods. You embody one of the twenty Gods or Goddesses (four of them are hidden) to foil their bold attempt and stop them from getting into your world. Using different powers, you have to destroy the storeys until the foundations give way. But it’s no easy job. Builders work tirelessly to repair the damage while continuing to erect the tower. You must also avoid injuring people. Paradoxically, to be able to use their powers against humans the Gods must be worshipped by them.
There are four game modes that enable you to vary the gameplay. Use the tutorial to learn the basics of the title and get the most out of it. Once you have advanced through the “adventure” mode, you can access the modes“free” (where you choose a God and the easy, normal or difficult level) and“challenge” (which involves certain constraints). The “adventure” mode comprises seventy-six missions that allow you to consecutively take the part of all twenty Gods and the different goals they must attain.

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It’s cute little game but, maybe because it’s a port from the Wii, it’s a bit clunky. There’s a bunch of stuff  off to the side that you can use to destroy the building but UGH! How do you no hit the people with super weather?! This is unpossible…
Okay, it’s likely possible. I just hoped it would be more addictive and  engaging than it was.

Pros of Gods vs Humans:

  1. It’s made by people who know how to make games and art. I think a quality look is vital to a game holding a user’s attention and establishing credibility.
  2. Many of the reviews in the play store mention crashing and other software issues that I never experienced (knock on wood).
  3. Destruction in a unique concept. I’m so over playing the same game but skinned differently. I love smashing things and making little virtual characters suffer but I’m not so easily fooled that I don’t realize I just played the same zombie game but with aliens or chipmunks. Gods vs Humans, however, isn’t something I’d compare to any other game.

Cons of Gods vs Humans:

  1. 4_gods_vs_humansIt’s complicated for a mobile game. I want to whip out a game in a waiting room or in a long line (so I don’t start picking up the impulse-buy products they surround you with). This just doesn’t have that flexibility for me.
  2. It is not free. Gods vs. Humans costs 99 cents in the Play Store and the Amazon appstore. I guess I’m just use to apps being free…
  3. Meh. Yes, my final con is: Meh. That’s how I felt when I played it. When I say pictures I thought it looked delightful like Rayman or Ninjatown or ilomilo. But unlike those games, once I got into it the feeling I thought I would have didn’t surface. I didn’t feel motivated or excited or nostalgic or sunny or anything really. I get more excited when I use my calendar or my calculator apps. Meh.

Bottom line on Gods vs Humans:

I wish it was a cartoon. I’d probably watch it. Heck, I’d probably play it if it was a knockoff of another game (maybe Super Monsters Ate My Condo!).

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Hellraid is a lot like other games… Not sure if that's good yet.

Hellraid sounds kind of like Hungry, Hungry Hippos at the end of the world… kind of. If the marbles were enemies and trying to kill you as well as points. Also, your fellow hippos had malicious intentions when it comes to your survival…

Techland has formally announced Hellraid, a first-person co-op slasher that offers two games in one: a single-player, story-driven campaign of hack & slash action; and unique, co-operative multiplayer that pits four players against the denizens of hell – and each other – in a battle for points, rewards and fame.
[Source: Games Press]

Well, I’m interested. After playing Left 4 Dead 2 and Diablo 3 with three friends and loving it more than brownies [1. God, I love brownies].

The Hellraid video reminds me of Diablo 3 but less aw inspiring. The description in the press release even sounds like Diablo 3 with the dungeon crawling and looting and hell monsters.

The armies of Hell brought pain and destruction to the realm of man, and only a select few have the fighting skills necessary to confront the devilish monstrosities. Combining elements of hack & slash RPGs, first-person shooters and online multiplayer games, Hellraid features an advanced, immersive combat system with melee, ranged and magical weapons. The engaging Game Master system makes each game a different experience, placing loot and enemies while generating random online challenges.
With exploration, looting, questing, weapon crafting, boss fights, armor customization, character development, leaderboards, magic and so much more, Hellraid is set to drag you straight to hell later this year (the release was pushed to 2014) on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

I’m tentatively excited…

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The Evil Within might be hell on Earth or maybe just a dream…

Survival Horror is an exciting genre that makes me feel like a kitten wandering through a zoo with faulty locks. The Evil Within from Bethesda Softworks and Tango Gameworks will be no different.
With a release scheduled for mid-late 2014 The Evil Within plans to keep that feeling alive and terrifying. The game features the usual “ordinary guy doing his job” only to be knocked unconscious and end up “person in way over their head hoping to get out alive-ish.” In the press release below, some of the game’s highlights and standout features are highlighted.

