Pre-ordered a PS4.
And i’ve never pre-ordered anything ever before in my life except 3 games (AC3, Halo Reach and COD Black Ops 2).
I also haven’t owned a Sony product since Tony Hawk Pro Skater was my jam.
If you are a child of the 80′s, then you probably remember who Waldo is (or Wally if you aren’t from the US or Canada). ’Where’s Waldo?’ was a series of hidden object-esque books created by Martin Handford in the late 80′s/early 90′s and are still being created to this day. Still to this day, i’m obsessed.
I have always loved hidden object books and games. Judging from the picture (above), my parents didn’t seem to mind that I had a thing for the series and allowed me to adorn my bedroom with all things Waldo. For my birthday, my sister had a high school friend of hers come over and paint Waldo on my wall. You cannot imagine how excited I was when I saw it.
I had all of the books, posters, dolls, blankets, everything you could think of that was Waldo themed. I can’t even believe that he was ever so popular that they made a Waldo comforter set, but my mom found it.
As a kid I always did puzzles, workbooks, mind teasers, anything that got my wheels spinning and gave me a sense of accomplishment (hence why I love video games). Obviously once I heard there was an iOS version of Where’s Waldo, I immediately jumped over to the App Store and bought it.
I should mention that this app has been out since 2011. Somehow I had no idea but i’m glad I found it now. In a sea of Big Fish hidden object apps (i’ve played them all), I never came across the original and best hidden object game ever created.
So as I eagerly waited for the app to download, I put on my reading glasses (i’m old) and snuggled up on the couch for some Where’s Waldo action. Simple enough from the get go, you can choose between two difficulties: Kids or Normal. ”Pssshh” I thought, “I’m a friggin Waldo master”. Normal was obviously the route I took.
The game plays out similar to the books. You are greeted by Wizard Whitebeard who narrates a fun little story about Waldo’s travels and explains the know-how of the game during each of the 12 worlds. I immediately noticed that the “world’s” were identical to those in the original Where’s Waldo book. Surprisingly, that was exactly what I wanted. I remembered few things about each but memories flooded back as I continued on my way.
If you aren’t familiar with a Waldo book, they are essentially a brilliantly illustrated clutter of people, animals and objects. You are tasked with finding Waldo in the “scene” but it never ends there. There are scrolls, woof tails, bones, Waldo watchers, friends and random items to find as well. The back pages of these books had checklists of additional items to find and I found them all. There is humor found around every inch of the books and even if you looked at them a dozen times you would still find something new the next time you took a look. Martin Handford is a genius and nobody has come close to creating the imaginative worlds that he created (Richard Scarry comes in a distant second).
The game is no different than the books. You enter a scene and are given the task to find Waldo, Wizard Whitebeard, Wenda and Odlaw (the evil Waldo doppleganger who’s name is literally Waldo spelled backwards). Once found you are then given about 2 dozen or so other people/items/things to find. In the Normal mode these are either listed as shadows of the item or words describing the item. In some cases the pictures are shown. To finish a scene you had to find the traditional scroll that Waldo fans are all too familiar with (it’s tiny and extremely difficult to find).
Waldo and the gang were easy to spot but the additional search items were quite a challenge. In Normal Mode you are timed and have to solve each section with at least 3 stars remaining on the countdown bar. This turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. I had to repeat several scenes. The good thing about having to repeat a scene though is that the change slightly, some are the same but some are new. They change enough to not make it seem monotonous though.
Throughout the 12 world’s you are occasionally brought back into a scene to do a couple of mini-searches. Woof (Waldo’s dog) asks you to do a “Spot the Differences” type search. These were pretty easy but some were extremely difficult. Wenda also has a mini-search where you have to find pictures that she took with her camera. Typically these were zoomed in close ups of someone’s head and were quite challenging. Again, both were a nice break from the regular search and added some extra fun to the game.
Another little quirk is when Odlaw appears. Waldo’s arch-nemisis who is only there to cause trouble. If you found him fast enough, he didn’t have a chance to mess anything up but you better find him quick because they give you about 5 seconds. If you don’t catch him, Odlaw messes up the screen so you lose some valuable time and progress.
I don’t want to give anything away at the end, but it’s a doozy and I struggled with it. Luckily throughout the game you can locate tiny dog bones that give you the chance to use a Woof “Hint”. When used, the curser turns “hot (red) or “cold (blue)” while moving around the scene until you locate your item or person. I found myself using this a few times throughout my gameplay.
Overall the game took me about 5 hours to complete and that is well worth the $1.99 I paid for it. For anyone who isn’t familiar with hidden object games, it could last much longer. For Waldo fans, you will will absolutely love it. I found it both challenging and humorous. I should also mention that the voice work is fantastic and the music/sound effects are a delight. I did not have a single glitch from start to finish which if you are familiar with apps, you know are all too frequent.
As far as I can tell, the game is only available on the Mac iOS, which is unfortunate because everyone should get a chance to play this game. So go get it and then let me know what you think!
Happy hunting fellow Waldo Watchers!
