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Rally Together Dragon Quest Fans!

I’ve done a lot of complaining over the last few days about Square-Enix, but recently Yuji Horii made a blog post about the Dragon Quest series in North America, and I figured this would be a perfect time to rally the fans together and blast Twitter, Facebook, and the blog post to show how much we love the series and that we want more Dragon Quest games released here in North America, and in Europe.  Come on everyone, we can do this!

Link to Yuji Horii’s blog post: http://na.square-enix.com/us/blog/message-dragon-quest-creator-yuji-horii

Silent Hill Review

Silent Hill Review

Silent Hill ReviewSilent Hill (Available exclusively on PlayStation)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Release Date: January 31st, 1999
PlayStation Network Release Date: September 10th, 2009

Parent Talk: Silent Hill was originally rated M for mature because of animated blood and gore, and animated violence. That remains true today. While the graphics haven’t aged all too well, the game still features some rather disturbing imagery, lots of blood, and an overall creepy environment that most adults find tough to play at night, while they’re all alone. This is certainly not a videogame for minors.

Plays Like: The tank controls made famous from Resident Evil are featured here, although the game separates itself from that legendary series by not resorting to cheap scares and actually gets inside your head and messes with your emotions. It was one of the very first games that challenged Resident Evil because it was so different, and gamers couldn’t stop thinking about the creepy setting long after they had completed the game.

Review Basis: I finished the game countless times upon its original release, and quickly blasted through it for this very review.

Silent Hill was one of the very best games released on the original PlayStation, and I thought it would be fitting to discuss it in further detail considering a brand new reimagining of the franchise is currently underway at Konami with both Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro at the helm. Silent Hill is remarkable for getting inside your head and staying there. It features an incredible soundtrack, solid gameplay, and brain-twisting puzzles. If you’ve never experienced it before, there’s no better time to do so than right now. Take my advice, lock yourself in a room somewhere, close out all the lights, and crank up the volume. You want to be creeped out while playing, because it actually makes you feel like the protagonist, Harry, who has just lost his daughter in the bizarre fog-filled town of Silent Hill.

One note to make is that the video review is entirely made up of the very earliest portions of the game. I did this on purpose so as not to spoil any of the settings and environments for those who have never played the game before. Trust me, you’re going to want to experience the whole game for yourself.

Before continuing, did you know that Silent Hill was heavily censored for its release outside Japan? It’s true, even the North American version had many different elements changed so it would pass through the ratings board. Many of the enemies look like children with knives, and that just wouldn’t fly with the censor boards. In Europe the enemy designs were even more radically altered than the North American version. Ok that’s enough about censorship, let’s jump right into the game.

SH1The Great:

Atmosphere, it’s all about the atmosphere. Silent Hill operates on an entirely different playing field than Resident Evil because it doesn’t want to simply scare you with cheap tricks, it wants to mess with your mind. This is a physiological thriller more so than an action game. It succeeds, tremendously well. From the eerie sound effects, to the radio which omits static noise the closer you get to an enemy, the game is always reminding you that you’re not safe. From traveling through a fogy town, to the darkest depths of your imagination, Silent Hill, challenges you in ways very few other PS1 games did, and it’s for that reason why so much of the game has held up superbly.

The story is also the game’s biggest strength. It starts off with Harry and his daughter Cheryl making their way to the small town of Silent Hill to spend some time together on a little vacation. While driving a woman suddenly passes in front of them and Harry swerves out of the way, causing the car to flip and crash. When Harry comes to, he sees Cheryl in front of the jeep, through the thick fog that has enveloped the town. As he makes his way towards her she starts to walk off in the opposite direction. What’s going on, and why would she run away from her father? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Silent Hill.

SH3The Good:

+ The music and sound effects are truly what make this game. Akira Yamaoka did a wonderful job, and to think that he wasn’t the original composer, he was brought on after the original departed the project. With incredible industrial tunes, creepy melodies, and countless memorable sounds, Silent Hill’s soundtrackis considered a modern day classic.

+ While dated by today’s standards, the graphics do their job well. The town is completely covered in fog, but that’s ok as it allows the details in the buildings and environments to shine through. The grain effect also works extremely well in making the players feel uneasy. If you’ve got a weak stomach you might want to skip out on Silent Hill as it’s extremely gory, and there are plenty of disturbing images.