Game Description:

Developed by Shinji Mikami – creator of the seminal Resident Evil series – and the talented team at Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within embodies the meaning of pure survival horror.  Experience a disturbing reality as you try to break free from warped machinations that could only exist in the most horrifying worlds. Face twisted creatures and experience true terror, all heightened by cutting edge lighting and animation made possible by a customized version of the id Tech 5 engine.
Story:
While investigating the scene of a gruesome mass murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners encounter a mysterious and powerful force. After seeing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead.
Facing unimaginable terror, and fighting for survival, Sebastian embarks on a frightening journey to unravel what’s behind this evil force.
Key Features:
Pure Survival Horror Returns
Shinji Mikami, the father of survival horror, is back to direct a chilling new game wrapped in haunting narrative. Tension and anxiety heighten dramatically as you explore the game’s tortured world. You’ll have limited resources at your disposal as you fight for your survival and experience profound fear in this perfect blend of horror and action.
Brutal Traps and Twisted Creatures
Face unthinkable horrors and cruel traps as you struggle to survive against overwhelming odds. Turn evil against itself by using the same diabolical devices against overwhelming deadly creatures.
Unknown Threats in an Uncertain World
Mysterious and wicked fears loom ahead in a world that warps and twists around you. Corridors, walls, doors, and entire buildings change in real-time, ensnaring players in a reality where threats can appear at any time and from any direction.
The New Face of Horror
Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story weave together to create an immersive world that will bring players to the height of tension. Defeat insurmountable terror and experience the ultimate thrill by discovering The Evil Within.
www.TheEvilWithin.com
[Source: Games Press Digest]

I’m always hesitant to get excited about games without pictures of video, so here’s the evidence I’ve been waiting for!
WARNING: This video is gruesome and long.

The Evil Within will be available on all the major consoles (not the Wii or WiiU, duh).

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Dead Rising 2 was free with XBox Gold

screenlg4Microsoft started giving out games to Gold subscribers twice monthly and one of the games in August was Dead Rising 2. Well that sounds like all my favorite things: zombies, action, video games, and FREE.
I downloaded the game and booted up. I was immediately confused. Apparently all this shit went down with a zombie apocalypse and and then it was solved (mostly). People built strong walls and made a serum for people who get bitten so they don’t turn.
My character was this dude who people knew of and has a patchy history and a dead wife. He in this entertainment competition whee he rides a motorbike and does tricks and fights captive zombies. This is kind of the into and tutorial.
screenlg1SUDDENLY, all hell breaks loose and there are zombies everywhere. Ohnoes. Now I have to beat my way through the throngs of zombies and rescue my child who’s waiting patiently backstage. Gah, I hate having to escort children and stuff.
So you have weapons that you pick up wherever like a guitar or an axe or a broom. The more you use a weapon the more it wears until it actually breaks. You’re charged with grabbing your baby and making you way out of the arena to safety. Apparently I was also supposed to be saving some other people along the way… oops. I’m so bad at additional objectives.
I get outside and run around a bit until I find a safe place because there are just fallout shelter kind of places scattered around just in case something like this happens. I don’t know if it was a cut scene or what but they’re totally blamng me for the invasion in the arena. People totally think I’m a terrorist. Rude. I’m under the impression I had nothing to do with it.
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After a lot of back and forth the people running the shelter are like, “Ew your daughter is bitten. Leave her outside.” And I’m like, don;t worry about it. I’ve got
medicine even though I totally don’t.
Now I have to go find medicine. Guy runs through the the shelter until he finds a secret exit that leads to the mall. In a backroom of the mall the is a place to craft weapons (if you find a key) and  a place to  get into the real mall.
In the mall you have to fight your way to the pharmacy and  get the medicine in time to get back to  the daughter. Ugh, timed missions are the worst. Especially when  you’re allowed to detour and try on clothes in the  stores. Yes, you can play dress up and use random objects as weapons. I personally liked the skateboard.
screenlg6Dead Rising 2 felt a little chaotic to me. There were almost too many options. I could run around killing zombies or trying on clothes or doing the mission or exploring the places or playing the slot machines (Yeah, those were there too.)
Normally, I love having options and feeling like a game has an open world but this felt falsely open. If you did too much of one thing then the other things pop up and kept you forcefully on track. Also, I don’t know if it’s because Dead Rising 2 is older but I felt the controls were clunky and not as accurate or responsive as they should be. In a hordes of zombies situation I don’t want to deal with clunky controls!
It was hard to tell if it was a serious game (there’s a dying little girl I’m responsible for) or just a silly game (I can wear costumes and use toys as weapons….
I got frustrated and bored and because it was free I didn’t feel like I was wasting anything by letting it collect virtual dust. Dead Rising 2 was good enough for the price but not good enough for me to  play through. Le sigh.