Originally Posted at GAMINGTRUTH.COM
I recently had a chance to get my hands on some of KontrolFreek’s FPS Freek thumbstick extenders. As an avid first-person shooter player (Call of Duty and Halo), I was interested in seeing whether or not KontrolFreek’s small clip-on extenders would actually do what it says they’ll do.
The KontrolFreek website states that using the extenders will make you better at first-person shooter games, specifically by improving prevision while aiming, which increases your range of motion by 40 percent and minimizing the adjustments while aiming and making targeting much faster. Consider me intrigued.
It is important I mention that the FPS Freek extenders are 100 percent tournament legal. I do not play video games professionally (I wish I did) and I am not a cheater. So it was comforting to know that these are simply another tool that gamers can use to improve their playing and eliminate some thumb fatigue.
The extenders are extremely easy to install on your controller. You just clip them on the thumbsticks and you are ready to go. It took less than 10 seconds for me to do this and once on, they are very secure. After hours of gaming with them clipped on, I didn’t have a single issue with them twisting, slipping or un-clipping. The extenders are very soft but not slippery, and have a few raised bumps that give you the perfect amount of traction.
It is true that they look and feel a little awkward when you first try them out. However, I could immediately feel that I was more in control of my movements and putting out less effort.
Soon, I jumped into Team Deathmatch on Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 to test these puppies out.
I did not do well. Chances are, you won’t either.
Trust me though, give them more time and you will not be disappointed. Like anything, they take a little getting used to. I’ve now completed dozens of multiplayer matches and played through some of Far Cry 3 with the extenders on and I don’t foresee me taking them off anytime soon.
I can’t say for sure that they have dramatically improved my gaming, but I feel more in control of every aspect of my movements and thumb fatigue seems like an issue of the past. I typically use an assault rifle while playing first person shooter tittles, so my gaming style falls between running/gunning and sneaking around. The extenders have made hip firing a lot more precise and seemingly effortless. Aiming and getting long shots also seem to be smoother, most likely because the extenders themselves are smoother than the regular thumbsticks. It’s hard to explain how just adding a little height to the thumbsticks makes so much of a difference, but it does.
Overall, for the price of around $13, these are well worth the money. They do what they say they are going to do and as I mentioned above, the benefits are obvious. Maybe not right away, but certainly once you’ve gotten used to them. You also have to get past the odd look of having an additional thumbstick on top of your original controller thumbstick. Other than that, though, I can’t say anything negative about the KontrolFreek FPS Freek Bombshell’s. Why not improve your gaming and give your boring old controller a little more personality while your at it (pink thumbsticks!!)?
Check out KontrolFreek.com for more information on the FPS Freek thumbstick extenders as well as a whole slew of other accessories for your controller.
*Author’s Note: I tested the FPS Freek extenders on an Xbox 360 controller. They are compatible with both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 controllers. Click here to check out all of our KontrolFreek accessory reviews.
+ Easy Installation
+ Improves performance
- Take a little getting used too
- A little odd looking on the controller
Let me start this off by saying that Zelda: Ocarina of Time is my favorite game of all time. ALL TIME. I have played the entire series, with the exception of Links Awakening and Four Swords. I have even enjoyed the little DS Zelda games, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks which were fun in their own way but my gaming heart beats because of Ocarina of Time. I take this series seriously (not really) because it’s what introduced me to gaming in the first place having watched my dad play hours upon hours of The Legend of Zelda on the NES.
I have burned bushes, pushed rocks, hunted for triforce fragments, grappled ledges, hated Navi, cried over the death of the Great Deku Tree (oh God that was sad), boomeranged bats, ridden Epona across Hyrule, met Error, road the rails, traveled back in time, visited the Dark World, caught bugs, sailed the seas, retrieved pendants, rescued the princess and thwarted Ganon, for what seems like my entire life (exhausting, amirite?). I enjoyed every single second of it too.
It goes without saying that I have been aching for a new Zelda. It’s been a long time since the first Zelda for the Wii came out (Twilight Princess). TP was a new experience and I really enjoyed the involvement with the Wiimote and Nun-chuck but overall, something was missing. I didn’t get that same feeling I did with Ocarina of Time. Understandably there was a HUGE difference between the side scrolling “Link to the Past” on SNES, than the expansive 3D world of “Ocarina of Time” on the N64 but where was that huge difference between the N64 and the Wii? I wanted more than Twilight Princess was willing to give and so I was expecting it with the release of Skyward Sword.
IGN said “It is the best Zelda game ever created!”.
Nintendo Power said “What matters is that it’s truly worthy of being called “epic.””.
Machinima said “Not only one of the best Zelda games, but one of the best games ever made. It will take you places you’ve never been and show you sights you’ve never seen, so ignoring it just because it’s on the Wii would be a damn shame.”
Well, does Skyward Sword live up to these insanely high expectations?
Honestly, I’ve been writing this review since I started playing and it’s been edited at least a dozen times. At hour 5, I would have said HELL NO. At hour 10, my opinion hadn’t changed much. At hour 20, I started to get it. And now that I’ve beaten it, I completely understand where these other reviewers were coming from.
