Episode 19: Star Wars Games

Episode 19: Star Wars games Star_WarsThis week we review a bunch of Star Wars games and they really run across the spectrum in terms of quality. After replaying some of these games I felt like Obi Wan after Alderaan was destroyed…but seriously folks, some of these games are terrible. A few were actually a lot of fun though. This week’s lineup:

  1. Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing (PS2) (courtesy of Forgotten Freshness in Mechanicville! Thanks!)
  2. Star Wars: Demolition (PS1)
  3. Star Wars – Episode 1: Racer (N64)
  4. Star Wars – Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles (PS1)
  5. Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi (PS1)
  6. Star Wars: Battlefront II (Xbox)
  7. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (PS2)

We covered a lot of games with this episode. Some lived up to our expectations, some were only sustained by nostalgia, and some were pleasant surprises. The early 2000’s was definitely an interesting time for Star Wars games. With Disney now in control I hope that the future of Star Wars gaming has another golden age. There are so many incredible possibilities beyond the typical movie adaptation and this franchise has the pedigree to deliver some truly spectacular content. We also discuss the new Star Wars trailer to death during the opening, so there’s a spoiler tag on this one if you are trying to avoid it. Thanks for listening! The Youtube video of this episode will be available tomorrow and this page will be updated to include it.

Edit: As promised!

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Episode 18: Unconventional Fighting Games


Episode 18: Unconventional Fighting Games

Episode 18: Unconventional Fighting Games

This week we’re taking a look at six unconventional fighting games. Mainly, these games require some sort of special attack management but some are just truly unique such as Bushido Blade. Nostalgia and familiarity were largely responsible for our differing opinions on some of these games. Give this week’s episode a listen for a walk down memory lane. You may also get a few tips for games to try out!

The lineup

  1. Ehrgeiz – PS1
  2. Super Smash brothers – N64
  3. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royal – PS3
  4. Bushido Blade – PS1
  5. Def Jam: Fight for New York – Xbox
  6. WCW/nWo Revenge – N64

 

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Episode 17: Halo 3 ODST & Halo Reach


Episode 17 – Halo 3 ODST & Halo Reach

Episode 17: Halo 3 ODST & Halo ReachThis week we present another installment in our Halo review/retrospective and are looking at Halo 3: ODST and Halo Reach.  ODST is probably the most experimental of the Halo games in its storytelling, setting, and game mechanics. ODST is still unquestionably Halo but it presents a non-linear story, stark contrasts between light and dark, a noir atmosphere, and a real sense of abandonment and loneliness. Reach is also unique in its extremely solid gameplay, and sense of team work even when playing by yourself.

Both titles are interesting because neither one features the Master Chief, the iconic super soldier of previous Halo installments.

We really enjoyed both of these titles but would definitely say that Reach has a much higher level of replayability. ODST is kind of a chore to play multiple times through but we commend their willingness to experiment with the Halo series – Microsoft’s main cash cow for 13 years.

Listen in to find out more about these games and how they have aged! Also, let us know what you think. Which Halo game is your favorite and why?

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Episode 16: Why We Like Games


Episode 16: Why We Like Games

Episode 16: Why We Like GamesThis week is all about game theory. Specifically, how we define “value” when choosing a video game to play or buy. We discuss the aspects of video games that are important to us be it graphics, story, action, or creativity.

Video games today run the gamut from simple mobile apps like Candy Crush all the way up to time consuming epics like Skyrim. Every game has a specific audience and most players find that they like a lot of different games depending on their mood at any given play session. Sometimes we might want to play Jumping Finn and other times we may want to play Civilization Revolution or Battlefield.

But why do we like the games that we like? In this episode we delve into what we, specifically Greg and Dan, are interested in and pursue. We tend to favor a lot of first person shooters and sci-fi epics but that isn’t all we play or consider. We thought it was important to really examine this question so the audience knows what we appreciate and what we consider valuable to us. Modern console games are often $60 a pop so determining if a game will have value can sometimes be a very difficult decision. Is it worth buying? Will I like it? Is it worth the money?