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A Thug in Time [free app]

A Thug in Time is a new app game coming out for Android and iOS on July 16th featuering violence, the destruction of the human race, and more violence.
We can all agree that humans aren’t the most awesome end-users. Imagine you were the one of the creators the world and popped in to check out how it’s all been progressing. You might be pissed, and like those creators in A Thug in Time you might feel moved to just scrap it all.

A Thug in Time is a free app for iOS and Android and features:

  • Decapitate, freeze, burn as well as riddle with bullet and laser fire your enemies using more than 35 weapons
  • Battle through 65 levels set in four time periods: Viking-Age, Wild West, 1930’s mob infested Chicago and modern-day New York
  • Obliterate more than 20 types of unique enemies
  • No death animations, each kill has its own unique physics based reaction
  • Conquer time travel as well as eight bosses and their mini-bosses

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First Impressions: FUSE

The final iteration of FUSE is a game for grown-ups with a distinct brand of grown-up humor, weapons, and problems we didn’t see with the Lombax and the robot turning their enemies into chickens.

[wpspoiler name=”First Impressions vs. Reviews” ]First Impressions are based on demos while Reviews are based on entire games.[/wpspoiler]
FUSE_Jacob_Naya
Insomniac Games has finally come out with a game that doesn’t star a Lombax and a robot: FUSE. Though my heart breaks at the knowledge that the more non-Ratchet and Clank games Insomniac puts out, the fewer Ratchet and Clank games come out.

Ratchet and Clank is my very favorite franchise. I often don’t finish video games in story mode, but I’ve finished every one of Insomniac‘s Ratchet and clank games. I only own a PS2 for these games. I play on the treadmill and put a PS3 and the Ratchet and Clank games on my wedding registry. I’m a diehard fan of the franchise and thus a die hard fan of Insomniac Games.

Fuse_Echelon_2

Therein lies the problem for Insomniac. A brand and a product are two different things but many people, including me initially, were expecting Ratchet and Clank with humans on a new platform. That’s not the game they set out to make or the game it is– and I’m glad.
Initially, FUSE started out as Overstrike which did look like a human version of Ratchet and Clank. People were excited and set their expectations accordingly. But then Insomniac decided to make some changes and finishing touches that didn’t reflect the game that seemed silly in the announcement trailer.
FUSE_Naya_SoloThe final iteration of FUSE is a game for grown-ups[1. Though no amount of distance between the present day and my date of birth with get me to disown Ratchet and Clank] with a distinct brand of grown-up humor, weapons, and problems we didn’t see with the Lombax and the robot turning their enemies into chickens.
Naya is a mercenary and the only thing between her father (also a mercenary) being taken in alive or in a body bag.
Dalton is technically the leader of this pack though from what I can see his leadership consists of being bigger than everyone else and being the first to shout, “go” and “fuck this.”
Izzy is pretty much a supergeek-mage…
Jacob, the black guy, shouts “That is whack,” and “damn.” JOKES! He’s a former LAPD officer ready to take the law into his own hands.