If you enjoy a Zelda game, especially Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time, then you will enjoy Skyward Sword. It certainly feels like a Zelda game and doesn’t try to be something it isn’t (I’m looking at you Majora’s Mask). But the best Zelda ever?
The main story follows the same basic plot that the Zelda series is known for (as well it should). Princess Zelda has gone missing and you must find her. Like most Zelda’s, you have your main hub that links (pun intended) you to all of the different locations that you must explore. In Skyward Sword, the sky is your main hub and you live on a floating island high above the clouds called Skyloft. Instead of riding across Hyrule on Epona (oh how I miss thee), you are flying across the sky on your Loftwing (a giant bird) where beams of light guide you to the land below. The land below is broken up into a few familiar sections, Forest, Desert and Volcano.
Zelda has always had some odd characters roaming the world. Beedle, Goron’s, Great Fairies, Talon, The Postman, Syrup, Skullkid. Skyward Sword adds to this already impeccable list of characters with a new set of brilliant, funny and imaginative faces. Throughout the sky are dozens of people you must help in order to get Gratitude Crystals or continue your quests. Side quests aren’t required to finish the game but the rewards that come from gathering the Gratitude Crystals (which are given when completing the side quests) are extremely helpful (you’ll get gold rupees and giant wallets for example when trading in the crystals). It’s important for me to mention that these characters are very robust as well. You have different conversations with them throughout the game and you feel a meaningful connection to each of them.
I don’t know exactly what it was about the first 10-15 hours of the game, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked too. It is during this time that you are traveling to the three “dungeons” (Forest, Desert, Volcano) to gather the pieces of the fragmented tablet. Repetitive is the only thing that comes to mind. Just getting TO the dungeons seemed to take longer than the dungeons themselves and typically it was a series of silly tasks that required you to run around collecting something, bringing it here, bringing it there, etc. I found myself uninterested in even starting the dungeon once I got there because the last 2 hours were spent doing meaningless unfulfilling repetitive tasks that seemed like filler. Never the less I kept going and so should you.
The main dungeons are creative and have a nice balance of puzzles and enemies to battle. I found myself having to look up a few things online in order to get past certain points, so the challenge is definitely there. I particularly thought all of the major boss battles were exceptional! There is literally no greater satisfaction than waggling the Wiimote for 10 minutes to the point where your arm is hurting, then finally giving that final STAB that takes the boss down. It felt like work but fun work. The bosses weren’t terribly hard but I struggled just enough to really enjoy the victory.
Once you’ve finished up the three main areas, the game completely changes. Not in a Dark World/Light World sort of way, but it’s as though the creators realized things were getting a bit boring. Your next quest is to find the three flames to strengthen your sword. This begins a strange combination of trials and quests that are pretty damn incredible. It is here, during the last 15 hours of the game that I truly fell in love.
I can’t begin to explain how great the last chunk of Skyward Sword is. It made me forget about all of my previous repetitive dungeon questing and instead focus on the awesomeness that is Skyward Sword. The weapons, locations, characters, bosses, puzzles and everything in between are damn near perfect. Yes, perfect. The last chunk of this game really blew me away and it’s worth having to go through the 25 painful hours at the beginning just to play the end.
So, with all of that being said, is this truly the “Best Zelda Game Ever”?
I’m not there yet. I have one too many gripes that keep me from giving it this title.
First of all, the graphics. To be fair, I walked into this game directly after playing 100 hours of Skyrim on the Xbox. To talk shit about the graphics of a Wii game, is pretty rough. However, I don’t care that this is the Wii and poor graphics are expected, that’s not an excuse. It’s 2012 and Zelda should have Skyrim-like graphics. It’s AN INCREDIBLE SERIES. One of the most popular on the planet. The fantasy of the Zelda series is too friggin amazing to bottle-up in the Wii. The Wii sucks. It’s a terrible console that has fallen years behind its competitors BUT I LOVE the way they incorporated the Wiimote and Nunchuck into Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess. Other than that though, I can’t say that this game is better than Ocarina of Time because not much has changed. Where have we gone since Ocarina of Time? The graphics haven’t improved in almost 14 YEARS!
No matter how amazing Skyward Sword is, I can’t get over the quality of graphics and won’t until this game is put on a console worthy of it’s incredibleness. Until then, we are just getting recycled Ocarina of Time, over and over and over again. Harsh, I know.
Second, instead of Navi (who was pretty damn annoying in Ocarina of Time), your helpful spirit friend in Skyward Sword is a chick named FI. She lives in your sword. Fi is like the Jar Jar Binks of Zelda. You can’t understand a single word she is saying and she is pretty damn worthless. She points out the most obvious stuff such as “you are running low on health”. NO KIDDING? I was wondering what that annoying beeping noise was and why my body was blinking red and why I only had 3 hearts. THANK GOD you notified me that my health was low otherwise I would have had no idea. Please pause my game for 5 minutes to explain it to me Fi.
Fi also tells you stupid statistics, like how many times you’ve killed an enemy or silly percentage rates that are meaningless to you. Fi isn’t a deal breaker but WOW was she annoying.