Every gamer has their own specific criteria for what is important to them and that’s what makes this hobby so diverse and interesting. Let us know what’s important to you and what you consider when buying games. What appeals to you why do you game?

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Episode 15: Portal 2


Episode 15: Portal 2

Episode 15: Portal 2Portal 2 is the follow-up to 2007’s DigiPen-inspired Portal – a 1st Person Shooter/Platformer/Puzzle game. In the sequel Chell continues to slip through the grasp of the rascally AIs that dog her while she attempts to escape from Aperture Science. GlaDOS returns and we are introduced to Wheatley who has his fair share of surprises in store. Portal is brilliant, funny, unique, and charming and the sequel certainly lives up to the expectations set by its predecessor.

For this episode we have focused primarily on the multiplayer component of Portal 2 which features Atlas and Peabody – two dopy looking robots that GlaDOS has tricked into doing science in order to further her goals of human testing. The multiplayer is not without its flaws but it is still superbly designed. They are inevitably solvable yet it is always fulfilling when one has the “eureka” moment and figures out the solution. Working with a partner changes the dynamic of the puzzle-solving and tends to speed up the level exploration.

Portal 1 & 2 are some of the greatest games ever made and you really must play these titles. Even if you have never played a 1st Person Shooter before you will be able to ease into the Portal series. This is one of the few games that can be recommended to anyone. If you haven’t played Portal 2 yet you should really consider picking it up and making time for it, trust us.

Portal 2 @:
Official site
Wikipedia
Half-Life wiki
Amazon
Steam

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Episode 14: Borderlands 2


Episode 14 – Borderlands 2

Episode 14: Borderlands 2

Borderlands and Borderlands 2 added a quirky and humorous take on the action RPG genre. Its a game that rewards both first person shooter game play skills and dedication to leveling one’s character. The game exhibits some truly hilarious moments such as Censorbot. Borderlands 2 totally nails the humor. The silly, fun, and nonsensical game play is often times immature, infantile, and crass and that’s where the charm of Borderlands resides. Borderlands isn’t the first game of its type but the cel shading and lighthearted approach make this a uniquely charming and fun game – especially when played with friends.

Borderlands 2 greatly expands on the series: more characters, more environments, more enemies, a tighter story, more jokes, and more expansive DLC.

The series is still fairly young with only two entries. A third is imminently about to launch and there will probably be many more successful titles in this series as it’s now part of the canon of modern gaming. Do yourself a favor and go pick up both titles. These games are worth your time and money.

Borderlands 2 @:
Official site
Wikipedia
Borderlands Wiki
Amazon

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Episode 13: Left 4 Dead 2


Episode 13: Left 4 Dead 2

Episode 13: Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2, the sequel to 2008’s zombie survival triumph, brings more to the table and improves upon the original. It was also released just 13 months after the original causing some concern and backlash towards Valve from the gaming community. This game mirrors the first by pitting 4 survivors against the hordes of the undead. Teamwork, planning, and quick thinking are essential for surviving, especially on harder difficulties. To make matters worse, “enhanced” zombies with additional abilities will plague you throughout, making your struggle that much more difficult.

This game led to nearly polar opposite reactions from us. Greg is a major proponent of the title and he has played it for countless hours. He knows the game backwards and forwards. I (Dan), have only played it for about 10 hours. Honestly, that was enough for me – as far as the campaign is concerned.

This is one of our longer episodes and we had a lot to discuss. My difficulties with this game stem from what I believe to be a somewhat schizophrenic design.

Is the game “good”? Certainly.
Do I think it has a lot of problems? Most definitely.
Does the game have a certain charm to it? No doubt.
Is it extremely popular? Yes.

Love it or hate it, Left 4 Dead 2 really bit into the gaming community. They were really infected by its gameplay. Hopefully the love of this game spreads so that the third installment is finally released. We haven’t seen a new Left 4 Dead title in almost five years and frankly there’s no excuse. Despite all of my nitpicks and complaints I’m very curious to see how the third installment improves things. Greg would unequivocally buy a third installment and I would tentatively consider buying it.

