Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

The Red Hood Lives in Batman: Arkham Knight

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Jason Todd, a.k.a. The Red Hood, may be making his debut in the “Arkhamverse” next year.

American gamers who order Batman: Arkham Knight via Gamestop will have access to exclusive character missions featuring the character, in addition to the ones already announced for Harley Quinn.

In the DC Comics Universe, The Red Hood was the criminal identity adopted by The Joker before the accident that turned him into a maniacal clown. In 2005, The Red Hood identity was taken up by Jason Todd. As a youngster Todd had succeeded Dick Grayson as Robin alongside Batman, but was tragically murdered by The Joker. When he returned from the dead, he took up his killer’s former moniker.

While it’s unclear whether the “Arkhamverse” version of The Red Hood will indeed be Jason Todd, the character’s appearance is indeed vaguely similar to the costume Jason currently wears in the comics.

Source and Image: Newsarama

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A Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review – Preparing For Pain

TITLE: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
PLATFORMS: PS3, PS4, 360, One
DEVELOPER:
Kojima Productions
PUBLISHER:
Konami
ESRB:
RELEASED: 
March 18, 2014

By Scott Siebert
Contributor, Mastermind

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is an oddity. The game is meant to serve as a bridge between Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which will be released in 2015 (hopefully). Whether you view it as a prologue or part one, Ground Zeroes is essentially DLC that is released before the actual game. Ground Zeroes is a gamble on (Metal Gear creator) Hideo Kojima’s part. While the game could excite fans for The Phantom Pain, it could easily turn them off and hurt the franchise’s future.

Fortunately for Kojima, Ground Zeroes moves the series forward in a big way, and has me very excited for the next title. The game’s world is extremely tight, and the graphics are beautiful (even on my 360). Ground Zeroes offers diverse terrain, with each part of the map offering unique gameplay, challenging the player to adapt to their surroundings. Enemies move and react in realistic ways, and things such as water and light play an even bigger role in the stealth series. The game world feels similar to Metal Gear Solid 3, with a strong mixture of natural and urban settings.

Metal Gear has traditionally forced players down a fairly restricted path, but the latest installment opens the map up so the player can choose the path that best suits their style. This provides gamers with a wide variety of strategies for the mission, and the world feels truly alive. The stealth mechanics are as strong as always, but the gunplay feels even stronger. Snake is able to run and gun, and the rigidity that has previously characterized the series combat has been replaced with newfound fluidity. Every gameplay element has been improved and integrated together, which makes for a far more cohesive game.

While Metal Gear is known for overly convoluted and bombastic stories, Ground Zeroes skips the philosophy and instead focuses on the characters. The story is fairly straightforward, with a strong emphasis on preparing the player for The Phantom Pain. Those who have not played Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will not feel a strong connection to the campaign, as the story revolves around locating Paz and Chico. Even for those who did play Peace Walker, the only player who gets extensive screen time is Snake, which makes it difficult to care about any of the other characters, and limits the emotional impact of the game’s violent end.

Ground Zeroes has a few annoying flaws. Kiefer Sutherland replaces fan favorite David Hayter as Snake. Sutherland injects new emotion into the character, but at times he seems to lapse into a Jack Bauer-esque performance. This is to some extent inevitable, but I nonetheless dread the first time Snake screams “DAMN IT” in The Phantom Pain. The game map is also somewhat hard to follow, as the player indicator at time seems to blend into the rest of the display. The ability to spin and manipulate the map also causes more confusion than clarity. More casual gamers will be turned off by the game’s difficulty. Metal Gear has always been accessible to casual gamers by offering lower difficulty settings and forgiving game mechanics, but Ground Zeroes does away with these. There is no easy setting, and the absence of radar makes it easy to lose track of the enemies. While this will appeal to hardcore gamers and longtime fans of the series, I imagine Ground Zeroes will cause more than a few rage quits.

