Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Last of Us Review

ImageWelcome back fellow gamers to my esteemed blog.  As many of you know, one of the most anticipated titles for Playstation 3 is finally here.  The Last of Us is a game developed by Naughty Dog, the company responsible for many successful gaming sagas such as Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted.  Naughty Dog is famous for their action and adventure titles, and now they are dipping into the pool of survival and horror.  Does Naughty Dog succeed at this attempt?  Let’s review.

Image

Graphics:  The Last of Us is a visual masterpiece.  From the moment you begin the game, the level of detail and design is mind blowing.  Character models and environmental details are beautifully done.  The world is very interactive with breathtaking environments, and at certain points I couldn’t tell whether I was playing a game or watching one of the game’s many CGI movie sequences.  This is a level of detail and perfection that is rarely accomplished in a video game title, and Naughty Dog should definitely be commended for this accomplishment.  Anyone who is a huge fan of eye candy will be having a giant sugar rush with this title.  Score: 10/10  

Image

Gameplay:  Fans of Uncharted will be drooling over The Last of Us.  The gameplay is not so much action based as Uncharted.  The Last of Us is a game about survival, and you are forced to do just that.  Items are not laid out for you to grab and instantly use.  Instead, you have to collect anything from bottles, and bricks, to pipes, and two by fours to survive.  Survival also consists of finding pieces to construct modified weapons such as shives, healing items, and finding supplements to upgrade your status.  Ammunition is extremely scarce in this game, as you mostly depend on your survival instincts and wit to traverse through the desolate world that awaits you.  

What truly makes The Last of Us stand out besides the eye candy, is the story and characters.  The story takes place in a post apocalyptic United States that is devastated by an outbreak of a modified cordyceps fungus, which instead of infecting insects attacks humans.  You take on the role of Joel, a man who from the beginning is stricken with grief, loss, and a destiny to fulfill.  He is later joined by Tess, and they are ordered to escort a young girl named Ellie to a rebel group known as the Fireflies.  For the sake of spoiling the story, I will not go into anymore detail, but the storyline is fantastic.  During the course of the game, Joel forms an inevitable bond with Ellie through conversation as they progress further towards their goal.  As they learn about one another’s past, they begin to build a foundation of trust for each other.  This combined with the overall story of The Last of Us brings together an amazing blend of dynamic story and characters who will be unforgettable now and in the future.  

Joel and Ellie’s quest is not an easy one by any means.  There are numerous foes that wish to cut their journey short.  There are hunters, human survivors in Pittsburgh who are trying to impede your progress since they resent Joel and Ellie.  Then there are the infected, humans that are consumed by the engineered cordyceps fungus (this is a real life fungus that effects only insects, click here to view the background on cordyceps).  The infected come in five stages of evolution.  The are runners, stalkers, clickers (in my opinion the freakiest and scariest due to that noise they make), bloaters, and spore cadavers.  These foes are not easily outsmarted or thwarted in any way.  The AI in the Last of Us is very impressive.  Human opponents do not just simply stand around when you’re hiding instead, they are constantly searching for you, which means very little time to relax.  Constructing items also requires an element of strategy.  You construct and modify weapons in real-time.  This means that if a foe catches you, he, she, or it can attack you and interrupt your operation.  The infected are a deadly force to be reckoned with.  Evolved forms like the clicker, require stealth and timing to avoid, and confrontation can be very deadly since attacking them bare fisted will infect you.  They also infect you in one bite (one hit kill) which can damage a smooth operation.  Naughty Dog put a lot of energy into all the gameplay elements of The Last of Us, and it shows beautifully.  Score: 10/10

Sound:  The musical score for The Last of Us is absolutely brilliant.  Gustavo Santaolalla truly brings the emotion and mood of the game to life through his amazing music.  The voice actors do a fantastic job with Troy Baker leading the helm as Joel, and Ashley Johnson holding the fort as Ellie.  The voice actors truly pour a lot of energy and emotion into their roles, as opposed to voice actors who merely want to speak in order to get a paycheck.             Score: 10/10 

Image

The Last of Us is truly a masterpiece that I believe is a shoe in for game of the year.  The story is gripping, the characters are lovable and memorable, and the feeling that you get when accomplishing the game is absolutely satisfying.  Combine this with a high replay value, and a multiplayer mode, and you have a truly beautiful piece of gaming art.  If you own a PS3, and have not played this amazing title, then I suggest scraping some nickels and dimes together and grabbing this piece of gaming greatness.

Final Score: 10/10 

Advertisements

Nintendo Reveals all but, was it worth the wait?

ImageWelcome back friends to my esteemed blog.  E3 is booming, especially since day one consisted of two of the three gaming giants premiering not just their new consoles, but their huge arsenal of next generation titles.  Now Nintendo officially took the stage with Miyamoto heading the live stream pre-E3 Nintendo Direct presentation.  I must say, the line-up is very impressive.

Super Smash Brothers:  Save the best for last, and that’s what Nintendo does best.  The newest installment of the Super Smash Brothers franchise for the Wii U and 3DS looks amazing as it sports awesome graphics, a returning cast of characters, new worlds, and a few new fighters.  Among these confirmed new characters are Villager from the Animal Crossing franchise, and Mega Man (drooling).  

