Crispy Gamer

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          When I heard I was going to be reviewing Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, old memories of the castle crawling franchise came rushing back to my mind: the labyrinthine corridors, the epic tunes, Dracula… good times, those were.  It is with those memories in mind that I can say the series’ latest incarnation is a Castlevania in name only.

          While LoS immediately differs from the series norm by opting for a third dimension; that design choice is not the object of my scorn.  As opposed to essentially every (good) Castlevania since Symphony of the Night, LoS features a streamlined game progression utilizing a level system.  Start at point A, fight way to point B, and advance to next level.  That tingly sense of adventure you felt when you opened your map for the first time only to see a vast, empty screen? ...

  • CARY, North Carolina – Epic Games lifted the veil off the multiplayer options for its much-anticipated Gears of War 3 at its newly-expanded Cary, North Carolina headquarters. One of the big games of 2011 will come home early, despite the recent five-month delay for the Xbox 360 game. Epic is releasing a free public Beta for Gears of War 3 multiplayer that will allow gamers to dive into some of the new maps and game modes, while giving Epic a chance to receive feedback that will actually be used to improve the game as they focus on polishing the final game in the trilogy with the extra development time. Jim Brown, lead level designer on Gears of War 3 at Epic Games, talks about the new multiplayer in this exclusive interview.

    What impact will the recent delay of Gears of War 3 have on the game?

    A big philosophical thing for our design department is to accept how people play the game online regularly and embrace the tactics that we see in...

  • Resident Evil: Afterlife has earned over $210 million worldwide and is still opening in new territories, paving the way for a fifth film in the videogame franchise. Writer/director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson has parlayed his love of videogames into a successful film career. His low-budget Resident Evil video game adaptation launched a film franchise that has no end in sight. The director, who also brought the AVP: Alien vs. Predator and Mortal Kombat game franchises to the big screen, has had success infusing films like Event Horizon and Death Race with action and horror elements from games.

    With Resident Evil: Afterlife, Anderson, who has written and produced all four films, returned to the director’s chair for the first 3D video game adaptation. Anderson, who used the same Fusion camera system that James Cameron pioneered for Avatar, added some new bells and whistles to the technology, including a NASA Phantom camera system that introduces slow-motion 3D action...

  • There’s Chaos at Sea, but the new season of the hit Discovery Channel show hasn’t even started filming. Come October 15th, when the new season of crab fishing begins, the seventh season of the TV series will be without Captains Sig Hansen and Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand and their boats, the Northwestern and the Time Bandit. All three of those captains and their boats will be in the new Deadliest Catch: Chaos at Sea Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii game shipping this November.

    Discovery Channel sued the Hillstrands for $3 million last month for not completing work on a spin-off show, “Hillstranded.” The spin-off show was partially filmed, but required voiceovers and additional interviews. That lawsuit led to the departure of three of the captains, including fan favorite Sig Hansen.

    “Deadliest Catch” was enjoying its best ratings in history thanks to the overwhelming support from fans, and the media, surrounding the...

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         Yesterday, Electronic Arts announced that they are removing the Taliban from their soon to be released Medal of Honor game, but only as playable characters.  Executive producer Greg Goodrich had this to say:

         "In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor.  We've received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas.  The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  For this, the Medal of Honor team is deeply appreciative."

         Oh?  Well, awesome!  People support the game "overwhelmingly," so what's the problem?

         "However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who...

  • NEW YORK CITY -- After topping $621 million in the global box office, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 has come home to Blu-ray Disc and DVD with a slew of special features from Paramount Home Entertainment. One of the men behind the iron suit, Marvel Comics scribe Matt Fraction (The Invincible Iron Man), worked with Favreau on the film and helped game publisher Sega craft an original interactive story. He talks about the new Blu-ray Disc and the game that’s available for multiple platforms in this exclusive interview.

    How did you get involved with the Iron Man 2 videogame?