The biggest issue with Ground Zeroes is its length. Numerous articles have already been written on this issue, and there are already YouTube videos of the main quest being completed in under 10 minutes. The average gamer can probably complete the game in about 2 hours. Depending on how much you explore and the number of side-ops you do, you can probably get between 5-10 hours out of the whole thing. If it were a linear action game this critique would have a lot more weight, but considering the amount of freedom the player has, the replay value is high. Because of this, it might be better to say that the game is as long or short as the player chooses to make it. The game world is extremely well crafted, and I’d rather spend two hours in a well-made game than 20 hours in a generic one.

Considering the length, the $20 price tag is probably a little steep. Ignoring the cost however, the game moves the franchise in a fresh new direction and offers a few hours outstanding gameplay. Diehard Metal Gear fans will enjoy the game, and it should tide them over until they can get their hands on The Phantom Pain.

RATING: 8/10

Front page image from edge-online.com. Image 1 from dualshockers.com. Image 2 from gamespot.com.

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Blatant Insubordination: Thoughts From the Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer

**WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY LAY AHEAD. BUT LET’S FACE IT, IF YOU’RE READING THIS, CHANCES ARE YOU’VE FINISHED THAT GAME ALREADY. AND IF YOU HAVEN’T, RUN, DO NOT WALK, TO ACQUIRE AND PLAY THAT GAME.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Batman: Arkham City was one of those rare things in life that actually lived up to the hype. It turned out to be as good, if not better, than what most of us envisioned. And the ending, by God the ending…

The death of the Joker, inside the very theater young Bruce Wayne attended with his parents on the night of their murder. The Joker stabs Batman, causing him to drop the very antidote The Joker needs to survive his Titan poisoning. It was masterfully written in a way that almost invokes The Killing Joke

Batman: “Do you want to know something funny? Even after everything you’ve done, I would have saved you.”
Joker: “(laughs, then begins to cough) “Actually, that is…(coughs, and begins to choke)…pretty funny.”

The scene, which is masterfully performed by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamillends with The Joker passing away with a smile on his face. Batman then carries his body out of the theater in front of various onlookers, and refuses to answer Commissioner Gordon’s simple question of: “What happened?”

As if that weren’t enough of an ending, various Easter eggs indicated Harley Quinn was, in fact, pregnant with a child that is presumably The Joker’s. Throw in some cryptic comments from Azrael (“From the ashes of Arkham, fires will rage and Gotham will burn.”), and you’ve got a gaming experience that left fans wanting a hell of a lot more.

And now, more is finally here…

So…am I a total troll if I say I’m kind of disappointed?

From a visual standpoint, the trailer certainly looks fantastic, though we’re obviously not seeing gameplay footage. It’s definitely cool to see the Arkham incarnations of the Penguin, Two-Face, and a most certainly not pregnant Harley Quinn. Though the game supposedly takes place a year after City, so I suppose she could have had the baby and gotten on one of those celebrity weight-loss programs. That’s obviously the Scarecrow’s voice at the beginning, what with all the “darkest fears” talk. Also, Thomas Wayne’s line about how “I will not see you grow into the good man you will become,” suggests he knew his life was about to come to an end when he wrote his will.

This is all interesting stuff. And if this were, say, the first chapter in the Arkham saga, this would be an awesome trailer. But here’s the thing…they ignored the most important stuff that happened at the end of Arkham City! Fans have been speculating for over two years about whether the Joker is actually dead, and the trailer doesn’t even reference it! No cuts to a Joker card stained with blood, no hints at the uncertainty about where the body ended up (see Harley Quinn’s Revenge), no word about any Joker demon spawn, nothing!

By the time the trailer wrapped, my response, in essence, was that I’d just seen a bunch of cool Batman stuff. But unlike the trailers for Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, it didn’t leave me salivating for the adventure to come. I think that’s what fans have come to expect from the Arkham series. So at the end of the day, what I’ve seen so far has left me feeling pretty flat, and not nearly as interested as I could/should be.

