Crispy Gamer

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  • When I first played with an EyeToy, it entertained me for all of 20 minutes. After that my arms got tired and I started getting bored. Additionally, let me go on record as admitting that I don’t like “party games” like Mario Party or Warioware. As such I’m not going to be won over by advertisements in which a group of racially, sexually and chronologically diverse people are franticly huddled around a TV while displaying a level of enthusiasm you wouldn’t even find at an orgy. So forgive me if I’m not all atwitter about Microsoft’s Project Natal Kinect (which sounds like the name of a German online dating service).

    At first, second and third glances, it looks a lot like an EyeToy, except now it’s for the 360 instead of the PS2. So, can Microsoft upstage Sony when it comes to motion sensing gaming? Hell if I know. However, I can point out that I lack confidence in Microsoft’s ability to...

  • If there's one thing you can say about eversion (Steam version), it's that it sure is short.  The game sells for just shy of $5 on Steam, and after 30 minutes of play time, I've beaten the core game, and achieved the first ending.  There are lots of gems to go back and grab, but having been through most of the game's levels, I'm not certain how much content there is here for my money.

    The game starts out interesting enough.  You're a flower in a saccharin Mario-clone (complete with pseudo-goombas [see above]) attempting to save, you guessed it, a princess.  Things quickly take a dark turn. At certain points in the game, you're...

  • When I was in high school way back in the early days of the 'aughts, I owned a PlayStation. Owned, not played, you see, as my system usually sat collecting dust for various periods of time. Sure, I was busy with school and work and whatnot, but I was still playing games. It was around my freshman year of high school that I was introduced to Nesticle and ZSNES, emulators that allowed you to play old-school 8- and 16-bit games at home on your PC. Growing up as a rebellious teen, I didn't just game; I gamed like a badass. (Or so Metallica would like me to believe during my early days as a pirate) The many, many hours I spent playing the games of my youth (and actually completing them!) spurred heavy feelings of nostalgia because, even in the latter days of the 90s, they just don't make games like they used to.

    Developer Silicon Studio not only re-created the feeling of playing an 8-bit generation game, they re-made that rush of excitement I used...

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    I wrote a pseudo-review of Hinterland a month ago so when my friend Nathan mentioned that another game with a similar concept was coming out soon, my ears perked up. For fifteen minutes we tried to recall what the name of the damn thing was; developers/publishers seriously need to find better, colorful words to differentiate their games. After discovering the name, Elemental: War of Magic, we checked the publisher and immediately my interest rose. Why? Stardock, that's why. Stardock is the Superman to Ubisoft's Lex Luthor, fighting for truth, justice and the American (read: smart capitalism) way.
     
    But back on topic, after watching a...
  • I loved Deus Ex, and for some odd reason I rather disliked the sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War. There was a certain something missing from the second game. Maybe it was how they had cut out large chunks of the RPG aspect of the game, instead focusing more on the action side of it. Or maybe it was in how the game was advanced far enough in the future that it had lost all connection to the intricacies and oddities of the conspiracies that formed the core of Deus Ex. Actually, it was probably in how all the complex character development and shifting plots were dumbed down from X-Files complexity to Stargate complexity.

    So given what happened with the last game, I’m not too excited about the Deus Ex’s upcoming prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I figured that with studio Ion Storm Inc, and designers Warren Spector and Harvey Smith having jack to do with this new game, it isn’t really worth getting...

  • … and I loved it.

    I came into the movie expecting absolutely nothing. Almost all movies based of video games have been horrible. Some of them were so bad that they were great (I'm looking at you, Mortal Kombat). But most of them have just been terrible (I'm looking at you, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li).

    But really, the Prince of Persia movie was entertaining. I wasn't blown away or anything but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The action scenes were well choreographed; when the Prince ran along rooftops running away from soldiers I was subtly reminded of the Sands of Time video game. Jake Gyllenhaal ran like the Prince ran, did acrobatics like the Prince did, and spoke in the same witty...

