Review: Bastion (XBLA)

“There’s like a kid who wakes up and everyone’s dead and the world is gone.” That was how my husband described Bastion to me.
“Ew.” Was my response. “That sounds terrible and sad and not like a game at all.”
“I guess I can see that. It is pretty sad… Meh, try it,” he said, handing me the controller.
I settled in and tried it.

Immediately I was sucked into the story of The Kid as narrated by the old man with a voice made for storytelling. The Kid and I had the same questions: What happened? Where’d everyone go? Where’d the world go? For the saddest premise in the world I jumped into Bastion feeling motivated and curious.
The controls were intuitive and the game was forgiving while I acclimated myself to my new surroundings. “The Kid just raged for a while,” The Narrator said, prompting me to move on from smashing all the boxes, objects, and general scenery as is customary in semi-similar action games. I found it easy to defeat my enemies as my ability was scaled proportionally with theirs. As the story unfolded and I learned about The Kid, Caelondia, and The Calamity that got us to the world as it is.  I fought slow moving enemies with slow weapons until I able to choose between brute force and speed. Eventually I was able to upgrade certain aspects of my gameplay using potions from the Liquor Store[1. It was called something more clever but it sold potion upgrades that were named to sound like liquor. eg.: Were Whiskey].
Your goal is to fight your way through The Wilds (levels) and collect Shards  to build up The Bastion, a mysterious situation that is the solution to the Calamity according to the narrator who clearly isn’t telling you the whole story.
The whole story is really what makes the game. While I was playing because it was a game I stuck with it because I wanted to  get to the end of the story– and I was the one who would get there. The Kid falls because I fall and he continues on because I continued on. Somehow Supergiant Games too that evocative part of books and movies and campfire stories and brought it to an action-adventure game.
All parts of the game worked harmoniously from the controls to the story to the design to the music[2. The music is unbearably AMAZING in this game. I normally don’t even notice but there were levels I didn’t want to finish for fear of never hearing the song again.] I was immersed.
I rarely finish games, I know “boo” “hiss,” I just get done playing before the game is done and if there isn’t enough of a story I don’t care if I don’t know how it ends. This game, I needed to know and I enjoyed playing. One of my few grips with Bastion was at one point I realized the forward motion of the story slight over shadowed the fact that it is in fact a video game: Once you complete a level you can’t go back to it. There was a level that I accidentally completed because the finish the level button and the attack button were the same and I happened to be standing by the exit… So i was done, never to complete that level to my satisfaction again until my second play through.
Overall, I would emphatically recommend Bastion as a game, story, or album.
[rating:4.5/5]
Check out some on the beautiful screenshots:

A New Character is Voted Onto Dead Island

Dead Island, the playable beachy horror story set on the fictional island of  of Banoi just  announced a new playable character. This new character will be available in addition to the original four characters (who each have different classes from ranged combat to fisty brute)[1. Check out the official site for the full character profiles.]:

The new character isn’t profiled on the site because then there would be spoilers. Yup, This is a person you’ve encountered in the game before and his storyline should add a new perspective to why and how things on Banoi unfolded the way they did.

[wpspoiler name=”Deep Silver announced the character in a press release: ” ]This DLC offers a unique new perspective into the incidents in the main story of Dead Island: This time the player will get the chance to play as Ryder White, the antagonist of the main game; learn more about his motivations and why, from his point of view, he did what he had to do. This fresh take on the Dead Island story shows Ryder White both as a military man and a loving husband. The DLC stars Ryder White as a newly playable character and offers a single player campaign with several hours of story content with twists and turns that will shed new light on the game’s happenings. Two blueprints and weapons will further expand the already impressive arsenal of Dead Island. The DLC will be available on February 01, 2012 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC. It will be available for 800 Microsoft points on Xbox LIVE Marketplace or for £7.99 on PSN and Steam. (source)[/wpspoiler]

First Impressions: Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon

[wpspoiler name=”First Impressions vs. Reviews” ]First Impressions are based on demos while Reviews are based on entire games.[/wpspoiler]
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon  is a video game based on Ugly Americans, which is a sitcom on Comedy Central based on a New York City where all manner of monster lives in harmony– harmony being the same crazy, terrible, apathetic way the city is at present. In the show, Mark Lilly is a nobody in a dead end job with a zombie named Randall for a roommate. Continue reading “First Impressions: Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon”

Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone

Poor Char. The apocalypse is always hitting Canada and Canadians the hardest. Even in this tongue-in-cheek video game about surviving the apocalypse on a island, Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone, Canada gets more than theirs.