+ One of the more interesting aspects of Silent Hill are the multiple endings. I won’t give any away, but they give you an incentive to keep coming back and trying to do things slightly different each time you play.

+ Dynamic camera angles work extremely well. Unlike Resident Evil, the camera swoops and twists and turns as you make your way through alleys, corridors, and rooms. It can even be a little disorientating at times, which as the whole point to begin with.

+ The FMV cutscenes were simply gorgeous for their time, and while they do look somewhat pixelated today, they’re still impressive.

SH2The So-So:

+/- You either get used to the tank controls, or you hate them for the duration of the game, simple as that. For people who started playing 3D games with the N64 and PS1, most don’t have too many problems adjusting to the controls, but that doesn’t mean they’re ideal. Combat, and exploration aren’t anywhere near as fluid as they are in today’s games, but for someone like me, I find that’s what heightens the game’s stress level and causes you to get sweaty palms within a few minutes of playing.

+/- The combat system feels much like the controls, mostly dated. Sure it works, you can knock back enemies with a pipe, or shoot them with your gun, but if the camera is moving around it can be difficult to pin-point exactly where you need to shoot.

The Bad:

– The voice acting shows no sign of emotion. The game would have been better suited for text-only dialogue.

SH4The Lowdown:

While Silent Hill certainly shows its age, it remains a chilling experience. The thought of losing one’s daughter in a creepy town is enough to put you on edge, but having child-like creature attack you, limited lighting, and a very eerie setting help push you over the edge, and that’s what makes Silent Hill so special. Hopefully the developers of the reboot remember that, cheap scares don’t stay with you months or years after you finish a game. It has to take control of you, and really freak you out, and based solely on the interactive P.T. teaser, Kojima-san and del Toro appear to be on the right track. If you’re curious to see where this legacy of evil started, I encourage you to check out Silent Hill.

Final Score: 8.5/10

Loot Crate

August 2014 Loot Crate Unboxing!

I’ve started to become quite a big fan of Loot Crate, because I love the goodies they give you.  My work desk is slowly but surely becoming the fantastic office I always imagined it would be.  Take a look at this unboxing for the Heroes-themed Loot Crate.  Lots of fantastic goodies inside!

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If anyone is interested in subscribing to Loot Crate, be sure to check their site out: http://mbsy.co/lootcrate/7731075

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Pokémon Y Wonderlocke -Ep 4 “Refrigerate my Rotom”

In the latest episode, we finally meet up with Professor Sycamore and get an old school starter. We also see Lysandre for the first time and stroll around Luminose City. Hope you enjoy!

Wonderlocke Rules:

1- When a Pokémon faints, it is considered “dead” and cannot be used anymore. It has to be either released or stored in a specified PC Box titled “Cemetery”.

2- You can only capture the first Pokémon you find in every new area and nothing else. If it faints of flees, there are no second chances.

3- The captured Pokémon must be Wondertraded and cannot be used in battle. You can however use the Pokémon obtained from Wonder Trade.

4- If a Pokémon obtained from Wonder Trade is too overpowered or over-leveled, you have 1 of 2 choices. Store it and keep it for later or Wonder Trade it again until a more suitable Pokémon is obtained. This is a one time decision and cannot be reversed.

5- If you receive the same species of Pokémon twice, you may Wonder Trade it again until you get a Pokémon not previously obtained.

6- You must give a nickname to all of the Pokémon you catch, for the sake of forming stronger emotional bonds.

Destiny Beta Week Part 8

Destiny Beta Week Part 8 – Welcome to the Moon & Goobye Beta

This is it, the final episode in our Destiny Beta Week special feature.  Jarrod and Steven hit up the moon, and say goodbye to the Destiny Beta.

Wonderlocke Ep 3

Pokémon Y Wonderlocke!! – Ep 3 “The Garden Maze”

In this episode, we manage to evolve our Scatterbug twice for it to reach the magnificient Vivillion form. We also finally get our exp share and battle a bunch of trainers and advance the story.

Last of Us Remastered Review

The Last of Us Remastered Review

LoURThe Last of Us Remastered (Available exclusively on PlayStation 4)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1 to 8
Genre: Action
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: July 29th, 2014

Parent Talk: The Last of Us is an extremely mature game. It features gratuitous violence and gore, and strong language, as well as many mature themes. This is an adult’s game through and through. Even adults may have a hard time playing this game as it forces one to think of what they might do if put in a similar survival situation.