  • Normally, patches are a good thing. A developer or publisher rushes a game or half-asses the play testing and it hits the shelves with a few nasty bugs. Sometimes, as was the case with Fallout 2, the bugs are game killers and no one can play the game, requiring the developers rush out a fix ASAP. Other times you have developers who keep toying with a game long after it ships and they find ways to make the game run better. The patches these groups release often tend towards game mechanic tweaks or little bits of additional content. A great example of this style is Galactic Civilization 2. The game’s developer, Stardock, released dozens of patches designed to improve the game, culminating in one massive patch that completely upgraded the game’s graphics engine.

    Then there are the bad patches. The updates that do little more than make you wish the developers would just stop screwing around with the damned game. For a long time Fallout 3 was a game that...

  • After a few hours of play, I'm really not sure what to make of Backbreaker. Prior to its release, the Madden challenger was hyped for its intuitive running game and "euphoria" physics system, which claimed to make every tackle animation unique.

    On the plus side, Backbreaker absolutely nailed those two features. Running has never felt so amazing in a video game: cutting, juking, spinning, every elusive move in the book is mapped to the right stick, and power moves are activated when holding the right trigger, allowing you every opportunity to make your opponents look like fools. Even if you do get tackled, it's all good; the tackle animations are awesome as promised.

    While the running game got all the hype, the passing game is something you've never seen before. Each play has a "hot" receiver that you will snap to by default. By holding LT, the camera zooms over the QB's shoulder, locking on. Tap the right...

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    You have to love a game that has the balls to, at the end of the tutorial, reference how great the rest of the experience is going to be. Upon being sent through a crash course teaching me the gameplay, my new boss had a few parting words for me before my first mission that went something like this:

    "Remember Mike, all of your actions and words have meaning and people will react to you based on them. If you insult someone's mother, not only have you made that guy mad, you've also probably burned your bridge with the mother...so don't go looking for a job interview at the law firm she works at. On the other hand, if your enemy has a fear of horses or she is on the rag, you can use that to your advantage. I can't tell you how many time equinophobia has factored into a successful black-op, Mike. Also make sure to lick your finger and check wind direction every 10 minutes or so. Can't stress that enough."
     ...
  • I had just finished a book on evolutionary psychology that spent most of its pages explaining that the underlying drive behind why men do everything is to gain access to more mates* when I started to wonder “why are men more likely to play video and tabletop games than women?”  Then it hit me like an incredible factory of obvious—men are inherently more competitive and violent than women. Games, even single player games, are inherently competitive and a large chunk of the mainstream video game market is not just violent but graphically violent. We are left with the stereo type that girls don’t play video games, or that they only play silly games that are obviously aimed at prepubescent girls like Nintendogs.

    Except for the evil geniuses at Nintendo, most game developers do not try to make games aimed at anyone but virile males. Because of this, the fellows at Nintendo clean up with casual games that are “fun for...

  • Fresh off my review for Split/Second, it's time to look at Blur from Bizarre Creations. Honestly, in my first few hours I can't add too much to what I said in my preview of the game. The powerups, which I covered extensively in the preview, are more or less entirely unchanged from the beta. The multiplayer still feels intense and, now that the level cap is removed, feels rewarding to sink tons of hours into. New to me, though, is the single player.

    Blur's single player spans nine events, each based around a different "boss" character. Each event has different races to play along with some new modes. Checkpoint is your standard dart-from-checkpoint-to-checkpoint-to-extend-time game mode with the addition of nitro powerups and time extension...

  • So, Blur has been released, and if you have turned on your T.V. at all this past week, you might have noticed Blur’s new commercial.

    Before I even begin to talk about the message, I have some plot issues with the commercial itself.  We are treated first to the kart racing world, featuring bright colors, cutesy critters, and puny race cars.  The countdown starts, and the gun goes off!  The race begins! Yay!