My third complaint is the fact that the game stops to notify you every time you pick up an insect or rare treasure. Even if you’ve collected 15 Amber Relics (a goodie that is found all over the place), the game stops, opens up your inventory, adds it to your inventory and then goes back to the game. It’s not necessary and incredibly time consuming. It was so irritating that I found myself not wanting to collect anything.
Overall Skyward Sword is a fantastic adventure with a ton of gameplay, an amazing story, great characters, fun weapons and challenging puzzles. Unless you are the hardest of hardcore Zelda fanatics, you will absolute enjoy this game.
But “Best Zelda game every created”, as IGN seems to believe? Nah. The best Zelda game ever created would be on the Xbox or the PS3 and built by a team who actually cares about the series. Until then, it’s just Ocarina of Time to me. Over and over and over and over…..
The A.V. Club summed it up perfectly:
“No, Skyward Sword isn’t better than Ocarina Of Time. But of all the Zeldas to be released over the last 13 years, it comes closest. The game’s greatest achievement is that it never stops aspiring to be more than it is. It never stops reaching for emotional moments, going full-tilt for players’ hearts.”
I have been looking for a workout game for a little while now. I would prefer that it be on the Xbox but I sold my Kinect a while back and most of the new exercise games use it. So, since I have a new Wii, I bought the balance board and Wii Fit. Quickly I realized that Wii Fit was terrible and absolutely nothing what I expected or wanted in an exercise game. Step aerobics and hula hooping is great for my 86 year old grandmother but i’m no pansy and I needed more.
I was looking for a game that would build me a program, track my progress and be as challenging as possible. I am not overweight but I work in an office for 8 hours a day, with very little movement other than to run back and forth from the coffee maker. I have lost site of exercising in the past year and would like to at the very least add a half hour or so to my daily routine. What better way to incorporate my love for gaming with my hate for exercising, than with a video game exercise program?
After reading a million reviews online, I landed on EA Active Sports 2 for what looked like the best exercise program on the Wii. Plus, it was around $20 and included a heart rate monitor, leg band (to track movements) and a resistance band.
Out of the box it was extremely easy to set up. You slap the heart rate monitor on your forearm which velcro’s around you and you do the same with a movement leg band on the upper part of your left thigh. Both aren’t any more restricting than wearing an iPod arm band.
You start with giving the game your statistics (weight, height, age, etc.) and you can build an avatar to your likeness. Afterwards you can jump right into doing some pre-programmed routines or you can start the 9-Week Fitness Challenge. This is exactly what I was looking for in an exercise game. I needed something that said “Here is what you do. This is how you do it. Here’s how long you do it. Here is what the results will be”. So, I set a goal, picked my workout days and started on the 9 week Fitness Challenge.
Each 30 minute daily exercise routine consists of a warm-up, workout and cool-down. The warm-up could be as simple as circling your arms or jumping in place. Something to just get your heart pumping. With the heart rate monitor constantly on the screen you know (and the game knows) exactly how much exertion you are putting into what you are doing. It also shows (and plays a sound) when you are in the correct heart rate zones for peak performance.
The regular workout after the warm-up consists of about 20 different exercises using the Wiimote, Balance Board, Resistance Band, Weights or just yourself. I didn’t particularly like the resistance band that was given with the game so I switched it out for free weights. There is a setting in the game that allows you to do this and the exercises will update with whatever you choose.
Before each workout they will show you an example of the exercise if it’s your first time doing it. You can quickly skip this screen and move on. Typically the next screen will then show your avatar and the trainer. The trainer will start doing the exercise and your avatar will follow your body movements as you do them as well.
I want to point out how precise the body movements are tracked, just simply by the leg movement band. I rarely felt like I could cheat or do an exercise wrong because as soon as I tried to cheat or did an exercise wrong, it would notice. I have no idea how it does it, but it works.
Exercises will vary from Jumping Rope, Running in Place, Playing Basketball or Soccer to Mountain Biking. Some of the more intense exercises are actually a lot of fun. During the mountain bike routine, you squat down while going down hill, then jump up when you hit a jump then drop down to a squat. When you are biking up a hill you run in place. Doing this for a few minutes will absolutely have you sweating and it is a fantastic way to make the exercises interactive. The same goes for basketball, where you lunge to the right or left to grab the ball, then jump back to line yourself up for a free throw and shoot. The combination of the leg band and the Wiimote makes this extremely precise.
In between these more intense “game” type exercises are strength training, balancing and aerobics routines. Each one harder than the last and perfectly put together to give you a pretty damn good workout.
The cool-down portion is typically some stretching exercises that coincide with the areas that you just worked out followed by a summary of your workout (calories burned, heart rate graph, etc.).
You don’t have to stop with the 30 minute workout if you don’t want too. There are dozens of other pre-programmed routines that focus on certain areas of the body or you can simply play some basketball. The game will keep track of everything you do and trust me, you will actually WANT to keep playing.
In addition to tracking all of your workout statistics on the Wii, you can also see it online through the EA games website. There, you can join workout groups (which can also be incorporated into the game), track your progress, write things in your journal, etc. EA Active Sports 2, truly is like having a personal trainer at your disposal.
