Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

If you asked me a couple of months ago about the game Dragon’s Crown I would respond to you with this phrase. “What’s Dragon’s Crown?” Before E3 I had no clue about this game, but during the show I became more aware about this action/role playing adventure. However, most media members were paying more attention to a certain Sorceress’ large rack. Breasts aside, as the professional journalist that I am, I was able to look past the succulent tits and focus in on what’s important. What I can tell you is that beneath all the scrutiny Dragon’s Crown is actually a very entertaining fantasy adventure filled with tons of action as well as satisfaction.

Developed by Vanillaware, most known for games including Odin’s Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dragon’s Crown is a hack-n-slash brawler featuring six adventurers on a quest for the Dragon’s Crown which is said to give them control of a dragon. Considering the fact that I’m a veteran of titles like Golden Axe, Dungeons & Dragons, and numerous Gauntlet games I found myself quite comfortable with the brawling style that’s presented in Dragon’s Crown. The combat moves are very simplistic to perform which never left me frustrated at any point during the game including the epic boss battles. Truth be said, once I started playing Dragon’s Crown I became addicted.

On this adventure six classes were available for me to select from. Right off the bat I chose the Fighter which looks like a badass knight. I was able to customize my character in terms of name, colors, and creative messages (I did a few Gauntlet ones for the nostalgia). The Fighter is more of a “tank” character allowing me to get a feel of the game. Then I started playing as the other characters testing out their unique strengths and weaknesses. Characters including the Dwarf and Amazon are also good starters with their melee and limited magic attacks. As for the other characters the Elf is great at ranged attacks with her bow. The Warrior and Sorceress are both weak in terms of melee attacking, but are awesome with their wide range of powerful magic attacks as well as summoning the dead to fight for them.

Questing in Dragon’s Crown can be achieved in solo gameplay which allows me to work on character progression as well as allowing the selfish part of me to keep all the loot I earn. I can also gain companions that I resurrect from the dead to join me on quests along with a rogue thief to open treasure chests. Of course this game is also even better with a few friends to join in on the adventure. Dragon’s Crown excels with both couch and online co-op for up to four players. There is a catch. The ability to play online is an unlockable option so I needed to gain some experience first before joining others. At first I thought this sucked because I wanted to join the online arena right away, but I guess having some battle experience was much better than questing with a bunch of noobies who’ll die more than actually help.

Now if there’s one thing that I really love about Dragon’s Crown it would have to be the artwork. Game creator and lead artist George Kamitani has created some absolutely stunning hand drawn visuals that are nothing short of breathtaking. When I would clear a room full of enemies I would just take a moment and stare at the beautiful backgrounds in 1080p. Character design is also well done, but also features the game’s biggest scrutiny around mostly female characters like the big breasted Sorceress. Kamitani has stated that he “wanted his game to stand out.” Well congratulations George because you definitely succeeded in that. I know there are people who may not like some of the female poses that look a little oversexed, but honestly it’s just art. The way I see it is that art is meant to be looked at as well as appreciated or even scrutinized. In the case of Kamitani’s depictions of the female body featured here in Dragon’s Crown (from the Sorceress’ huge breasts to other females in rather compromising positions) keep in mind that this is a fantasy game so this shouldn’t be treated as such a big deal. Then again I’m a guy, and I’m sure most females would probably disagree with my opinion.

With all the fun that was had in Dragon’s Crown from all the questing, killing, and looting I did unfortunately have one gripe. When multiple characters were on the screen (either teammates or enemies) things can get quite chaotic as I would lose focus on where I was in the battle. At times battles can get very involving (especially in multiplayer) where there is so much action taking place on the screen. I love seeing all the magic attacks and the huge bosses at the end of each level, but there was a moment or two where I was lost in the shuffle and I didn’t notice where my character was which led to a few cheap deaths as well as a misuse of health potions. Given the fact that I have unlimited lives this concern was only a minor inference, because I was just too busy having fun while collecting some epic loot.

