Posts Tagged ‘xbla’


In June of 2000, gamers the world over were introduced to something, that at the time was just a Dreamcast game, but would later be revered as a transition for the medium.  Gravitating away from just being simply entertainment, but being appreciated as an art form; Jet Set Radio was that turning point and to this day remains one of the most important games released on any platform–and also the main reason why you should play it.

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The wait is finally over for Ubisoft’s I Am Alive.  Six long years and many changes later it is finally available on the Xbox Live Arcade and I wish I could say that I was more enthusiastic about it.  I love post-apocalyptic games like Disaster Report and Raw Danger and I Am Alive is in the vein of those titles, but doesn’t resonate with me the same way and let me tell you why.

I Am Alive places you in the fictional semi-metropolis of Haventon.  You are on a quest to find your wife Julie and your daughter Mary.  An “Event” has rocked the country and even more so in Haventon.  Earthquakes have ravaged Haventon and plumes of killer dust encapsulate the city and while it creates great atmosphere, everything looks overly drab.  The utilization of the Unreal Engine generates some great effects for lighting and shadows, but the environments and character models lack the detail of other Unreal powered games.  The collision detection needed some more polish and that lack of polish really diminished what little visual quality the game had to its credit.  The main character’s animations are stiff which is more troublesome in a game like this where navigation and exploration are integral game components.

Navigating and exploring areas falls short in comparison to the game’s scale.  The areas in the game present multiple potential avenues for moving forward, but the game dictates one single linear path for you to pursue.  The climbing mechanics were supposed to be a staple in this game and prove to be generic and frustrating.  A stamina gauge is placed on the main character in order to create tension for climbing and if your stamina runs down you are going to fall, presumably to your death.  This would have been an awesome mechanic, but it will never happen unless you let it happen.  Stamina reserves in conjunction with a stamina “boost” feature will guarantee success in all your climbing endeavors.  In addition to visual indicators really intense music kicks in when your stamina is low and it gets very annoying very quickly.  This music continued to play after my stamina gauge was low until I used a recovery item to replenish it.  With the world in shambles you might also assume that searching for resources would be important.  I wasn’t looking for a fallout loot fest, but it would have been nice to search containers or abandoned vehicles for supplies.  The environment is littered with both and nothing can be searched which I found it to be particularly aggravating.

The scale is there, just not the depth

The lack of exploration is also met with lack of story development and character interaction.  I understand that the “event” wiped out a large portion of the population, but the encounters with NPCs, showcased some missed opportunities for dialogue, bartering and story progression.  This first NPC interaction involves some old sewer hobo pulling a gun on you and yelling nonsensical banter at you.  “Get away from me” and “Don’t come back ya’hear” could have been replaced with more engaging dialogue options where the main character could have probed for information about what lies ahead or possibly traded goods with the poor sewer dweller.  The only occurrence of such dialogue was when I helped a victim that had been stabbed by curing them with a health pack.  Other than that random stragglers just yell at you.  The options could have been limited and still would have created another layer of immersion that the game is lacking.

The combat in I Am Alive never seemed like a focal point in the design and it shows.  You start with a pistol with no ammo and your enemies are none the wiser.  The aiming of ranged weapons such as the pistol is done in first person and while it doesn’t look bad I think it narrows your focus too much especially when dealing with multiple combatants.  Like I said your enemies are oblivious as to whether your pistol is loaded or not so pointing it at them will intimidate them pending they don’t have a fire arm of their own; in which case they will shoot and kill you.  Assuming you are intimidating an enemy with only a melee weapon you will yell at them to back up and if you are lucky they will back up to an edge where the game will prompt you to send them plunging to their death.  I derived much satisfaction the first time I did this, but can see the process becoming very repetitive.  One caveat about intimidating with your ranged weapon; enemies do not remember that you are packing, so the minute you holster your weapon they will charge you almost immediately.  This is a major design flaw that almost renders the intimidation function useless.  The machete melee combat had promise, but the surprise and struggle kills are slow and boring.  Another hiccup with collision detection is also present and your machete passes through enemies as if they were vapor.

Not as fun as it looks

If I Am Alive didn’t take so long to develop and hit the market it would have been a much more impressive title.  Other disaster games like Raw Danger and Disaster Report may not have been gems, but they had personality and worked better within the context of the genre.  Games like Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia offered great exploration and navigational controls and games like Alan Wake created a more aesthetically dynamic atmosphere.   I Am Alive is unfortunately overshadowed by all of them.  The game proposes some great ideas, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.  I had huge expectations for this game and was let down.  Let us know about your experiences with I Am Alive by sounding off in the comments section.  If you saw something differently than us be sure to tell us, it might get us to view it from a different perspective.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

*Disclaimer* I have only played the trial version of this game.  It is available on XBLA for 1200 MSP ($15).  The trial version was approximately 40 minutes in length and I played it to completion.  My comments are based on this experience and this experience alone.  If you wish to see further criticism check full reviews.

Jet Grind Radio HD confirmed

Posted: February 29, 2012 by Tim Utley in News and Updates
Tags: , , , , , ,

JET SET RADIO!!!!  That’s right folks Jet Grind Radio and all the funk that accompanies it will be rolling out to XBLA and PSN this summer in glorious HD.  Sega had announced this last week and confirmed it this week so all JGR fans can rejoice.  JGR is one of my favorite games of all time so I am really excited for this game to hit both marketplaces (HD+Trophies/Achievements+Already Awesome= More Awesome).  The game is said to have the same amazing soundtrack and will have new graffiti for players to perform all over Neo-Tokyo in this HD release.  If you missed this game on the Dreamcast definitely check it out for your system of choice.  Also if you were part of the majority that didn’t like or wanted something different from Sega’s last Dreamcast effort this generation (the DC Collection) support this game when it releases and get Sega to bring more of our favorite titles to the current gen systems (or completely new iterations).  Keep your eyes out for Jet Grind Radio come summer time and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


The XBLA House Party has kicked off and the first game on the table is none other than Warp.  When I first heard about Warp I am not going to lie it looked like an isometric clone of Portal.  While it shares some similar sentiments in regards to “warping” Warp stands on its own stubby little black legs.