Now, keep in mind that I am not in peak physical shape. I started this so that I could incorporate exercise into my non-exercise routine. I did my workouts on HARD and found them to be rather difficult. You may not feel like the workouts are as intense as I did but I assure you, unless you are a triathlete, you will get a decent workout. You will also have fun while doing it because the routines are anything but boring.
EA Active Sports 2 is perfect for anyone looking to introduce exercise into their daily routine, even straight off of the couch. It’s also great for someone who may already work out regularly but wants to try something new or can’t get to the gym. For the price, I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more.
EA also has the EA Active NFL Training Camp game available which I can only assume would be just as good as Active 2 but with a football training camp focus. If you are looking for more of a manly workout and like football, this might be more your speed.
Do you like doing absolutely nothing for hours at a time?
Do you like getting so frustrated that you want to throw your controller at the wall?
Does getting “Nintendo-Thumb” sound appealing to you?
If all of these describe your fantasy game-playing experience than I have the perfect game for you!
RHYTHM HEAVEN FEVER (tada!)
Run, don’t walk, up to the game purchasing locale of your choosing and pick-up a copy of the much hyped yet excruciatingly terrible, third installment of the Rhythm Heaven series ($29.99).
The point of Rhythm Heaven Fever is simply to keep rhythm with the music/actions that are being shown on the screen. You keep the rhythm by pushing either the A or B buttons on the Wii Remote.
For example: Little monkey is playing a tambourine. He SHAKE/SHAKE/SHAKESHAKESHAKES. You then have to SHAKE/SHAKE/SHAKESHAKESHAKE after him. The “shakes” come from you repeatedly hitting the A button. So it’s more like Press A/ Press A/Press APressAPressAHHHHHHH this game is ridiculous!
Not convinced yet? Here’s another example: Boy on a bench. For some odd reason there are footballs, basketballs and soccer balls that keep rolling over to him. You have to hit the A button at the correct time so that he kicks the balls out of the way. Each ball has a different rhythm that matches up with the background music (sort-of). This gets a bit tricky when they switch between each of the balls because the rhythm changes. Tricky? Yes. Fun? No.
Challenging certainly isn’t an issue with this game. I grew up playing guitar/piano and recently dabbled in learning to play the drums. One would say because of my musical (albeit mediocre) abilities, that I wouldn’t have too much of an issue keeping the beat. Well that assumption is wrong. The first friggin game I played had me wanting to turn off the Wii and throw the entire console off of my balcony. I thought maybe I just sucked at first because I was under the influence of wine. Maybe I just didn’t understand the game? So, I passed the controller over and let my friends have a shot (2-player mode isn’t unlocked until later in the game).
It wasn’t just me. This game is terrible.
There are about 50 different types of these rhythm games to play throughout Rhythm Heaven Fever, each one more frustrating than the next. The better you play, the more little mini-games and prizes you can unlock. Yay….
Although I really did not enjoy any second of the few hours I played this game, I will say that visually and musically the game is quite a hoot. Cute graphics and catchy silly songs don’t make a game worth $30 though (or $5 in this case).
I have to imagine that if you were a fan of these games on the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance, then you will enjoy the series leap over to the Wii. Otherwise, if you play video games because of the action and adventure of it all, then you may just want to steer far away from this barely-more-than-an-iphone-app game.
You want to learn rhythm? Save the money you would have spent on this and invest in an actual drumset. Rhythm Heaven Fever is nothing more than what you are doing while flipping through cable channels looking for something to watch on tv.
Click. Reality Show. Click. Reality Show. Click. Reality Show. Click.
5 out of 10
+ Fun graphics
+ Catchy music
- 2 Player Mode isn’t unlocked until later in the game
- Difficulty seemed off-balance (one game super easy, next one is almost impossible).
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT GAMINGTRUTH.COM
To Halo or not to Halo?
This is a question that gaming enthusiasts have been asking themselves for centuries, nay, millenniums (that’s longer right?). When you meet a gamer for the first time who proclaims their obsession with first-person shooters, it’s typical to ask, “Halo or Call of Duty?”.
In the past 11 years (!), the Halo series has spread like an infestation into the hearts and lives of die-hard FPS fans and casual gamers alike. Released on the same day as the first generation Xbox console (Nov. 15, 2001), Halo Combat Evolved, the first in the series, sold alongside more than 50 percent of consoles. Within six months it had sold 1 million units. I can’t say this with certainty but I’d be willing to bet my last plasma grenade that the Halo series had a significant impact on the success of the Xbox. I personally bought an Xbox because of Halo and continued on to the Xbox 360 when Halo 3 was released.
Halo Combat Evolved was everything we (yes, i’m speaking for you too) ever wanted in a science fiction FPS game. Based in the 26th century, you are thrust into a futuristic universe both beautiful and haunting. It was a brilliant game shrouded in war and conflict with your task solely to help stop it.
You play as Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a silent protagonist whose identity you never truly see. It is these small details that make the series so remarkable. By removing a voice and face, you are able to immerse yourself into a character that, for me, is still the most personal experience in gaming I’ve ever had (I have cried like a small child at the end of most of the Halo campaigns).