What was once considered “under the radar”, Dragon’s Crown has jolted into the spotlight and it’s praises are well deserved. This fantasy action/role playing game is a lot of fun to play and features nearly endless replay value with multiple difficulties unlocking when completing the game. I also liked the bonus art book (sadly no hardcover) that I received for pre-ordering the game early because the art looks absolutely fantastic. For those who deem the game’s artistic depiction as “gross” or “immature” need to stop being so politically correct, and just desensitize yourself while enjoying the game for what it is.

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Developer: Atlus, Vanillaware
Platform: PlayStation 3
Players: 1-4
Price: $49.99

GAME STATUS: Desmond has died saving the world, and Juno has risen.
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 23 out of 50 (450 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Assassin’s Creed 3 click HERE.

While making my travels through Colonial America I decided to make a quick stop at the local tavern. As I walked inside I realized that I wasn’t alone. No, I’m not talking about the patrons drinking and sharing stories. I’m talking about my horse. Yes, Mr. Ed glitched his way inside the tavern flickering all about, and was blocking my way to the bar so that I can get an ale or two. So I left the tavern in disgust hoping that my horse would leave as well, but low and behold he stuck around flickering everywhere with no intentions of leaving. This eventually led to a the game freezing up on me. This absolutely drove me insane, but this was only a small fraction of the glitches and bugs that Assassin’s Creed 3 brings to the table that also included invisible walls, floating animals, and dead NPCs on the ceiling. Didn’t Ubisoft patch this recently?

I just don’t understand how a title that is this highly anticipated can end up being released to the public in such a mess. I did mention in my review that I felt that there was a “glitch in the Animus.” However, I didn’t think it was going to be this buggy. Now none of these glitches and bugs considered a game breaker, but there were moments where I just wanted to scream out in anger, throw my controller across the room, and stop playing the game. Well, I didn’t. Instead all I did was have a good laugh, skip all the side missions, and quickly trudge my way through the main campaign all the way to the end.

Speaking of the end, let me chime in on the game’s ending. This was one of the shittiest endings to a game that I’ve ever seen in my life. Now let me just state for the record that Desmond is one of the most boring characters in the history of video games, but to this point I’ve been invested in him for five games. The Assassin’s Creed series may focus in on the assassins themselves, but the main story has always been about Desmond. Like I stated in my review “This is Desmond’s story.” However, what really pissed me off what’s how they end his story. Desmond goes from being a bartender, to an assassin, to dead. What the fuck! Desmond saves the world, but dies like a useless bitch. The ending even chimes in on having to make a choice, but the choice is already made for me with Desmond dying. What Ubisoft Montreal should have done was allow me to make my own damn choice instead.

Now I know that part of this final cut has turned into quite a rant, but there was a couple of features I really enjoyed about Assassin’s Creed 3. One would be the backdrop of the American Revolution. Chatting it up with historic American figures including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere was amazing. It almost made me feel like I was a part of history. The other feature is the naval missions which helped break up the monotony of just running around and killing. Captaining the Aquilla was amazing as I would deploy the sails for navigation and speed and man the cannons in battle. In a way I felt like I was channeling my inner pirate as I would give orders to destroy British ships. I was addicted to naval missions. Sometimes I would take a break between trudging my way through the campaign just to head to the Harbormaster so I can get back on my boat. maybe Ubisoft can make a game just using this concept, because it would kick ass.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE LEFT FOR ME TO SEE IN THE ANIMUS?

With the Animus glitching the way it is, and Desmond already meeting his rather unfortunate fate, I would say that returning to this Animus is not feasible. Now when Assassin’s Creed 4 arrives my opinion will quickly change, although with Desmond dead I wonder who will be next in line to step up. Maybe it will be Desmond’s bastard father. Perhaps there is another assassin out there. My other question is where will the Animus take me. The French Revolution? The Civil War? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Overall, Assassin’s Creed 3 was a pretty decent game, but not worth all the countless hype it received. Remember the trailers where Connor carved his way through waves of British soldiers just to get to his target? Well that wasn’t in the game. I really wanted that. Instead what I got was a game that was a big step below my favorite game in this series, Assassin’s Creed 2. Time for Ubisoft to head back to the drawing board and start planning out the next adventure. This time make sure you have a better ending.

Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-8 (online multiplayer)
Price: $59.99

What happens when you load the screen with some of the biggest action movie stars in the history of film? Well what I got was the most explosive movie of the summer. Maybe these guys do belong in a museum, but for now they still can kick some major ass on the big screen with The Expendables 2.