Now, needless to say, all is not lost. We don’t even know when the game is hitting shelves yet (Though presumably it’ll be in the fall, right?). Reportedly, Kevin Conroy is indeed back as Batman. And this united group of supervillains waging war on city could indeed result in the “fires will rise and Gotham will burn” scenario that Azrael mentioned in Arkham City.

I’m certainly not naive enough to think The Joker won’t be around in Arkham Knight. For cryin’ out loud, the entire Arkham series is based on the rivalry between the Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince. He’s got to be there. I’m just disappointed they didn’t give us that great hook to pull us into what is supposedly the final chapter in the Arkham series…

The final chapter, huh? So what does that really mean? At the very least, I expect that this’ll be Rocksteady’s last trip to Gotham City. As great as their Batman games have been, I’ve got no problem with that. That company has nothing left to prove in this arena. They’ve created the definitive model upon which most future Batman games will likely be based. So let’s let somebody else take the wheel and see what happens.

I just hope this isn’t the last we see of the Arkham continuity. Between the various continuity questions and confusions raised by the New 52, and Christopher Nolan putting a definitive end to his Batman film series, the Arkham universe is probably my favorite canon at this point. It’s got enough pieces of the “Diniverse” (i.e. Paul Dini stuff) to make it feel like an extension of Batman: The Animated Series. But at the same time, it’s not afraid to do it’s own thing, and set itself apart. Perhaps I’m asking too much, but I say let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water when it comes time for the next Batman game. At the very least, it’ll ensure Kevin Conroy continues to provide the voice for Batman every couple of years.

Ah yes…voice actors. Let’s discuss The Joker for a moment, shall we?

Troy Baker did a fine job in Arkham Origins. The guy was in an extremely tough position having to follow Mark Hamill. He essentially had to impersonate Hamill’s Joker, as opposed to putting his own spin on the character. But to his credit, he did about as well as anyone could have hoped. And if it’s him that voices The Joker in Arkham Knight, I’ll be fine with that.

But what if…what if

Mark Hamill said he was done playing The Joker after Arkham City, and The Joker died in Arkham City, so it all worked out. But if The Joker ends up getting resurrected  in Arkham Knight

PLEASE, Mark? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE????? Just one more time, and I’ll never bug you about it again! I promise! No, really! It’s for real this time! I’ll stop tweeting you! I’ll stop emailing you! I’ll stop calling your house! I’ll stop ringing your doorbell at four in the morning…

Pretty please?

Front page image/image 2 from newsarama.com. Image 1 from batman.wikia.com. Image 3 from playstationer.com. 

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Batman: Arkham Knight Announced, Trailer Debuts

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

News broke his week that Batman: Arkham Knight, the next, and reportedly final game in the Arkham series, will be released later this year. The trailer is embedded below.

The game is set for release on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and was developed  by Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It’s official description follows…

“In the explosive finale to the Arkham series, Batman faces the ultimate threat against the city he is sworn to protect. The Scarecrow returns to unite an impressive roster of super villains, including Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn, to destroy The Dark Knight forever. Batman: Arkham Knight introduces Rocksteady’s uniquely designed version of the Batmobile, which is drivable for the first time in the franchise. The addition of this legendary vehicle, combined with the acclaimed gameplay of the Batman Arkham series, offers gamers the ultimate and complete Batman experience as they tear through the streets and soar across the skyline of the entirety of Gotham City.”

Source: Newsarama

Image courtesy of bleedingcool.com.

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Riddler and Lady Shiva to be Featured in Batman: Arkham Origins

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This weekend, IGN discovered the Riddler will be featured in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins video game, as will a character that is new to the franchise: Lady Shiva.

In Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, as a side mission players can collect various Riddler trophies scattered across the game. Only by collecting every trophy can players finally catch the villain. This will evidently be a side mission in Arkham Origins as well.

Lady Shiva will be featured as one of eight assassins who’ve been hired by Black Mask to kill Batman on Christmas Eve. In the DC Comics universe, Shiva is one of the deadliest assassins alive, whose martial arts skills arguably surpass even Batman’s. She has most recently been seen in the pages of Nightwing.