Halo plays as smooth as it gets. You only carry two weapons on you and have a set amount of grenades. Weapons and ammo must be found and replenished as needed. There aren’t any difficult weapon set-ups or upgrades that you see in other first-person shooters but don’t kid yourself into thinking that makes the game any less challenging. Instead it makes the game more versatile, as you don’t have to be a former Navy SEAL in order to understand what aHalo weapon is or how it works. It’s not a difficult game to play, but it is definitely not easy to master, which makes the series perfect for any gamer, young or old.
The Halo campaigns are all pretty linear which is typical for an FPS. You follow a set path but the path in Halo is rather large. You are able to choose how you’d like to attack, be it from the front, back or flanking the sides. You can drive a warthog right into the middle of battle or quietly sneak behind rocks popping off baddies with a sniper rifle. You and a friend can flank both sides or one can snipe and the other run n’ gun. This is another reason I believe the series has been so successful. You can pick how you want to play the game. An 8-hour campaign for one, could easily turn into a 15-hour campaign for another.
The first and…still the best? Halo CE remains one of the best shooters of the previous generation.
Anyone who has played the Halo series since the beginning remembers their first time. Not the first time you played the campaign, not your first kill, not your first time you saw Cortana (hot!). I’m talking about your first time playing online against friends and enemies locally or on Xbox LIVE. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Halo‘s multiplayer experience changed something inside of me. Gaming had changed–the possibilities were endless.
There I was with my teammates, all going for the same goal: get the flag, kill the other team or hold an area. Whether you play strategically or just run out guns a blazing, the multiplayer experience in Halo is incredible. I can play with friends who live 2000 miles away as if we were sitting in my living room playing together. Sure, multiplayer gaming had been around before Halo 2 but that game, powered by the Xbox, brought it into our living rooms with so much ease that within seconds you could be playing a game of Slayer with seven people in Thailand.
I’ve logged thousands of hours between Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo Reach online. So have millions of others. Halo has consistently stayed in the top five of the most played Xbox 360 LIVE titles for years and it probably will stay there for many years to come.
The entire series is nothing to scoff at. Halo 2 is the highest selling game on a first-generation console with 8 million copies sold. Halo Combat Evolved pulls in a close second with 5 million. Halo 3 falls in third on the highest-selling Xbox 360 titles, with Halo: Reach, Halo 3: ODST (ugh) and Halo Wars all falling within the top 10. No series comes close to that except for Call of Duty and Gears of War.
November of this year we will see the 8th installment of the series, Halo 4. I for one will be standing in line at the midnight release anxiously waiting to get home and play through the campaign non-stop until the next morning. So will a million other gamers.
So the question remains, does the gaming industry need more Halo? Yes. For a series that doesn’t seem to be losing any steam, why would you stop? In science fiction, the story can last forever. Even when worlds die off and characters get killed, there is still story to be told. Developers may have changed but that certainly doesn’t mean a series dies along with the originators. The series has been consistently phenomenal with the exception of Halo: ODST which was meant to satiate the hungry fans between Halo 3 and Halo: Reach.
From what we have all seen so far, the upcoming Halo 4 looks to be just as incredible as the previous installments and the return of Master Chief and Cortana will only leave us wanting more.
Halo 4 could be a bold new direction for the series.
If anything, the gaming industry needs MORE Halo; more multiplayer maps, more weapons, more games, more Red vs. Blue, more graphic novels, more MEGA Blocks sets and definitely a film adaptation by Steven Spielberg (damnit Steven, just do it!).
-Master Chief Petty Officer, Jamie-117
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT GAMINGTRUTH.COM
Yeah. So this is a thing.
As a female gamer I’m supposed to be up in arms about all of the (alleged) female raping and start a fight against the man? Right?
I will honestly say that I really really REALLY took some time (like 20 minutes) to think about the recent articles published on Kotaku.com, that started the rumor that there is an attempted rape scene in the upcoming installment of Tomb Raider.
In the first article posted by Kotaku writer Jason Schreier, he summarized his interview with Ron Rosenberg, executive producer at Crystal Dynamics. The article skirted over the “rape scene” issue by simply mentioning it in one sentence.
“She’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers,” the article says. “And then those scavengers will try to rape her.”
The exact transcript of the conversation between Kotaku and Rosenberg went as follows:
RON: “And then what happens is her best friend gets kidnapped, she gets taken prisoner by scavengers on the island. They try to rape her, and-”
KOTAKU: “They try to rape her?”
RON: “She’s literally turned into a cornered animal. And that’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s either forced to fight back or die and that’s what we’re showing today.”
After Kotaku published the quote, the article caused a frenzy within the gaming community. Quickly, the game creators went into damage control.
“One of the characters defining moments for Lara in the game, which has incorrectly been referred to as an ‘attempted rape’ scene is the content we showed at this year’s E3 and which over a million people have now seen in our recent trailer entitled ‘Crossroads,’” Darrell Gallagher, studio head of Crystal Dynamics said.
He continued, ”Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game.”
You can judge for yourself by viewing the footage of the newest Tomb Raider.
Initially I thought that it was odd that a game developer would tackle such a serious topic, especially in a series that hasn’t been taken very seriously in the past.