A big step up from the “meh” first movie, The Expendables 2 continues the story with America’s biggest and baddest mercenaries, led by Sylvester Stallone , on another mission to take down another villain out to take over the world, or at least try to make a lot of money. This villain is played by none other than the legendary Jean Claude Van Damme. Of course he’s not the only attraction. “Lone Wolf” Chuck Norris returns in a limited role and Arnold Schwarzenegger is “back” and he’s going to let you know it quite a few times.

Along for the explosive ride includes Jason Statham and his collection of knives, Terry Crews and his badass auto shotgun, Dolph Lundgren who shows a he’s also quite intelligent and not just a grunt, MMA star Randy Couture who is the butt of more ear jokes, and Jet Li who let’s wannabe enemies know that if he runs out of ammo then he’ll kick your ass with a pair of frying pans. Sadly Li is only around for the first twenty minutes of the movie. Bruce Willis also returns and plays a larger role letting everyone know that he’s more than just talk. Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan round out the cast and fill in quite well with the regulars.

So what really impressed me about the movie. Well there were many things. One would be that this movie brought me back to the action movies of the past. Thin on plot and filled with tons of bullets, blood, and lots dead bodies. The body count is much higher in this movie, and I might have noticed the same guy die more than once in a few scenes. I also liked all the action especially Jason Statham who was dressed as a monk and said “I now pronounce you man and knife” and then proceeded to kick ass. Chuck Norris impressed me the most with his limited role. The “Chuck Norris Rules” were clearly in effect and he even made fun of himself with a “Chuck Norris Joke.” What really put it over the top for me was seeing other characters using the specific actors catch phrases. Hilarious!

What disappointed me about the first Expendables movie was that there were plenty of down moments in between the action which bored me at times until the explosive finale. With the gloves off this time The Expendables 2 runs on an even keel with plenty of action throughout the adventure and plenty of jokes  making for a fun popcorn movie. There’s literally no downers to give me that “meh” feeling which meant more smiles and laughs and a great time at the movie theater.

The Expendables 2 is more than just an action movie. It’s a celebration of everything we love in an over the top action movie. The battle and fight scenes are brilliant especially with the final battle between Sylvester Stallone and Jean Claude Van Damme. Would I watch this movie again? Hell yes! The only question that I have is how they can top what was done in this movie if there’s a third movie? Then again who will star in the third movie, because they’re starting to run out of older action stars.

GAME STATUS: Saved Princess Daphne using both a controller and Kinect multiple times
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 3 out of 12 (50 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade click HERE.

For what feels like the millionth time, I’ve stormed the castle, killed countless goons, avoided many traps, and stared at the face of death while constantly dying. All of this for the love of Princess Daphne who I took out on a date on June 19 all for the low price of one achievement and 30 gamerscore. What a deal! I feel so dirty now.

Ever since the release of the classic Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade, I’ve been completely addicted to Don Bluth’s animated adventure of the heroic, and yet sometimes clumsy knight, Dirk the Daring. Whether I was jumping around and slashing my arms using the Kinect, or just using the controller when I felt lazy, Dragon’s Lair never had me bored. Never has the thought crossed my mind thinking “haven’t I beat the game over a million times across multiple platforms already? It’s not like anything new is going to pop up.” Of course that’s the moment when I’m not paying attention and unfortunately die…again. Well at least the princess is rather forgiving unlike most women in this world.

With the many times I’ve played I had to come to a conclusion about how I wanted to enjoy Dragon’s Lair on XBLA. Sure it’s billed as a Kinect game, but I really enjoyed it more with the controller. The Kinect was more forgiving with how I approached the game as I jumped around and used some arm movements, yet for some reason I didn’t want to feel like a retard when playing. It just felt too gimmicky. Honestly, Dragon’s Lair was meant for the controller, and it punished me quickly for making a mistake unlike when I used the Kinect. Good thing I had unlimited continues or else this quest would be really short just like when I was at the arcades playing.

SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR PRINCESS DAPHNE?

