Posts Tagged ‘gaming’


Another E3 has come and gone and with it some awesome new stuff to look at and some things we would have rather not seen.

Here at the TGA we are going to show you the top 10 the best things that you should look at and the 5 worst things from E3 2012.

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Nintendo had big shoes to fill at this E3. All eyes were looking to Nintendo and what the Wii U was going to bring to the table. Most of the conference was spent on Wii U with 23 titles shown during the conference and little of 3DS as well. Let’s get down to business and see if Nintendo hit a home run this year at E3.

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Next up on the list at E3 is Sony. Right out of the gate Sony does a great job at really dropping a bomb on the world with the announcement the makers of Heavy Rain are developing a new title. Not much is known about this title other than the trailer released at E3, but with Quantic Dream making this project it will sure to be nothing other than a smash hit. With Beyond: Two Souls you will play as Jodie Holmes and go through points in her life spanning 15yrs. But there is something very special about Jodie; she is surrounded by an invisible and powerful unknown presence that she talks to. In the video we see her sitting at a local police station not saying a word to a jabbering officer trying to help.  The officer later becomes frightened when the coffee mug he placed on the table is lifted off and thrown against the wall, and chooses to leave Jodie. Left alone she starts to interact with this supernatural being stating that she knew that SWAT was coming for her. Right after SWAT members start to storm the building and position themselves to try to capture Jodie. The door to where she is opens than the video than cuts to an amazing montage of what else is in store for the game. The video alone was enough to give me goose bumps.

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the newest installment of the FF franchise.  Trying to make up for the amount of complaints from the FF XIII and possibility of lacking creative ideas Square Enix attempts another console FF sequel.  The first thing that came to mind was, “Why?”  After the travesty that was FF X-2 I was very resilient to think that doing another FF sequel would be a good idea.  The feedback that I received from reviews and word of mouth put my worries at ease and also stating that the complaints I had about the first one were also changed.  Did the title live up to or exceed its predecessor?  Let’s take a look and see.

Gameplay:

The gameplay of FF 13-2 is very similar to that of FF13. The battle system is based off of 6 interchangeable class types and managing those into 6 on the fly class combos in order to heal, stagger, or devastate your opponents. If you played FF13 than you will feel right at home with the battle system. There were minor tweaks in place that now give some enemies the ability to wound your health making you unable to heal wounded damage, also some of the class abilities aren’t as vast as they were in FF13, and now your 3rd battle partner is a monster. You now have the ability to capture, infuse, and level up monsters in the game.  While this makes it able to build the ultimate monster for each class type I would much rather have static characters that I can level up just like Noel and Serah.  Having to worry about grabbing new monsters or not knowing which ones are good to level up can be frustrating at times. Monsters can only be leveled up, depending on the class of monster, using items you can either buy or earn in battles. This can also be very frustrating as you have a limited number of items and don’t want to waste them on monsters that aren’t going to ever be as strong as the monster you are using now. The crystarium system of leveling up is back again but with a small change. In the previous title you could level up one of the 6 classes and each one had a cap and you could dump XP into any one you wanted. This time around you dump those points into each class type and get stat boosts in strength, HP, and Magic depending on which class you level. Each time you do that specific class will level up and each class caps at level 99. Each time you fill an entire crystarium field you also get a bonus which can range from boosting a class or raising your accessory limit amount. In this game you can’t just wear any accessory you want as each accessory has a number attached to it. If you don’t have a high enough number cap than a lot of accessories are dead to you and this really limits what you can wear to 1 maybe 2 accessories at best. Overall I feel gameplay took a step back from FF13

14/20

Presentation:

The game has Serah in search of her sister Lightning who she saw in a dream fighting in Valhalla in the beginning. Shortly after she is met with the last human in existence from the future, Noel as they both travel through time solving paradoxes created in the timeline in order to bring back Lightning. You travel to a great array of places scattered all throughout time as well as multiple versions of the same time but changed after fixing paradoxes.  In each time you spend anywhere from 30min to 3hrs following the trail of the next time period unlocked by gates. Since the previous title was too linear this one is too open. I quickly felt overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I had open to me in the timeline, and had to also revisit the same places to see if I could find more fragments in each time. The storyline was sub-par at best as it unfolded with a cast of characters that never moved or inspired me. Over the 38hrs of my time with the game I found myself playing it more out of not having anything else better to play rather than wanting to know what happens next. Most of the game posed no difficulty except for the final boss that resulted in me spending another 5hrs of leveling and creating stronger monsters in order to just barely win. The ending (spoiler free) infuriated me with the direction in which it played out. Overall, I would have rather played through FF13 a 2nd time than my one play through of FF13-2.