Warp is a crossbreed between a platformer, action and puzzle game and puts you in the role of Zero an alien who unknowingly becomes the victim of a research experiment in a secret underwater facility.  Seeing how I have only played the trial version of this game I do not have much more information about the narrative, but what I can tell you is that this game isn’t one you should pass up.

Zero is initially put through some silly tests which serve as an interactive tutorial for you learning the controls (which are painfully easy).  Then Zero stumbles across what looks like to be a giant magenta booger with honeycombs in it and without the slightest hesitation shoves it down his hole.  I say hole because doesn’t have any discernible mouth or receptacle for nutrition.  Anyways; after Zero eats said giant magenta booger things get interesting real quick because shortly after his snack he becomes reacquainted with a donut shaped octagon that gives him the ability to warp (no way!!).  This event puts the lab into frenzy with alarms and all other manners of security implementations to stop Zero from escaping.  Lucky for you they fail miserably and this is where the trial really kicks off.

From here on out you have rudimentary access to Zero’s powers, but what they highlight in the demo will either turn you into one of two players.  One that will be stealthy and avoid turrets, guards and scientists or the polar opposite and be a blood thirsty alien hell bent on killing everyone and everything (I choose the later).  The way you kill people is what’s most interesting and you can probably deduce what I will say next.  You “warp” into a suspecting or unsuspecting enemy’s body and gyrate the analog stick until the host explodes (done with objects too), spilling entrails and blood everywhere (remember how Neo jumped into Agent Smith and he jiggled around then exploded, nearly identical).  Also that is why this game isn’t cute (just for clarification purposes).  This binary approach also gives you the opportunity to mix it up a little bit if you so choose.  Well you might be wondering about some other details so let me fill you in on those real quick.

Warp has a great visual style utilizing the Unreal Engine so you get a sleek looking game that didn’t glitch or hiccup at all during my time with the trial.  The sound effects were not anything too incredible, but nothing about the audio diminished the experience either, so that’s good right?  The controls like I said earlier were painfully easy to grasp and once you unlock more abilities I don’t see the controls becoming an issue, so another check for Warp in the awesome department.  In addition to the main quest of the trial it gives you a small taste of the challenge rooms that are in the full version.  These are time based objectives that I can only assume will vary from point to point rooms and fragging enemies in an allotted amount of time (the two ones in the trial, I’m sure there is more variety, so don’t fret).  Overall Warp is a solid downloadable experience that for either 800 MSP or $10 will surely keep you entertained until you have gotten your money’s worth.  Warp is available for both XBLA and PSN so give it a spin and let us know what you think about it in the comments section.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

I played the trial of Warp on XBLA for approximately 35 minutes.  The game is available on XBLA for 800 MSP and the PSN for $10.


This week’s deals on XBL are for those looking to get their fix of death (or deathly related content).  Either way there are 3 XBLA games on sale and here they are:

  • Death By Cube – 400 MSP (50% off)
  • Limbo – 600 MSP (50% off)
  • The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile – 400 MSP (50% off)

These deals will run into early next week until another set are put up.  So if any of these interest you act fast because they won’t be around much longer.  Stay tuned for more deals and as always follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.


This week there are quite a few deals running on Xbox Live.  There are the standard deals of the week plus a whole slew of discounted games and add-ons.  I don’t want to keep your from scoring these deals so read them below.

Casual Arcade Games (running all week)

  • Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s Decade Duels – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • A Kingdom for Keflings – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Crazy Taxi – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • 3d Ultra MiniGolf 2 – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Costume Quest – 600 MSP (was 1200 MSP)
  • Monkey Island 2: Special Edition – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Faery: Legends of Avalon – 600 MSP (was 1200 MSP)
  • Gyromancer – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)

 

Core Arcade Games (running all week)

  • Doom 2 – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Quake Arena Arcade – 800 MSP (was 1200 MSP)
  • Zeit 2 – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • After Burner Climax – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Alien Breed: Evolution – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Alien Breed 2: Assault – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Darwinia+ – 400 MSP (was 1200 MSP)
  • Defense Grid – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Unbound Saga – 160 MSP (was 800 MSP)

 

Awesome Add-On Deals

  • Undead Nightmare Bundle – 1000 MSP (was 1600 MSP)
  • Undead Nightmare (stand alone pack) – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Halo Wars : Historical Battles – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Halo Wars : Strategic Options – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • 3D Ultra MiniGolf 2 : Fairy Tales – 120 MSP (was 240 MSP)
  • Mirror’s Edge Pure Time Trials – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)

 

Deals of the Week (running all week)

  • A World of Kefling – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Worms 2: Armageddon – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Worm 2 Battle Pack – 200 MSP (was 400 MSP)
  • Raskulls – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)

 

April 1st Deals (via Major Nelson, thank you) (only available on April 1st, just wanted to specify that)

  • Fallout New Vegas Dead Money – 400 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Comic Jumper – 400 MSP (was 1200 MSP)
  • Deadliest Warrior – 200 MSP (was 800 MSP)
  • Fable 3 Understone add-on – 200 MSP (was 400 MSP)

Go out and grab these deals while they last and save yourself some money.  I am picking up a points card as I write this.  Also remember to follow me on Twitter @gamersabstract and now Facebook to get your extra fix of The Gamer’s Abstract.