As far as I’m concerned, the evil dragon Singe can continue to kidnap Princess Daphne all he wants, becasue I’ll continue to save her. As I stated before Dragon’s Lair never bored me at all so I plan to continue my quest to save the princess, and continue my “achievement whore” addiction by scoring some much needed achievements by dying. Now if you’ll excuse me, my quest awaits.

Publisher: Digital Leisure
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-2
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)

GAME STATUS: Quest Completed
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 45 out of 61 (875 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Click HERE.

The realm is safe once again. Tirnoch has been destroyed (quite easily I might add), Dead Kel is no longer a threat, and the Kollossae are free. The people can rest easy once again. Well not too easy considering the fact that there are plenty of baddies still in the woods, and there’s that part where I’m not in the good graces of the Warsworn. So I killed all the heads of the guild. You would think they would’ve forgiven me by now. Besides, the townspeople all forgiven me after constant looting, pickpocketing, and the occasional mass murder. Just another day in Amalur.

Resurrected from the depths of the dead sure worked out for me in this game. Throughout my adventure I felt like a death dealer as I destroyed everything in my path sort of like Kratos from God of War or even Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden. No enemy was safe from my hack and slash combo attacks along with some badass magic to boot. This was my favorite part of playing the game. No matter how tough an enemy was (couldn’t find one four levels higher than me to get that achievement) they still met the end of my blade or the blunt of my hammer making for some satisfying moments.

While I really enjoyed kicking ass on the screen, I did have a few problems. One has to do with all the bland dialog. Maybe I’m not too big on the whole fantasy angle, but the storyline at times really had me bored which led to me falling asleep for short periods only to wake up hoping that the dialog ended and the combat begun. Amalur is a loooong game, and when sleepiness started setting in between all the constant grinding that led to a big negative in the overall picture. Good thing I could press the “X” button to skip through the boredom faster.

I also had a problem with the game’s literally easy difficulty. I never met an RPG that was so light on the difficulty, and no I wasn’t playing on “easy” if your thinking that. Sure disposing a group of six to seven enemies at one time led to frustrating moments of being hit in all directions before using my “Reckoning” ability making everything super simple along with lots of XP. Even the bosses like the super-screen sized slug Balor met his end pretty quickly with no challenge whatsoever. That was really disappointing when all you have to do is hack the long nails when he sticks them into the ground. Even the final boss Tirnoch was no challenge. Sad.

AMALUR’S FINAL FATE

While my character had no fate, this game certainly did. After spending what felt like a few hundred hours traveling, discovering, committing crimes in front of a small audience, and easily dispatching foes in the heat of battle I felt that my time was done. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is fun, but I can’t see myself going through another quest. I might end up sleeping all day. My copy of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will now lie on the used game shelf for someone else to play. The ending was left open for further expansion, but due to the layoffs of 38 Studios and Big Huge Games (now a part of Epic Baltimore) we may never get to see a sequel.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Big Huge Games, 38 Studios
Players: 1
Price: $59.99

Originally released back in 1983, Dragon’s Lair has been ported to every video game console, PC, and multimedia platform known to man. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years then you should know what this game is. The story of Dirk the Daring who’s out to save the lovely princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe. Despite it’s ancient age (in gaming years) Dragon’s Lair still has that nostalgic fever that fans, including myself, crave. I’ve always wanted to play Dragon’s Lair since seeing the attract screen play over and over in the arcades as a kid, but I didn’t want to spend one dollar a credit just to have my ass handed to me because I didn’t know what to do. Over the years I got over that fear and I’ve played the game having lots of fun I the process. Now it’s arrived on Xbox Live Arcade and I couldn’t wait to go on the nostalgic adventure once again.

Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade can be played in two ways. Obviously one way is to use the controller. The other is the way is how the game is advertised…with Kinect. Now I had my reservations on seeing how Dragon’s Lair would hold up by utilizing the Kinect. So I played the games using both peripherals. Of course, there’s also the option of watching the whole ten minutes of animation as a movie, but why would I want to do that? I paid for the game to interact with it and not just watch it.