It wasn’t until I read the Gawker article by Erin Gloria Ryan, entitled ”The Rapey Lara Croft Reboot is a Fucked-Up Freudian Field Day,” that I became engulfed in this story. I’m not angry because of the scene (which is nothing more than a little sexual harassment), I’m angry because Erin Gloria Ryan jumped from zero to RAPE, before actually thinking about what she was accusing male gamers as being “torture porn” enthusiasts.
And all male gamers live in their parents basement, right? And they have no jobs, eh?
I recently questioned a few male gamers on twitter about how they felt about the “rape” scene and here are some responses:
From @THEMANSATM – “Isn’t it a realistic scenario in her situation though? Discovered on a deserted island by scum scavengers, and her a hot chick.”
From @Mkerrigan7 – “I think they’re just trying to show how she had to over come something like that to become the badass she is.”
Nary a one of them said “I think it’s hot that she’s being manhandled”, or “who wouldn’t want to see Lara Croft get raped?”.
I first saw footage of the newest Tomb Raider during E3 week and the addition to the series looks amazing. This coming from a woman who hasn’t liked the entire Tomb Raider series.
Big boobs, sexy body, hot moves, chick with guns, etc. etc. etc. I get it. It’s not as though you are going to haveprecious star in a video game (even though I secretly think that would friggin excellent). I don’t have a problem with chicks being created as beautiful, hot, strong women in video games. But has the newest Tomb Raider crossed the line? Dun. Dunnn. Dunnn……
The Jezebel article continues, “She’s still a hero — sort of — but male gamers will play the game and think of themselves as Lara’s helper and protector.” – or “But when she’s a sex object to other characters in the game, or when someone who isn’t the player attempts to control her sexually, she’s someone to ‘protect’ and worry about.” – OR “The new Tomb Raider doesn’t give gamers the opportunity to play a compelling character, it gives them the opportunity to watch torture porn.”
Listen, I get it, I’ve been told by numerous people that I’m a feminist. Hell, read a few of my recent articles (here andhere) and you will probably feel the same. I don’t personally tag myself as a such but I get it. Us women have been fighting an uphill battle since the beginning of time, a battle which I fully support, but I’m embarrassed by Erin’s article. There just isn’t room for this man-bashing in an industry where we consistently harp on about how men treat female gamers disrespectfully.
Why can’t we make a game where the female is respected, not just for her body but for her combat style, incredible intelligence and wit? The truth is, I feel like women in games have been portrayed as such. There’s nothing wrong with making them uber-sexy. The gaming industry is DOMINATED by guys. Who in their right mind doesn’t want to make money? I know I do.
I certainly would love nothing more than Daria as a protagonist in a GTA-type sandbox game. She would fight the hipsters (but really she was the original hipster) and split cheerleaders faces open with a samurai sword. That’s unfortunately not sellable–it’s just not.
Though hanging out with any of Daria’s hipster friends will be a huge upgrade from Roman.
The creators of Tomb Raider have broke boundaries. Tomb Raider is probably one of the only video game series that has been made into a movie that was actually GOOD. Don’t even pretend like “Mortal Kombat” was good. Or “Street Fighter.” Or “Far Cry.” Or “Tekken.” Or “Prince of (oh my god that movie was awful) Persia.” “Super Mario Bros.” was badass though (f’ing Dennis Hopper yo!). Hell, the industry is scared to make a Halo film because video game movies suck so hard. A HALO FILM! They could just play cutscenes from all of the games and make a trillion dollars. Needless to say, it’s incredibly difficult to sustain a series in the video game industry, especially with a female as the lead character. Tomb Raider has been doing it for 16 years.
What I have wished upon every star is to learn MORE ABOUT LARA CROFT! I want to know where she began, where she came from, why she’s a badass mother f’er and the newest installment has aimed to explain all of these things (wish granted!). Finally! But in order to do this (as is the case with hundreds of other story-heavy games), there has to be an emotional tipping point for the character. GIVE ME A REASON TO LOVE THIS SEXY BADASS! Give me a reason to look past that fantastic ass and super awesome knife-wielding fanny pack. Give me a reason to shoot people in the face! What else gives you that stomach gut-wrenching feeling of justified baddie-killing awesomeness?
You don’t very well get pissed off at the Walmart cashier and then start mutilating m’fers on-site. No. That would be wrong (wouldn’t it?). With Lara Croft there is a story; a story of a woman who battled through some rough stuff to get to the kickassness of what she is now. And what she is, is a completely fabricated female protagonist who was kind-of-almost-not-really-at-all raped in a VIDEO GAME (*clutches pearls!*).
Could the newest installment been written so that her dad died by the hands of some tomb raiders, thus spurring the vengeance within Miss Croft? Sure. They could have wrote that her brother was tortured and killed by a group of Nazis, so Lara goes on a Nazi-hating rampage in the 20th century. But does it really matter? It’s a story. It’s a video game. Does Lara’s first encounter with killing, whether stemming from being captured or being touched inappropriately, make her any less empathetic? Does it make her any less of a badass? No, it does not.