Plays Like: At its very heart The Last of Us plays a lot like the Uncharted series in that there are light puzzle elements, segments of non-stop action, but the twist here is that there are also lots of areas that require stealth.

Review Basis: Having completed the PS3 original, and having just polished off the PS3 version, I have more than enough experience with the game to pass judgment. I’m currently making my way through the game a second time in the New Game + mode just to maximize my trophy count.

I’m not going to regurgitate everything I mentioned in my review of The Last of Us for the PlayStation 3. Instead I will gladly point you in the direction of said review (http://www.projectcoe.com/2013/06/05/the-last-of-us-review/) which goes into detail on the masterpiece that is The Last of Us. With this review I plan to answer a couple of important questions. They are…

1)      Should I buy this game if I’ve already played the PS3 version?

2)      Should I buy this game if I have never played this game before?

3)      Should I buy this game if I played and hated the original version?

Thankfully for you I can answer the second and third question right now. For those that have never played the PS3 version, hell yes purchase this game right away. It’s that simple. For those that didn’t like the PS3 version, you’re not going to suddenly fall in love with it the second time through, even though it looks and plays slightly better than the original. So ultimately this review needs to answer the first question. Should PS3 owners who loved the game when it was first released last year plunk down the cash for this updated version on the PlayStation 4?

LoUR1The Great:

There have been two major alterations with this PS4 enhanced port of The Last of Us. For starters the game now targets 60 frames-per-second. That’s not to say it always achieves it, but more often than not it does. This makes everything slightly smoother, allows for greater accuracy while aiming, and makes multiplayer feel much more competitive. For purists out there that want to play the game as it was on the PS3, there is an option to allow for locked 30 fps. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me though, as the 60 fps makes a significant improvement over the original.

The second major upgrade is that of the visuals. Everything is now running natively in 1080p. As such textures are sharper, and the world seems to come alive far better than it did on the PlayStation 3. Now don’t expect a complete reworking because this is still very much a PS3 game, just with a much nicer resolution. Most players won’t immediately notice the difference unless they put the PS3 version side-by-side with the PS4 version.

LoUR2The Good:

+ Outside the improved framerate and graphics, I also found the audio to have much more of a punch than it did on the PS3. This has been the case with virtually every PS4 game I’ve played to date. They all sound much better.

+ The Last of Us Remastered also has a great bang for your buck. Not only are you getting the very best version of the single player game, but you’re also getting absolutely all the DLC map packs for the multiplayer portion that were released on the PS3 version. Couple that with the fantastic Left Behind single-player DLC, and damn is this game worth the asking price, even if it is only a year old.

+ The photo mode from infamous: Second Son is featured here, although it has been greatly expanded. There are now filters you can add to the lens to help create some truly inspiring photos.

LoUR3The So-So:

I’m not sure if it’s just me or if it’s because of the improved resolution, but I noticed a few more bugs and anomalies in this version. The odds are they were also in the PS3 version, but I just never noticed them before. Things like missing textures, bizarre blood pooling, and other glitches are all here, and you’ll notice a few other strange things as you make your way through the game.

LoUR4The Lowdown:

The Last of Us was awarded a near-perfect 9.8 when I reviewed it last year, and the game is even better today. Sure there are some bizarre elements such as how the clickers can’t hear or see your AI partners even if they’re literally standing in front of them, but that’s part of the game’s charm now. Whatever elements this game has that may detract from its overall score are countered by its incredible storyline, which remains just as powerful today as it did last year, and the incredible gameplay and visual presentation. This really is a modern day masterpiece, and once again it has been added to my list of the absolute best games of the year. So let’s answer that question, if you played through the PS3 version and loved it, this is an absolute must buy. You’re getting all the DLC, the best version of the single player game released, and here’s the real kicker, you’re being given yet another reason to play this incredible game. What more could you ask for?

Final Score: 10/10  

Destiny Beta Week Part 7

Destiny Beta Week Part 7 – A Look at PvP

I promised you a look at the PvP portion of the Destiny Beta, and well, here it is. There are some really classic moments in this capture the zone game, that I hope you enjoy watching. I’ve got one more video on the Destiny Beta that will be up within the next few days, and that will wrap up our content for this game until it officially retails on September 9th, 2014.

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