Now if I had to choose what way to play Dragon’s Lair on the Xbox 360 I would have to go with the controller. I found it more comfortable for me to use as I would move through each quick time event with the D-pad for movements and the A button for the sword. While I may have chosen the controller let me assure you that the Kinect is no slouch. Playing this game with Kinect sure is a workout as I put up a sweat from jumping around and flailing my arm. There is also a few moments where the Kinect camera would take pictures of my actions. Both ways are fun, but I have to mention that the game’s achievements really cater more towards using the controller. Speaking of achievements, you might notice that they mostly center around you dying which is something you’ll be doing a lot of in this game unless your really good at it in Hard mode.

The game may be too old to most, but Dragon’s Lair is a treasure that everyone will love. It definitely fits as a break between shooters, or for those who use the Kinect for other reasons like dancing and exercise programs. I had a lot of fun as I felt that nostalgic rush, and plan to play it again and again just to beat my high score. Don Bluth’s cartoony adventure is a classic, and it’s safe to assume that more could possibly be on the way with Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp and Space Ace. Alright, enough talking…my quest awaits.

Publisher: Digital Leisure
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-2
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)

Pros:
Three classic Devil May Cry games in one package
All three games look great in HD
Gameplay is both fun and challenging

Cons:
Camera system still out of whack
Not everything is upgraded in HD
No main menu to change games unless you restart

Since 2001, the Devil May Cry series has been something special on the Playstation 2. The first game hooked me right in with it’s over the top sword and gunplay action. Tossing enemies up into the air with my sword and then blasting them to death with my dual handguns never got old. Some of the lines were a little cheesy at times when Dante was ready to kick some ass, but this series was not about dialog. It was about hacking and slashing with style and it was fun. Lately there have been some changes with a reboot along with a new style and younger looking emo-Dante. With such a radical change on the horizon, this HD collection serves up everything that we loved about the series…except for maybe Devil May Cry 2.

The Devil May Cry HD Collection is a three game set of Dante’s adventures all which were exclusively featured on the Playstation 2. The series’ only rivals at the time was the God of War games also on the PS2 and Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox. Talk about some good company. The main story centered around the main character Dante, the son of Sparda, who had the huge task of eliminating the demons of the underworld with his sword and trademark handguns Ebony and Ivory. Along with his apparent cocky attitude and an ass kicking nature in mind, Dante accomplished just that all in style. Besides all the action, the series also featured plenty of puzzle solving reminiscent of the Resident Evil series. Overall, each game was fun and filled with some memorable moments.

One of the biggest changes with this unique collection is the graphical HD upgrades giving the games a more modern look to them. These upgrades are noticeable in character design, some backgrounds, and in a few of the cutscenes. Of course not everything is in HD. There are some moments where some of the pre-rendered cutscenes and digital presentation looks aged and very dated. This is not a deal breaker in any way because this package is all about the nostalgia so even the standard and somewhat blocky resolutions here and there will not affect the reason why we played the game…it’s fun gameplay.

The stylish combat with swords and guns alike was the staple for the Devil May Cry games. Add on to the fact that you can use magical attacks for that extra “wow” factor and what you have is action/adventure brilliance. So many times have I walked into a room with a ton of enemies or even a boss encounter and thought to myself about how cool it would be to whoop some serious ass and score some cool combos (which you are rated on your performance), except this time I can now score an achievement or two in the process. Sadly, I wished that Capcom would have went back and worked on the camera angles, because they still are a distraction at times when in a tough fight.

As I first started playing this collection (starting with DMC 3, because that game is awesome), I once again found myself immersed in the demon slaying world. Swinging my sword and shooting my guns scoring awesome combos was so much fun once again. This was a series I really missed, and DMC 4 just didn’t do it for me either. I truly enjoyed the originals even though DMC 2 kinda sucked back then. Nowadays, I can  come to grips with that sequel and find time to enjoy it even if the main reason I purchased this collection was to play the original and DMC 3.

The nostalgia is what will bring in the fans, but it’s the gameplay that will keep you playing over and over again. It may even bring in a new gamer or two that have never played the series before. Devil May Cry HD Collection offers tons of gameplay for the small price and it’s well worth it. Maybe even those who disliked Devil May Cry 2 will find a way to enjoy the game we all wanted to forget at that time. Overall, Devil May Cry HD Collection is a definite buy for the fans, but is good buy for everyone else as well.