11/20

Visuals:

Visuals are usually a department that Square Enix does right. This title is an exception to that rule. The vast array of locations and geography always made it seem fresh. I would jump from one time period to the next and be immersed in a whole new world completely different from where I just was. However, the character models often seemed pixelated and it looks like there wasn’t a lot of effort into making this a well-polished and visually astounding title. The turnaround is that the cutscenes look as good as would be expected, but the environments, characters, and everything else outside of cutscenes looks like ass.

13/20

Sound:

The soundtrack for this game is atrocious. Most music consisted of not just music but some of them also had someone else singing in the background. I found the music to be so horrible that I would try to leave certain time periods quicker than others or play over the video game music with stuff from my computer because it just hurt my soul. I took the time to listen to what those people were actually saying I hung my head in disgust to hear that the lyrics were horribly written. Below I have linked some Youtube links to a few examples of what I mean.

10/20

Lasting Appeal:

The game has a vast amount of content with 160 fragments to collect, multiple endings, and a casino to blow all your money and time at. The only problem is that it was hard enough to stomach one full play through that I could never see myself going back to playing this title ever again.  Do yourself a favor and do not waste your money on this game.

10/20

Final Score: 58/100

I completed this game on the PS3 with a time of 38:27:20. I was able to collect 77/160 fragments in the game and was able to reach 56% trophy completion

What did you think about FFXIII-2? Post your comments in the section below and remember to follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thegamersabstract

2011 Multi-Game Reviews

Posted: June 11, 2012 by shalashaska8986 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s been a while since I have had the time to be able to write an article. I was buried under the black hole that is retail as well as the start of my next college semester. However, some my time was well spent as I was able to polish off a number of hit games that came out during the holiday season that I will be reviewing today.

My time with Saints Row: The Third can be summed up in one word, Amazing.   My 30hrs spent lost in the nostalgia that was Steelport was nothing short of an incredible ride.  From the very beginning you get a sense of the crazy antics you should expect as you progress.  The game not only met my expectations it exceeded them.  From sprees of beating people with a giant purple dildo bat, killing waves of mascots in Prof. Genki’s, or tiger escort missions and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Needless to say that I never wanted my experience to end.  This game boasts one of the best soundtracks incorporating a wide range of genres and song selections that could satisfy any gamer’s musical tastes.  The gameplay is the heart and soul of the game giving you power ups as you level your saints, guns, cars, cribs, gang members, or yourself.  The game plays out just like your standard open sandbox world video game, but quickly you will notice that this game relays heavily on the WTF factor.  While the side missions are a fun means to tack on more hours the storyline is what ties the game together into the beautiful masterpiece that I experienced.  The closer you get to game’s end the more I could only sit there bursting out laughing at character interactions and the objectives that I had to complete.  The game also has a great deal of customization allowing you to customize any article of clothing or vehicles to the color or style that you want.  The graphics were not anything impressive, but that’s not why you’d be playing this game in the first place.  Places look as though a city would with a nice amount of detail but it’s a standard look that we’ve seen before from this type of game.  There are a few times that my gameplay got drastically slowed for having too many things on the screen, but this only happened a few times.  With co-op, single player, whored mode, challenges, plenty to upgrade, and a wide variety of side missions this is one title that will be a long and enjoyable experience from start to finish.

Gameplay: 18/20
Presentation: 19/20
Visuals: 17/20
Sound: 20/20
Future Playability: 20/20

Final Score: 94/100 I spent a total of 30hr playing this game, achieved 80% of the trophies, and completed 98% of the total single player experience.