    Well, I write the comic. I believe the filmmakers liked the comic and so they had me out to talk about the film. I’m a gamer, and it’s not a secret at Marvel that I game. I was an intersection point where they could use someone like me to make sure the flavor of Iron Man was as they came to the game. I helped add the grain and the texture to it that...

  • Atari has released their re-imagined Haunted House game for Steam download and on the Wii. How does this game fare? Recently, I had chance to get a quick walkthrough of the game by Lead Producer (and model for the main character) Roland Lesterlin.

    First a little bit of history: The original Haunted House on the Atari 2600 was all about mood. In that game, you controlled a pair of frightened eyes, wandering around in the dark, dodge ghosts and bats, occationally finding candles to get you through the pitch-black maze.

    The re-imagined version is, as you would expect, much more detailed and colorful. The name of the game is still maze-crawling but this time, you wander through an actual mansion, discovering increasingly more complex puzzles, collecting tons of helpful items along the way. And unlike the original Haunted House, eventually you will...

  • Many fans of the all consuming monstrosity that is World of Warcraft have pre-ordered its newest expansion Cataclysm from Amazon.com, and recently a number of them received emailed messages foretelling the expansion’s oh so secret release date. This was originally announced over at Kotaku(credit where credit’s due) where fans sent in emails about getting this magical glimpse into the future of addiction. I must assume our fans have done the same and it’s only a finicky spam filter that’s keeping our Inbox empty at the moment (it’s not delusion, its coping!)

    That magical date is…(drum roll)…

    When it’s done!

    Wait, sorry, that’s the ETA for the next Star Craft 2 game (which I hope to see sometime before I get my first mortgage and then finally pay it off). The actual date for Cataclysm is early to mid January 2011. Apparently the dates shift around by about a week, but they all say the same thing. Is this true? Well, we’ll probably find out this month at BlizzCon...

  • I've always loved the LEGO games, and LEGO Universe takes it to a whole new level. It looks to me like World of Warcraft in a LEGO world, and I think I'd be completely satisfied with that. I've seen the PC release date of October 26 attached to this game, though there are still details missing for such a close release window, like subscription fee, for example. They keep referring to the game as focused on "all ages", specifically citing the 8-10-year-old age group, so this may be more of a casual MMO, though I imagine they'll have some crazy end-game stuff for older players.

    Part 1:

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  • Okamiden arrives on DS in Japan today, so I thought we could celebrate with some preview videos they've put out. I loved Okami on Wii (I've never played the PS2 version), but feel like using a stylus to physically draw the brush strokes will greatly enhance the game. As far as I'm concerned, this is a must-have for any DS owner. 

    Okamiden Japanese TV Spot:

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  • The more I see of this game the more excited I become for it. It just looks like classic Disney with an edge, a kind of counterbalance to Kingdom Hearts. I like the direction they've taken the game in and can't wait to play it.

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  • I load up Elemental: War of Magic not really knowing what to expect. I actually heard about the game through a friend and together we pieced through the tidbits of pre-release information, slowly growing more excited. It's been a busy month but I was finally able to sit down and starting playing this game (sorry Civ 5, I'll get back to you as soon as I can!).

    You start out by creating a "Sovereign", who acts as your nation's leader and hero. The character creator is adequate on visual customization, if not robust. The stats are a bit of a guessing game at first, but then that's the case with most RPGs that require you to build a character from scratch. One feature I do like is that you can spend your initial points on various things, from specific magic focuses to big-bonus traits to starting equipment. That alone makes the character creator quite versatile and I could already tell that I would have great fun just coming up with different...

  • October 5th will see the release of the next big add-on for the Left 4 Dead series. The prequel to the add-on mission “The Passing” which saw the cast of both games meeting for the first time and the tragic death of one of the original crew; “The Sacrifice” will change things up a little. Unlike “The Passing”, which was an add-on for Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) only, “The Sacrifice” will be available for both games. The events of “The Sacrifice” will tell of the events that lead to “The Passing” from the POV of the original characters. The big draw here, other than it being a new L4D level, is that it will allow players to decide which of the original...