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze:  The new Donkey Kong Country title will be for the Wii U, featuring similar gameplay to it’s Wii and 3DS predecessor with new worlds, camera angles, and the return of Dixie Kong!

Legend of Zelda Windwaker HD:  Set for the Wii U.  This is an HD remake of the beloved classic.

Bayonetta 2:  Set for the Wii U.  It is the sequel to the beloved unorthodox action classic.

Super Mario 3D World:  The Wii U Mario Adventure goes back to it’s roots (Super Mario Bros 2 fans will love this)  taking form Mario 3D land and ramping it up with Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach joining in as playable characters.  Will definitely be looking forward to this.  

Pokemon X and Y:  Think you can catch em all?  Well get ready because Pokemon X and Y will be premiering for the 3DS.  I think I can catch em all.  I think I can catch em all.

Mario Cart 8:  Rip roaring, mega fun racing action returns for the Wii U with Mario Cart 8.

Wii Party U:  Fans of Mario Party may get a kick out of this.

Wonderful 101:  A niche adventure game that you will have to see to believe.  Looks interesting.  

Miyamoto also revealed a game that looks very similar to Xenoblade Chronicles, and it looks absolutely awesome!  At the end of the trailer there was a big X in red that was similar in design to the Xenoblade Chronicles.  So let’s just say a potential sequel is in the works.

Although Nintendo’s E3 lineup was impressive, it simply did not add up to the shocking reveals of Sony and Microsoft.  I hate to say this but, Nintendo fell a bit short this year.  Thanks for reading my blog, and please be sure to follow me.  I also love comments and questions so keep them coming.  

 

Lucas

 

Sony vs. Microsoft. The winner is?

Welcome back friends to my esteemed blog.  As many of you know, Sony and Microsoft just had their press conference at the 2013 E3.  Now as many of you know, there has been a long debate on which system would dominate at this year’s E3.  There was also talk about which company would own with their arsenal of upcoming titles for their next generation console systems.  

Well, let’s do a quick rundown of each company’s arsenal.  

XBOX One:

Image

Cost: $499.00

Game List:

Forza Motorsport 5
LocoCycle
Quantum Break
Ryse
Super T.I.M.E. Force
Titan Fall

PS4:

Image

Cost: $399.00

List of Games

Deep Down
Drive Club
Final Fantasy XV Versus
Kingdom Hearts III (Trailer only, still in development)
Destiny
Infamous: Second Son
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Knack
The Witness
The Order
Diablo 3 
Elder Scrolls Online

I apologize if I missed a few games, but I am literally trying to get this in before the end of the night.  The arsenal of games for XBOX One was somewhat impressive.  I drooled slightly at the Killer Instinct trailer, but the overall arsenal of titles was far from persuasive enough to make a $500 investment.  The Kingdom Hearts III Trailer was without a doubt a major drool fest for Kingdom Hearts fans.  Final Fantasy XV versus looks impressive thus far, but it is still too early to tell.  So now, the question is, who won?  Well…the winner is?

Image

 

PS4 is the winner for one reason: No DRM (Digital Rights Management)  The PS4 has no restrictions, supports used games, and does not require internet connection to play.  

Stay tuned tomorrow with me when I report on the Nintendo E3 press conference, and be sure to follow my blog to stay up to date with the latest and greatest gaming goodness.  

Lucas

PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS in my opinion.

286027-playstation-vita-vs-nintendo-3ds-which-gaming-handheld-reigns-supreme

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog.  I hope everyone had an amazing Memorial Day holiday.  I was happy remembering my services in the military, and shedding a few tears for my battle buddies who passed away in combat.  As long as I remember them they will always live on, but I digress, it is now time to get back into some gaming goodness.

I had several friends approach me asking me the question, should I get a PS Vita or a Nintendo 3DS?  Some people may resort to video reviews and critiques on YouTube.

If you prefer this method then by all means more power to you.  I have done my share of YouTube viewing and have personally found these videos to be very biased consisting of complacency as opposed to constructive critiquing.  So, I am going to give you my deep, honest, and most importantly, unbiased opinion.

There are a few perks to each system:

PS Vita
Pros:
-Highly innovative
-Beautiful large display
-Decent compact size

Cons:
Very small selection of games
Pricey console and accessories (Console ranges from $200-$250 without any built-in memory)
Nintendo 3DS:
Pros:
-Huge selection of games
-Two sizes for systems
-Very open audience (games for adults and children)

Cons:
-3D can be a bit awkward and heavy on the eyes.
-Games can be a little pricey ($40-$50 dollars for new games)
-E-Shop still lacking content.

So, in general my system of choice is the Nintendo 3DS.  The reason for this is that the 3DS has a much larger selection of games for every type of gamer.  It also poses a good distraction for those who have or work around kids.  The Playstation Vita is a great system, however I feel that this system came out way before it’s time.  The PS Vita has capabilities that work with the PS4, and that console has yet to be released.  Plus, the selection of games even with PSP downloadable titles is still very little.  So if you’re looking for a great hand held console, definitely Nintendo 3DS all the way.

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow my blog.  Tune in next time when I review The Last of Us.

Lucas