Next up is the strange and horror filled love experience that was Catherine.  When I started the game I had no idea what to expect.  You play as Vincent a man who is tied down to his long term girlfriend Katherine, but after a long night at his usual bar he finds himself in a love triangle.  The story becomes so compelling that you will want to spend hours solving the games incredibly difficult puzzles in order to see what happens next. The game is divided into 3 sections: the part you watch, the part you play, and the part where you interact and shape how the game will progress. Each morning you are greeted with a series of cut scenes that reveal what troubling situation Vincent got himself into next.  The visuals in the animation are beautifully done in mostly an anime style of drawing.  Outside of these cut scenes the game does a good job at making the rest of the experience to be visually detailed even if you are too busy to pay attention as you run for your life.  The second is spent at your favorite bar The Sleeping Sheep where here you interact with people, text the two K/Catherines and try to help people with their problems and woes.  You can also play the bar’s arcade game which can help you work on your climbing skills, or sit and drink to increase the speed of Vincent as he climbs.  Once you leave the bar is where you’ll be running for your life.  Each night is the same in that you have a series of levels and you have to climb to the top in order to make it to the next stage. The difficulty curve climbed exponentially quick with the introduction of new block types and more difficult puzzles to try to climb up.  By the second night my opinion went from thinking the game was easy to Holy $&#* at this rate I am not even sure I will beat the game.  The game does a great job at immersing the player into a constant state of panic as you tackle each new puzzle.  However, no matter how difficult and frustrating they may be once the game sinks its teeth into you there is no stopping you from trying to finish the night to see what happens next.  The voice acting as I would expect coming from a Japanese game is impressive.  The score of the game sets the mood for the epic and puzzling climbs that you will have to make each night.  With multiple endings, high scores and medals to achieve on each puzzle, and a challenge mode that unlocks from getting enough gold medals in campaign there is plenty that will keep you coming back for more.

Gameplay: 19/20
Presentation: 20/20
Visuals: 16/20
Sound: 16/20
Future Playability: 20/20

Final Score: 91/100 I spent 12:38 playing through the game and got 35% of the games trophies.

Ezio Auditore and Desmond are back in another hit installment of the Assassin’s Creed series in Assassin’s Creed Revelations.  In order for Desmond to make it out of the Animus with his mind intact he must complete the tale of both Ezio and Altair that blur memories within his own timeline.  The gameplay hasn’t changed much since the previous installments with combat seeing very little performance tweaks.  If you love the fight, climb, and move mechanics of the previous titles than you’ll feel right at home in this one.  The game adds a new feature to create bombs to help kill, distract, or infect the minds of opponents. Another new feature is tower defense which has you strategize troops of assassins to stop invading forces from taking over your controlled bases. Truthfully, I feel that with each new Assassin’s Creed title the developers try to add more and more content that can be a bit too cumbersome at times.  The game would consistently break the flow of my game experience by wanting me to rush back to the complete other side of town in order to protect my bases.  The stealth mechanics are more difficult this time around as the developers want to try to force you to craft bombs to help progress even as it felt against my will to want to.  The Presentation is set in Constantinople as Ezio is trying to track down the keys to unlock the truth behind Altair’s secret room.  The journey will take Ezio through a love interest, building the Assassins Order in Constantinople, and becoming involved in a struggle for power over the crown. The game also adds backstory scenes involving Desmond before he went to Abstergo in the first one and Altair after the end of the first Assassin’s Creed took place.  The story developed in Revelations within Constantinople was bland and my only driving force was to continue the storyline shaped from previous titles. The visuals are on par with the last two Assassin’s Creed titles with nice visuals stretching as far as the eye can see from rooftops and the soundtrack fit the setting of the game. With tower defense, tons of collectables and gear to obtain, 2ndary objectives, an Assassin’s Order to manage, and multiplayer this is a game that could keep you busy for a long time to come. If you’re looking to continue the story I would recommend playing it just to see what happens. Otherwise there are far superior Assassin’s Creed titles in the lineup.