  • You know that you could have gotten that headshot - if only you didn't have to share your flat screen with your three roommates.  Well, now you can reclaim that visual real estate, while still PWNing your buddies.

    For a small fee, World Gamer Nation will come to you (as long as you live in the Long Island or New York Tri-State area) and setup up to 16 XBOX 360s, 23" HD monitors, a network, tables, chairs, and, apparently, some delightful vinyl table clothes. Three, six, and twelve-hour packages are available, and you can pay extra for more time or consoles.

    While online multiplayer and matchmaking has come a long way, still, nothing can quite compare with the thrill of fragging your buddy while sitting just across the table from him.

  • Announced yesterday, the Nintendo 3DS will be released in Japan this coming February for the yen equivalent of $300 USD.

    The 3DS box will include a charging stand, AC adapter, touch pen, 2GB SD memory card, and manuals. Its upper screen will be 3.53 inches wide with 3D support (with no need for glasses) and a 800x240 resolution (400 pixels per eye for 3D viewing), while the lower screen is just 3.02 inches wide and 320x240 pixels. 

    The system includes a 3D camera, slide pad for controlling the depth of the 3D display, a motion sensor, and a gyro sensor. When in sleep mode, the 3DS will grab info from your surrounding Nintendo Zone and wireless access points, accumulating game demos and data, game videos, and other...

  • Gothic 4 (Arcania now, I guess) has a lot to live up to. The Gothic series has been, to date, the best open world action RPG series that I've ever played. And yes, I've played them all. Gothic 1 and 2 set the bar very high for free form exploration, hard as hell combat, and "play it your way" mechanics. When you can attack anyone in the game, even allies, just because you want their 30 gold, you know you are playing a true "sandbox" game.

    So when the demo for Arcania popped up on Steam the other day, I was (very) cautiously optimistic. After the unpolished mess that was Gothic 3 (unpolished as it was, it was still better than Oblivion), Piranha Bytes was left without a publisher and without the Gothic IP. PB went on to develop Risen, a game on my top 10 list, and Spellbound was assigned to handle the next Gothic game. Did this developer "get" what Gothic is all about?

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  • I'm very excited for this game. I'm glad they decided to go in a new direction and refresh most of what has come to be accepted as the Bioshock world. The plasmids look more creative...

  • Civilization releases are my "Jesus is born!" days. They demarcate the end of one era and the beginning of another. Also they are much more important than Jesus Christ (You heard me, god! Bring it!). They are not merely the launch of another new game, they are an event, like the Olympics, only they matter (You heard me Baron Pierre de Coubertin! Bring it!).

    So whereas most other Civ players will just jump right in and start playing willy nilly, I like to take my time and savor each moment. I start out as Alexander the Great, as I have for every new Civ game since Civ 2. It is my own humble tradition. After a short load screen, I'm in. Ladies and gentlemen, turn 1:

    After admiring the view, I founded my city and trekked my warrior horde across the world in search of...everything! It didn't take long until I had stumbled across...

  • Recently, I had the chance to check out Atari and Krome's new game, Blade Kitten. Based on a webcomic, you play as the pink haired, cat...person(?), Kit Ballard as she hacks and slashes her way through hordes of future-soldiers and robots. The anime style is the first thing I noticed as the colors and "cuteness" factor will smack you in the face in the first five seconds.

    But once you take a fire extinguisher to your own eyeballs, the gameplay is frantic and solid. Kit is never actually armed, instead she wields a floating sword with magic or telekinesis or [insert lame plot device here]. This leaves her hands free to grab onto walls and ceilings as she makes her way through the vibrant environments. The game is a sidescrolling action game but uses 3D architecture. This open the game up to layered levels within a single area,...