I’m looking forward to a new Tomb Raider game, but after all of these recent events, I have my doubts. I don’t like the possibility that you will feel like you are protecting her, instead of BEING her. I don’t want to protect my character, I want to BE my character. But I will say that I’m excited to see how it pans out.
It’s fair to mention, this isn’t a video game aimed at 9 year olds, it has a mature-rating for a reason. If you can’t handle it, then don’t play it. I know I will and I’m hoping it’s the best in the series.
-Jamie Lynn O’Dell
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT GAMINGTRUTH.COM
I could end the article right now if I wasn’t currently filled with the rage of Dante. In my case I’m not fighting my way through the nine circles of Hell, I’m fighting my way through the nine layers of dude-bro gamer douchebags who feel that women should have to justify their love of gaming by means of proof.
Listen. I game. I game a lot. I game more than you and I will beat all of you at every game (I wrote that sentence for the commenters *wink*). I also have baloobas and a cha-cha. Who cares? Apparently a lot of super elite male gamers do because the sexy sexpot talented actress, author and comedian, Aisha Tyler, felt like she needed to justify her gaming habits to these asshats recently.
For those of you not in the know, Miss Tyler hosted the recent Ubisoft briefing at E3, along with Toby Turner. Aisha isn’t just a huge lifelong fan of gaming, she has done voice work for Halo: Reach and Gears of War 3 amongst a ton of other industry things that I could only dream of being a part of. She is amazing and an awesome symbol of women gaming excellence in a sea of gaming bros. She just so happens to have been in a shit ton of movies and television shows as well (I personally fell in love with her when she played Charlie Wheeler on Friends). Oh yeah, and she’s freaking beautiful.
Two Tyler pictures in one day? Not too bad.
It’s apparent that even though she has a die-hard passion for los juegos (Baxter, you know I don’t speak Spanish!), Aisha clearly forgot that hot girls aren’t allowed to play video games, nor speak of them, EVER. Especially in front of a crowd at E3. Her bad. Barf.
Aisha’s recently gotten a bit of flack for hosting the Ubisoft briefing, it seems. The hating is typical because A) She has a cha-cha B) She has baloobas and C) She’s a hot chick.
If you haven’t read Aisha’s open letter to “Gamers” on her Facebook page, please take a second to survey the awesome. Not only does she mention she played Galaga after school as a kid and duel-wielded (nasty) on Time Crisis 3 (I came dangerously close to beating TC3 the other day at the arcade *shakes fists*), she also writes with a hell of a lot of passion about her love for all things gaming. If after reading the rant, you think anything other than, “Oh wow, this incredible beautiful strong intelligent female who is killer funny, likes video games just as much as I do! How awesome!”, then you are all idiots.
The rant Aisha wrote was justified but I’m annoyed that she had to write it at all. Or that for even for one brief moment she felt like she needed to explain her history of gaming and how big a part of her life it is.
When was the last time you read an article by a guy who felt like he had to explain his love for video games? Never. You’ve never read that article because it’s written in the man-law handbook that video games are for men and the industry is dominated by all things that wield a penis.
You know the reason why you doubt chick gamers? Because the only chicks you deem worthy enough into your boys-only sausage fest, are the scantily clad fake gamer girls at your conventions and press events. Or the random hire-a-model who begrudgingly puts on that Lara Croft outfit and struts around E3 like she cares.
Guess what? She doesn’t care. What she does care about, is that you are paying money for whatever it is she is shilling out to you doe-eyed misogynists who think a woman’s place is only in the kitchen, not sniping fools from a broken window in Call of Duty (I suck hard at sniping). I for one would like to pause from cooking you that amazing lasagnas and shove my spatula straight up your Xbox.
Instead of allowing girls into your man-club with open arms and erect Wiimotes, you instead feel the need to break us down, piece by piece, until there isn’t a woman gamer in sight. Who wants that? I don’t. As a chick, I want every single girl I know to play video games with me. I want to discuss the latest Twilight Novels (not really) with my babe friends while blowing through a Halo campaign together. Me, as a straight female, seem to want girls to game more than the dudes do. How is that possible?
You tell me. Is it that you don’t want to be able to play a match of COD after a hot night of steamy sexy sex with your lady friend? Do you not want to be able to adorn your apartment with Metal Gear Solid posters and not have your girlfriend bitch about it? Are you not interested in meeting some awesome chicks at a gaming convention who love gaming as much as you? The same girls who think there is nothing sexier than a guy who can dominate in some multiplayer Domination and don’t care that you haven’t changed your shirt in three days (neither have I…)?
For guys who game a lot, you certainly have no game.
Instead of barking at women who say they like playing video games, embrace the vagina of it all. The more girls that game, the better chances you have of landing a super awesome chick who has fun doing what YOU love! And the better chances that us gaming chicks have at meeting you awesome gaming dudes who share the same passion. I don’t care if she only likes playing RPG’s, FPS, MMORPG’s, Sports Games or Viva f’ing Pinata. You embrace her and you embrace her hard.
Like it or not, girls are into video games too and we aren’t going anywhere so you might as well get used to it.
-Jamie Lynn O’Dell
A proud girl gamer since 1986.