Gameplay: 14/20
Presentation: 14/20
Visuals: 16/20
Sound: 16/20
Future Playability: 12/20

Final Score: 72/100 I spent 12:01 playing through the game with 56.52% completion and 36% trophy completion

What did you think about any of the above games? Post your comments in the section below and remember to follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thegamersabstract


With smartphones being as pervasive as they are I rarely think about how far phones have come in the past 10 years not only in terms of technology, but their capabilities for gaming.  You now have your Android, iOS, Black Berry and even (*cough*) Palm platforms for gaming, which offer a variety of content, but that wasn’t always the case.  Gaming on a cell phone was something people rarely did, not because it took some extraordinary ability, it just wasn’t enjoyable.  That’s right at one point in time gaming on a cell phone absolutely sucked.  The games were beyond primitive and bordered on having completely useless existences.  They were simply a menu option, which speaks volumes (no pun intended).  The purveyors of such worthless gaming devices included but were not limited to the folks over at Nokia.  For the purpose of this article I will target two devices in particular that had gaming capabilities, one that should have held off in the gaming department and one that shouldn’t have ever been created.  I don’t want to keep you guessing so let’s move forward.

The Nokia 3360

The first device pictured above was a device that I personally owned and is none other than the Nokia 3360.  Don’t get me wrong this was a great cell phone.  It always had great reception and texting was as easy as it could be on a basic phone, but for gaming it was pretty awful.  Many of you will remember the game Snake as it appeared on many Nokia phones and crept its way on to some Ti-86 graphing calculators (useless fact alert, remember Block Dude?).  This was one of two games that were playable on the device and really showed off the power of the phone’s monochrome display.  You might call it the Angry Birds of the late 90s early 2000s (reference made in terms of popularity not quality).  Anyways the other game was a version of brick out, brickle, bricks or whatever the hell it was called.  That game was boring as shit too and rounded out the awful offerings on the device.  You may think I am being too harsh on the device, but it was capable of more and I am simply holding it accountable for that (take off the nostalgia goggles people).  But enough of this Nokia 3360 jive; let us move onto public enemy number one the Nokia N-Gage.

One person is reaching out for another person because they are jumping off a bridge for buying the N-Gage

The dedicated handheld business was still booming and the immense success of the Game Boy Advance apparently had Nokia thinking that if they combined a cell phone and a gaming platform they would have a gold mine on their hands.  Wow were they f##king wrong.  I own the N-Gage (taco design) and as a gaming platform it couldn’t have had a more cumbersome design.  Everything from the controls down to switching games was downright awful.  You had to remove the back panel of the system to change games, which let’s be honest was a pretty terrible design choice.  Mobile gaming is supposed to be convenient and nothing about the N-Gage was such.  Most of the games being released on the N-Gage also had console counterparts that were far superior to say the least (Splinter Cell, SSX).  I know that is the case with most handheld devices, but the N-Gage was positioning itself as being more than a handheld and didn’t deliver.  The only thing N-Gage had going for it was its graphics which to be fair weren’t bad, but it doesn’t matter how good your games looks when they play like road kill.  If you want to say the N-Gage was ahead of its time you are entitled to think such, but one thing that will forever remain important is quality, which the N-Gage was severely lacking.  When cell phone developers are designing new phones they should have an N-Gage framed in carbonite next to them reminding them of what not to do.  For some freak chance that is happening somewhere in the world we owe some sort of thank you the Nokia N-Gage for taking that bullet of atrociousness.

Those who have been gaming on phones for years understand my pain and for those of you who are just getting into it consider yourself privileged.  Gaming on a cellular platform has made tremendous strides in the past 10 years and let’s hope that nothing derails that progress.  Nokia is making Windows phones now which have a great gaming platform on it (Xbox Live Woot! Woot!) So don’t fret.  You have heard my two cents about retro cell phone gaming, but I want to hear what you think.  Do you think I am being far too critical because of device limitations or are you in agreement with me?  Are you an N-Gage loyalist and wish to challenge me to a duel?  Did you think Snake was the best thing since Pong and I need to stop talking shit?  Sound off in the comments section and give us your two cents.  As always you can follow me on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