Boy did we have a lot to say about this one….!

 

Left 4 Dead 2 @
Official website
Wikipedia
Amazon
Left 4 Dead wiki

Episode 12: Halo 3


Episode 12: Halo 3

Episode 12: Halo 3

As Labor Day is shortly upon us we thought it was worth mentioning the hard work of one of Microsoft’s greatest creations: the Master Chief – savior of humanity and civilization (along with his digital companion Cortana).

In our ongoing retrospective of the Halo series we now find ourselves at the conclusion of the series’ first trilogy. Many questions remained at the end of Halo 2 and most importantly: how was Spartan 117 going to “finish the fight”.

Halo 3 saw the marginalization of the Arbiter (probably a wise  move),  an equally convoluted plot now centered on the Ark and the construction of new Halo rings, and the eventual marooning of the Master Chief and Cortana at the game’s conclusion.

Halo 3 pushed Halo into other media including comic books. It had an immensely detailed media campaign to promote it’s release and, as we will see with Halo: Reach, one of the most enjoyable teasers for a video game:

Our retrospective will continue over thee next several months as we conclude with Halo: ODST, Halo 4, and Halo Wars. When the Halo re-release drops in Novemeber plan on a supplemental episode discussing  that collection as well.

Join us for a trip back to 2007, before Halo 4 existed, when a whole universe of Halo possibilities existed!

 

Halo 3 Links:
Wikipedia
Halopedia
Bungie.Net
Halo Waypoint
Amazon

Episode 11: Beat ‘Em Ups Part 2 of 2


Episode 11: Beat ‘Em Ups Part 2 of 2

Episode 11: Beat 'Em Ups Part 2 of 2Welcome to our 11th episode! This week we’re continuing our discussion about Beat ‘Em Ups with Alex Krasny of www.agreeordie.com. If you listened to last week’s episode then you have an idea of where Greg and I are coming from but we welcomed the addition of Alex to provide an alternative view point. He has also been exposed to some other games that we weren’t familiar with and has some MAME experience so he definitely helps round out our genre-based analysis.

Please go check out Alex‘s website and his new general discussion podcast that he produces with Yury:

AvD Podcast

AvD Podcast
You should also go check out his youtube channel here.

Episode 10: Beat ‘Em Ups Part 1 of 2


Episode 9 – Beat ‘Em Ups

Episode 10: Beat 'Em Ups Part 1 of 2

“I hold your city captive and your girlfriend hostage.” – River City Ransom

We said we’d cover vintage games and we weren’t kidding. For this episode we picked the Beat ‘Em Up genre and covered the following games:

TMNT 2 (NES)
TMNT 3 (NES)
TMNT 4 (NES)
Double Dragon (NES)
Double Dragon 2 (NES)
Battletoads and Double Dragon (NES)
River City Ransom (NES)
Knights of the Round (SNES)
Castle Crashers (Xbox 360)
Scott Pilgrim (Xbox 360)

The experience was definitely varied as some of these games really made an effort to do something unique and special, some are simply fueled by nostalgia, and some are just very bland and formulaic. As a genre study it was very interesting to see how the series matured when comparing the original titles to their modern counterparts. (River City Ransom vs Scott Pilgrim).  Modern trends and gaming theory have certainly influenced the development of this series.  A one-time staple of arcade and consoles, the Beat ‘Em Up has become more of a niche game. Some modern entries such as Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim manage to keep this game type alive.

What will the future hold for these types of games? Will they need to innovate to stay relevant or is their vintage charm enough to keep them alive on current and future platforms? What is your experience with Beat ‘Em Ups? Leave a comment below or shoot us a tweet.

Also, tune in next Monday where we’ll have our first guest: Alex Krasny of www.agreeordie.com. Alex has been a lifelong gamer and we’re thrilled to have him on to add to our discussion. So tune in a week from now for A Very Special Episode Of…Beat ‘Em Ups. Alex has also launched his own podcast which you can find at his website. He covers  a wide range of topics and it’s just a conversation between two dudes. If that’s your thing you’ll love it:

agreeordie-logo-300x137

 

 

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