[Game Review] Minecraft (PC)

Developer: Notch
Publisher: Mojang Specifications.
Platform: PC

There is a game out there that successfully combines genres in gaming that I previously thought were not able to be blended. The game in question, Minecraft, is an indie game by programmer “Notch.” Notch is a swede developer who recently put forth the alpha version of his brainchild, and in the span of only a few months went from unknown indie dev to unknown indie dev MILLIONAIRE. But enough about Notch, you want to hear about Minecraft.

Imagine taking the build-ability of Legos, zombie/monster horror and survival, adventure games, and mix in a delightfully pixelated world and you’ve got Minecraft. Minecraft has several modes for you to enjoy, from the classic mode where you spawn in your world with unlimited resources at the tips of your fingers with which to construct whatever you see fit.

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[Music Review] Amon Amarth “Twilight of the Thunder God”

twilight of the thunder god album artNow before we go into this review I need to ask you something. Are you a man? By the off chance that you, the reader, are a female then I ask you this; are you a man? If you’re a guy, chances are you’re not very manly, unless you’ve heard of Amon Amarth. Now there will be those of you that cry out “[Insert metal band] is sooo much more manly” but I am here to tell you YOU ARE WRONG! WRONG!

Amon Amarth, if you didn’t already know, is a Swedish melodic death metal band. Now these aren’t some lame excuse for a death metal band that prances around looking fashionable, these guys are big, burly, angry Swedes, not a combo that you think of much. Here’s the best part, all of their music is Viking themed. Now don’t go thinking Manowar, a bunch of airbrushed asshats standing around some maiden. Think Vikings. Big, nasty hair-having, fur-wearing, axe and sword singing, village burning vikings. If you weren’t aware, vikings have two goals in life: kill your family, and burn your village to the ground, both they do with a smile that would make the grinch look angry.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, on to the review.

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[Game Review] Blacklight: Tango Down (XBLA, PSN)

System: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
Zombie Studios
Ignition Entertainment
First Person Shooter

Many of you, like myself some two weeks ago, likely haven’t heard of Blacklight: Tango Down, unless you frequent the Xbox Live Arcade. Blacklight is a game that was released last Wednesday in the live arcade, and has taken off since then. Here’s a little bit of insight to this sleeper hit.

Set in a fictitious Eastern Bloc city well into the future, Blacklight: Tango Down can be summed up for the most part in the phrase “Modern Warfare 2 in the future on Meth.” The game itself is ran off of the Unreal 3 engine, and maintains a visual aesthetic that is similar in many ways to the Infinity Ward giant. While keeping the same look, and somewhat of the same feel, Blacklight is a shooter all its own.

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[Game Review) Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360, PS3)

System: Xbox 360, PS3
Rockstar San Diego/North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Genre: Action Adventure

Earlier in the year Rockstar hit the dusty trail with what was sure to be their new giant, Red Dead Redemption. The old western “GTA Goes West” is just that, a sandbox action game set in a fictitious area on the US/Mexico border circa 1910. The Old West is a dying place, industrial revolution, Federal government, and all sorts of new found trickery and deceit have made their way across the Mississippi and into Rockstar’s final bastion for Cowboys, Indians, and outlaws.

The game starts off by introducing us to John Marston, our stoic cowboy anti-hero who is being lead off a boat into a small town, Blackwater. The cutscene continues with two men, clad in suits, bowlers, and sporting badges, escorting John to an expecting locomotive, with a trio sharing a few back and forths. Jon takes a long train ride far into the heart of the state, all the while hearing conversation from two snoody rich ladies, and a young woman talking to a priest. After following a bit more of this linear, cutscene-infused prologue before Rockstar cuts you lose into the Old West.

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[Game Review] Toy Soldiers (Xbox Live)

System: Xbox Live Arcade (Exclusive)
Signal Studios
Tower Defense

This year has seen the release of some crazy things for the Xbox Live arcade market. Indie games, puzzle games, 2-d games, you name it they’ve probably got it. One game that really caught my eye was Signal Studio’s Toy Soldiers.