Today we are combining the two offers from Amazon and Best Buy into one convenient post.  We have had great feedback about posting deals, but one thing people wanted to see was a little consolidation, so we are going to try and do that for you from now on.  We will kick off these deals with the Best Buy because there is only one deal and follow up with the Amazon deals (a lot more).  We are also going to move the links for the corresponding sites to make it easier so you are not page hopping blind (we usually lump them in this nice intro paragraph).  Today’s Amazon Black Friday Deals in gaming are action themed (if you were wondering).  Alright that is enough banter from me, so here are you deals for today and as always Happy Shopping everyone.

Best Buy – link to deal

  • Everybody Dance (PS3) – $11.99

Amazon Video Game DOTD – link to deal

  • Lego Rock Band (PS3) – $9.99

Amazon Black Friday Gaming Deals – link to deal

Xbox 360

  • Split Second – $12.99
  • Tron Evolution – $13.99
  • Red Faction Armageddon – $27.99
  • and more

PS3

  • No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise – $19.99
  • Tron Evolution – $12.99
  • Bulletstorm – $17.99
  • Kung Fu Rider – $9.99
  • and more

Wii

  • EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp – $12.99
  • Shaun White Skateboarding – $8.99
  • Tron Evolution: Battle Grids – $10.99
  • and more

Nintendo 3DS

  • Asphalt 3D – $9.99
  • Super Street Fighter IV 3D – $17.99
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions – $19.99
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars – $13.99
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D – $18.99

Other

  • Random products

There you have it folks, your gaming deals of the day.  Be sure to check back tomorrow and every other day this week because the deals are only going to get better and more plentiful.  Make sure you are following us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook because we sometimes post deals on there that don’t make it here.  We also make update announcements through those mediums as well.  So long until tomorrow and once again Happy Shopping everyone.


This argument has been tossed around by many other writers and enthusiasts of Mobile gaming, but we have never touched on it here at TGA.  Is Mobile Gaming big enough for Handhelds and Smart Phones?  Or is one set to be edged out?  Mobile gaming has become so ubiquitous that it is almost impossible to determine whom your target demographic is or who is even playing, because everyone games mobile now.  You can step into restaurant and see little Jimmy and grandma playing Words with Friends while waiting for a table and now we think nothing of it; but they are not playing on a handheld, but rather a smart phone.

Is this the future?

Making phone calls and playing games used to be done on two separate devices; not any more.  The landscape of mobile gaming has changed drastically and with that change has lunged what used to be two distinct worlds into combat for mobile gaming supremacy.  Handheld consoles and cell phones (prior to the smart) were never held in the same esteem because they performed and fulfilled different functions.  One played your games while the other was used to call Mom for a ride home from the movies (unless you owned a N-Gage, which I hope you didn’t), but with your smart phone you can call Mom while playing a game.  Let that sink in a little bit because most of us never thought that our phones could accomplish a fraction of what they can do now in such a short amount of time.

It only feels like yesterday that I was playing Snake on my Nokia 3310’s monochrome display (Google it, it’s a dinosaur of a phone) or a trial version of Bejeweled on my Motorola Razr.  Now I can play and have access to thousands of games and apps with most of them being either free or sub $2.  The key to winning a battle is either knowing your enemy’s weakness or having an ace up your sleeve, and the ace for smart phones is affordable software.

A handheld console gamer would have to wait years (at least 5 plus) for software to be that cheap and still actually want to play it after all that time.  With most handheld software ringing to the tune of $40 (or in that vicinity) it is becoming increasingly difficult for publishers and retailers to move software of the shelves.

Nintendo 3DS, will people embrace it?

You would think that most, but not all pieces of $40 software for say the 3DS or to be PSVita would yield a longer more complete game and maybe even sport a long campaign with amazing production values, but that just isn’t the case anymore.  Most can derive such an experience from a $1 game from the App Store or Android Marketplace.  As much as it pains me to say, handheld consoles are losing ground quickly and have already lost it to some.