    Except for Toa- I mean Broccoli Toad.  Despondent, he looks off to the right and is...

  • We made a lot of changes here at Crispy Gamer over the past couple of months and I wanted to share with everyone what we’ve done.

    At the end of 2009, Crispy Gamer acquired 360voice.com, gamerDNA.com, TweetmyGaming.com and the gamerDNA Alliance Network of publishers.  Shortly thereafter, the board of directors, wanting the company to focus on the Alliance Network by growing advertising revenues, laid off most of the editorial staff at Crispygamer.com and gamerDNA.com.

    I was an intern at crispygamer.com at the time, uploading video and screenshot assets. The new management team offered me a job in February, working here as Associate Web Producer for crispygamer.com. I took it.

    Since that moment, we have established a completely new staff of writers, all young writers trying to make their break in the...

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    And we're back again for more Just Cause 2 DLC. This time, the focus is entirely on weapons with the appropriately named "Black Market Boom Pack". It contains a quad-shot rocket launcher, a cluster grenade launcher, and an air propulsion gun. Let's take a closer look at each, shall we?
     
    The quad rocket launcher is exactly what you would expect. It fires 4 rockets in a relatively tight pattern straight ahead. If you usually have a rocket launcher on your back for its building demolition capabilities, then this new weapon is just an upgrade. That being said, it also has better room-clearing effect, for times when you are faced with hordes of enemy troops.
     
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  • Mario games know how to get right into the action. Within the first 20 minutes I have gone through an introductory stage highlighting the basics of Mario's movements and I see that Bowser has captured the Princess again. Ho hum.

    Really though, I couldn't be happier with this game. Mario moves just like he did in the previous game and the inclusion of Yoshi brings back the excitement I felt when I first discovered him in Super Mario World. The galaxies vary from grassy lands to icy terrain to abstract puzzle levels and each area feels unique.

    One noticeable difference is the “World Map” layout. In the first Super Mario Galaxy, there were different hubs that contained sets of levels. In the second game, your Mario spaceship (which is a gigantic Mario head by the way) moves across a map similar to ones in New Super...

  • This is not Grand Theft Auto IV, I whisper to myself as I toss a man off his horse and mount it with ease, all with a single, muscle-memory induced press of the Y button. This is not Grand Theft Auto IV, I echo later, when I look down at the radar and notice the all too familiar glowing red circle of law enforcement awareness. This is not Grand Theft Auto IV, I hiss through gritted teeth as I go on yet another journey from where I accepted a mission to the place where that mission actually begins, listening to the characters talking all the while.

    Well, I can conclusively tell you: Red Dead Redemption is not Grand Theft Auto IV. GTA IV can only wish it had an option for skinning dead animals, but Red Dead Redemption takes us there, and shows it to us with screen-splattering (gory) glory.

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  • Back when Alan Wake was officially announced at E3 in 2005, the Xbox 360, the system the game eventually would be released on, had not even been out. 2005 seems like a long time ago these days, so now that it was officially released this week, how does Alan Wake match up to our fervent expectations? After popping the game into my 360, I was introduced to our title character, his wife Alice, and the quiet northwestern coal mining town of Bright Falls.  The first episode finds Alan exploring this idyllic town and its mysterious inhabitants shortly after his wife goes missing.

    So far, I've been enjoying nearly every minute of my time with Alan Wake. Sure, character animation might be a little dated given the amount of time the game's been in development and the game's combat system might need a little bit of work, but color...

  • Google is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Pac-Man's release (May 22nd, 1980) by replacing their normal homepage logo with a Google-styled Pac-Man board.  Google has created these "doodles" for a number of holidays, but for this commemoration, they've pulled out all the stops.  This logo is actually a fully playable Pac-Man level, complete with classic sound effects and advanced behavior such as cornering and ghost pass-throughs.

    Head to Google, hit "Insert Coin," and use your arrow keys to play.  ...