Batman: Arkham Origins comes out October 25.

Source: ComingSoon.net
Image from batman.wikia.com.

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Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Launch Trailer Hits the Web

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is available for download via XBox Live Arcade and Steam this week, and to coincide, Nerdist has released a launch trailer for the game.

The game is described as having a hyper-realistic, true-to-life style, yet is clearly influenced by the Nickelodeon cartoon. Developed by Red Fly Studio, the game will be available for Playstation 3 and PC later this year.

Source: ComingSoon.net
Front page image from facebook.com/TMNTOutOfTheShadows. 

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Martian Manhunter and John Stewart DLC Coming to Injustice: Gods Among Us

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

As this new trailer reveals, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern John Stewart will soon be available for Injustice: Gods Among Us via downloadable content.

The trailer is “officially” designated as Martian Manhunter’s, but obviously the Green Lantern we see in the trailer is John Stewart, as opposed to Hal Jordan.

No release date or price has been announced.

Front page image from injusticegodsamongus.wikia.com.

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New Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Trailer Spotlights Leonardo

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

A new teaser for the upcoming video game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, has been released, featuring the leader of the team, Leonardo.

Scheduled for an August 2013 release, the downloadable game will be available for Playstation 3, XBox 360 and PC. The game was developed by Red Fly, and will be published by Activision. It will feature a four-player co-op mode.

Trailers featuring the other Turtles have also been released. They are embedded below.

Front page image from facebook.com/TMNTOutOfTheShadows. 

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Cracking Down on Nintendo’s YouTube Crack Down

By John Flickinger
Staff Writer, Coffee Fiend

Nintendo hasn’t been doing well lately. They’ve been reporting losses, and the Wii-U isn’t performing as well as they would like. It’s third party support is also less than impressive at the moment. Still, it’s very early in the hardware cycle, and they might bounce back. But Nintendo has started making some questionable decisions.

They’re claiming ownership over the ad revenue that comes from YouTube videos containing footage of Nintendo’s games. I realize they may be looking for new revenue streams, but the people making these videos are giving Nintendo one of the most valuable forms of advertising possible. If they start going through with thi,s those same people will likely switch over to other platforms and ignore Nintendo’s games altogether.

Most people who post video game-related clips on YouTube do it for fun. But it still takes time, and some people are entertaining enough that they can make a living off of posting video game footage with commentary. Those are the people who rely on monetizing their videos due to the costs involved in making them, and those are also the people who are producing quality content about Nintendo’s products. This is essentially a form of valuable and free advertising.

Modern gamers use YouTube videos to decide whether they want to buy a game or not. When they see a lot of people playing the game and having fun, that footage directly influences their purchasing decisions. Is the ad revenue from those videos really worth the potential loss in sales? These professional commentators won’t be playing their games if they can’t monetize them, and those videos with the quality commentary and in-depth analysis will be going to other games on platforms that let the people creating, recording, editing, and posting those videos to keep their ad revenue. This is a really bad idea.

If the only available video footage for a game consists of a trailer, and some poor quality videos made by non-professionals it’s going to be a lot harder to decide whether or not to make a purchase. It’s showing that the company is out of touch with its consumer base which is sad, because Nintendo should be doing better than this. They’ve been a huge name in the video game industry for so long, yet their future is uncertain.

Front page image/image 1 from nintendo-master.com. Image 2 from cnet.com. 

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Batman and Deathstroke Face Off In Arkham Origins Teaser

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Batman and Deathstroke do battle in the first teaser trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins, which hit the web this week.

A prequel to the best-selling Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City games, Origins sees eight of the world’s best assassins come to Gotham City to hunt the Dark Knight. While the Joker is conspicuous by his absence, the game will feature familiar characters such as Alfred Pennyworth, James Gordon, Black Mask and the Penguin.

Front page image from shacknews.com.
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