For instance look at the iOS exclusive game from Chair and Epic Games, Infinity Blade.  It has simple but hard to master controls, incredible replay value (still playing it months after release), and some of the best graphics I have ever seen in a mobile game bar none.  I paid $2.99 for it (price may vary).  That $2.99 got me the game on my iPhone and my iPad as well.  That kind of cross platform duality is almost unheard of in handheld gaming space sans some PSP/PS3 connectivity included in some titles.

All of this banter about how great smart phones are and how affordable the software is might lead some of you to think that I have lost all faith in handheld consoles.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  I still have faith because I think the fire has been lit under the proverbial Asses of Sony and Nintendo and they know things need to be done differently.  Handheld consoles are a cornerstone of gaming and will continue to be in one shape or another for as long as video games exist.  They just need to adapt and evolve to remain competitive (I know it is easier said than done, but here me out).

Round 2 for Sony, will things be different?

Nintendo and Sony both know and have proven (Nintendo more so) that handheld gaming is a viable business platform, but both have and continue to rely on expensive retail software as their main entrée.  They need to start thinking outside the conventional handheld framework to be competitive with smart phones and their respective software applications.  Nintendo has started to do such a thing with an overhauled E-Shop on the 3DS by offering classic titles for download.  This is a great start, but still not a competitive strategy that will win the battle.  Nintendo has the software, but needs to price it for people gaming on a budget (which most of us are).  If Angry Birds taught the gaming world anything (which was a lot) it is that volume can sometimes be more important than price.  I would go as far as to say that every 3DS owner would purchase a $1 NES Mario game, but maybe only 50% or less would purchase a 25 year old game at $5 dollars.  Sony’s foray into digital gaming hasn’t been flawless either, but the PSVita will have a much more robust PSN and Playstation Store backing it, so I have higher hopes for round 2 of Sony’s handheld conquest.  Also having 3G connectivity will be a huge plus for PSVita gamers because being able to download (20mb limit) and access multiplayer features outside of a WiFi hotspot will put it on par with current smart phone designs.

Mobile gaming is so vast and the amount of software available is mind-boggling.  Smart phones and handheld consoles offer both mobile gaming and other distinct features to gamers, but they have different philosophies on pricing and delivery.  I haven’t been completely swept away from handheld systems as I still think they are important to gaming, but smart phone software’s pricing and ease of use is hard to deny and even harder to ignore.  To answer the question of this article, I think Mobile gaming is big enough for both smart phones and handheld consoles, they just need to feed off each other as opposed to feeding on each other and things will be all right.

What do you think about the landscape of mobile gaming?  Does your opinion differ from mine or do we share similar sentiments about the industry?  Let us know in the comments section.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

So what is coming out next year???

Posted: April 9, 2011 by Tim Utley in Editorials
Tags: , , ,

Screw the world ending, what are we going to have for games????

I have been busy with my job and trying to squeeze in some quality time with my Dreamcast, but one of my favorite nerdy/OCD things to do is look at upcoming releases and really gauge how much money I will drop on anything cool for the year.  This year as most of you know has already been pretty crazy and is only continuing to get better as the months roll on; but with such a mega packed year of awesomeness what is going to come out next year?  I pose this question because every single franchise that I still give two shits about (Mass Effect, Gears of War, Uncharted, etc.) is either releasing its final title or releasing a sequel.

Granted some of the games that are scheduled for this year might get pushed back into the following calendar year, but besides the stuff I briefly mentioned there is a whole slew of other things being released this year.  This year no doubt will be a great year for gaming, but will next year hold for us?  Will it be the year of the new IP?  Will Sony and Nintendo make aggressive maneuvers with their new handheld systems and have a good ol’fashioned slobber knocker like in years past?  Who knows what will happen, but I am experiencing mixed feelings of uncertainty and excitement.  These feelings and trains of thought might be slightly premature, but next year really leaves a lot up to the imagination and hopefully something great blossoms out of the ambiguous nature of 2012.

If you have any theories or ideas about what you think will happen next year, throw it up in the comments section.  Also be sure to follow me on Twitter @gamersabstract and on Facebook.