Developer(s) Insomniac Games
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Engine Insomniac Engine v.4.0
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player, cooperative,multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

FUSE_Jacob_SoloWhat happens when humans gain access to powerful alien technology they were never meant to have? When a volatile energy source called Fuse falls into the wrong hands, the CIA calls in an elite contact team to retrieve it: Overstrike 9. Join up to three friends in team-based co-op play as you take down the rogue paramilitary corporation behind the theft. Use lethal teamwork, coordinate devastating attacks, and provide cover for one another with fringe-tech weapons and gadgets. The unique LEAP feature lets you instantly shift from agent to agent during combat, allowing you to take advantage of each one’s special arsenal. You’ll need your teammates and their firepower to stop a global arms race from spinning out of control.

FUSE Pros:

FUSE_Izzy_Solo
1. Because I have the attention span of a rodent, I like that I can easily switch between characters during gameplay. Sometimes I’m a dick and I do it when I run out of ammo.
2. I got healed by my teammates a number of times during fights which totally helped me with my run-headlong-into-danger strategy.
3. There is still just enough of Insomniac’s trademark snark to keep FUSE fresh and fun.

FUSE Cons:

1. Some of the mechanics were not intuitive enough to keep my attention on gameplay. I had to level up each character separately when I was playing them, so I could forget and leave Izzy at 1 and have Naya going HAM at a 10 (maybe, that wasn’t really well explained in the demo). Also I couldn’t figure out how to get my party to get the fuck out of cover.
2. I wouldn’t have hated some set up or a bit more… story. Insomniac is know for punchy exposition. It doesn’t need to be more of the same but let me know what’s up in more than one line. We’re Overstrike 9 and we’re going to ______ the ______ so we can finally ______!
3. It did feel very familiar. I play Halo 4 every Friday night with friends. There’s still a bunch of episodes from the free DLC that I haven’t finished. I play them with my husband…

Overall, what I think of FUSE:

FUSE_Dalton_Solo
I enjoyed the demo and the characters and trying new powers. Unfortunately, for $60 while I already have a first person shooter in my rotation, I need to more than like it to buy it. I didn’t see enough to think it filled a niche I didn’t realize existed like War of the Worlds did.
It was fun to play as a group and I could see having friends jump into your open team slots be a good time like it was in Borderlands 2.
If you’re looking for a snarky FPS, with cartoon-style violence that you can play with friends FUSE might be the game for you. Personally, I want it, just not enough to actually buy it. 
Check out the demo before you decide.

Post-Apocalyptic E3

Screenshot from The Division, Ubisofts new post-apocalypse game, as seen at E3 2013
Screenshot from The Division, Ubisofts new post-apocalypse game, as seen at E3 2013

Lots of post-apocalyptic games revealed at E3 2013

The big news of E3 was obviously the struggle between the PS4 and the Xbox One. That’s not really of interest to us here at ICoS unless that struggle leads to the destruction of all we know and love. Instead, I’ve found information on post-apocalyptic games of interest revealed at this years E3.  It’s looking like a good couple of years for the apocalypse.
Check under the cut for videos
Continue reading “Post-Apocalyptic E3”

I accidentally watched the Tekken movie

I turned on the TV this morning and apparently I had stumbled onto the Tekkenmovie. A handsome Asian guy was running parkour style through what looked like a Chinese favela policed by cyber soldiers. 
Based, vaguely, on the game Tekken many of the characters from the classic fighting series chow up, including Yoshimitsu.
The film is set in a super-crowded future controlled by corporations and centers around Jin Kazama, a street rat from the poverty center on the city, “The Anvil.” Jin used to  use his skills as a fighter to advance his goal of getting paid and living comfortably in fits and starts.
One day Jin crosses the wrong people with, people with the connections to murder his mom and start him on a path or vengeance and fight clubery.
Overall, I’d say it’s  a solid action film with some oddly misogynistic plot holes. The women, Christie MonteiroNina Williams, and Anna Williams are exempt from the Tekken universe rules that apply to the men. Somehow the tournament is won without Anna even fighting or Christie ever actually getting eliminated…
I didn’t find it horrible. However that might be because I like movies like Crank, Torque, and Stick It… anything about dystopias and choreographed bad assery. This is a fun action-packed romp through a future controlled by oligarchies and top down power.
If you’d like to turn it into a drinking game, you can drink every time there’s a flashback or someone tells Jin how to live his life.

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