PlayStation®Network, Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone, casts users as four unlikely heroes who are put to the test when the Zombie Apocalypse hits their small Canadian Island. Banding together for survival, and armed with weapons including guns, chainsaws, and C4-impregnated teddy bears, the heroes must work together to find a way to survive the zombie hordes and get off the island.”
SOURCE

The game basks in the more camp aspects of apocalyptic culture in the way that Army of Darkness or The Evil Dead do.

Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone could be a fun, lighthearted survival romp worth trying for 800 Microsoft points or $9.99 on PlayStation Network. Both networks have demos available so you don’t regret your purchase.
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Upcoming Post-Apocalyptic Game | The Last of Us

Naughty Dog announced, via a two and a half minute minute cinematic trailer, an upcoming post-apocalyptic video game: The Last of Us.

During the Spike TV’s annual Video Game Awards Naughty Dog announced a new, upcoming  post-apocalyptic video game via a two and a half minute minute cinematic trailer: The Last of Us.
Among the ruins and the wreckage, a man and an adolescent girl (his daughter?) make their way to safety. At first glance I thought they were doing something long the lines of Max Payne 3 for the Uncharted series because the man in the trailer, Joel, looked like an older Nathan Drake. Also, the young girl, Ellie, looked like Ellen Page.
Facing savage zombies (?) with well practiced skill, Joel and Ellie work together to save themselves and set up a pretty fantastic looking new game.
Not much has been announced aside from the video and the name of the game, The Last of Us, and the brief summary that goes with it:

Check out the announcement trailer for Sony Computer Entertainment and Naughty Dog’s new PlayStation 3 exclusive – The Last of Us!
The Last of Us is a genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements to tell a character driven story about a population decimated by a modern plague. Abandoned cities are being reclaimed by nature and the remaining survivors are killing each other for food, weapons and whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States.
Visit the official The Last of Us website at: http://www.lastofus.com/
or visit Naughty Dog at: http://www.naughtydog.com/

Trailer:

[More about The Last of Us]

Is Lollipop Chainsaw the Utopia of Apocalypses?

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced their upcoming game Lollipop Chainsaw via a trailer featuring a blood-covered, chainsaw wielding, giggling cheerleader. She also has the talking head of her boyfriend clipped to her hip, because why not?

Lollipop Chainsaw is the ‘un-deadly’ story of sweet and killer zombie hunter Juliet Starling and her quest to uncover the root of a colossal zombie outbreak. With her wickedly awesome chainsaw in hand, Juliet slices, dices and splits her way through hordes of the undead, but soon realizes the horde is only the opening act to a festival of zombie rock lords determined to kill the chainsaw wielding cheerleader.

It’s kind of adorable in a hack and slash all your friends are dead, flesh-eating monster you get to glefully murder way… The game really reminds me of High School of the Dead in its big-breasted light-hearted approach to zombie slaying.
Check out the mature-rated trailer:

Apocalyptic Video Game: ARMY OF DARKNESS DEFENSE (iOS)

Because I click almost every link I encounter[1. Yes, this has brought me to some strange places. No, I don’t get viruses; I practice safe clicking.], I discovered the most amazingly fun (and free) game on my iPod via an advertisement! A semi-side-scrolling, pseudo beat-em-up, defense game called Army of Darkness Defense. … Why yes, the game is based on the famously camp B-movies staring Bruce Campbell.
Army of Darkness Defense features characters from the Army of Darkness movie, such as Ash (including voice over quotes), Lord Arthur, and Duke Henry.
You play as Ash (and some kind of war god who controls the Smithy and makes the troops come) leading the charge of good guys defending the Necronomicon against the charge of the Deadite Army. Continue reading “Apocalyptic Video Game: ARMY OF DARKNESS DEFENSE (iOS)”