Released at the beginning of March, Toy Soldiers brought a handful of achievements and a few nifty avatar items (if those are your thing) along with a rather easy to play and mindlessly fun game.

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[Energy Drink Review] Rockstar Energy Cola

So, on a pit stop to my local gas station I got the bright idea to splurge on some energy drinks. I looked at the cold case of Monster, Red Bull, NOS — all the usuals. But I was struck by two new cans in the mix. The folks at Rockstar Energy have launched two new energy drinks in Cola and Lemonade form. Having never had Red Bull’s soda, I thought to give this and its yellow friend a try (plus they had a coupon for fifty cents off so what the hey!). I grabbed my new drinks and drove home to eat, drink, and play Bad Company 2. Continue reading

[Game Review] Battlefield: Bad Company (XBox 360)

System: XBox 360 (Also on PS3)
Developer: DICE Studios
Pulbisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: FPS

In a time dominated by Call of Duty, Battlefield: Bad Company brings something to the First Person Shooter table. With the launch of its sequel only hours away, I figured I would give you folks a taste of what was, and of what can be expected. Bad Company delivers in many areas that other FPS games don’t, namely, environment. When you get in the game, I urge you, take a look around at a building or tree and SHOOT at it.

Trees come down, windows break, grenades will BLOW UP WALLS! Artillery and tank rounds will leave smoldering craters where people once were and buildings will crumble. The game brings a fantastic sense of realism on the virtual battlefield by allowing both the player and AI to change the playing field at almost any time. This leads up to one of my major gripes about Bad Company, namely in the single player area, and that is AI. Continue reading

[Game Review] Bioshock 2 (Xbox 360)

System: Xbox 360 (Also on: PS3, PC)
Developer: 2K Marin
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: First-Person Shooter

Bioshock was a wicked game. It had a great story, great visuals, and was an interesting shooter. It earned the awards given to it and became a platinum hit.

Bioshock 2 released last week for 360, PS3 and PC atop a lot of hype from the underground. It would have mulitplayer, a new story, Playing as the Big Daddy sounded hella tight and I was excited to try my sea legs out inside a massive 50’s era diving suit, and all the bells and whistles that would make it a smash sequel were present. Sadly, while it is a good game, 2K Marin fails to deliver the punch that 2K Boston, the team behind the original, did. Continue reading

Mass Effect 2

System: Xbox 360, PC
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: RPG

One month after stopping a race of large sentient machines from wiping out all life in the known universe Commander Shepard is used as a figurehead for humanity and subsequently put on bitch missions to kick the last of the Geth in their robotic nads. This is where Mass Effect 2 begins, and where one hell of a ride starts.

Mass Effect 2, from the start, is a major upgrade from the trilogy’s start. The game has a fresh feel, while still keeping very close in the realm of Mass Effect. Many, many changes have been made to the sequel, both good and bad in my opinion. The story has the same idea as ME1, but with several changes. The opening of the game has you scrambling to save Joker (Seth Green), everyone’s favorite crippled, wise talking pilot, as a menacing ship appears out of hyperspace and begins an assault. The end of the opening cinematic has Shepard floating through space, suit badly damaged, and oxygen failing. The crew escapes as Shepard is seen on a crash course with a nearby planet, thus Mass Effect 2 begins. Continue reading

[Game Review] Mass Effect (Xbox 360, PC)

System: Xbox 360 (Also on: PC)
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: RPG

In light of Bioware’s new title, Mass Effect 2, and the embarking of this noble gamer on a nonstop binge of the aforementioned game in the sake of this website, I’d like to take a step back and go over the first in this new space trilogy.

Mass Effect, spawned by Knights of the Old Republic creators Bioware, is the first in a planned trilogy of space video games. You take the role of one Commander Shepard, by either using the preset John, or devising your own spin on Shepard. You pick from a sort of amped up RPG class list — soldiers, archers, thieves, mages — but with a serious futuristic twist. Continue reading