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Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Substance Review

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Editor’s Note:  Jam originally wrote this review back in August of 2015 and somehow I missed it for almost six months.  This won’t happen again but I figured we should still show love to a great game and a great review.  Sorry Jam.

Metal Gear Solid 2 was possibly one of my most anticipated video games back in my youth. I eagerly awaited its release in 2002 (a little later than the rest of the world in Europe because game companies hate us). Kojima had been very smart in teasing the hotly anticipated sequel to the PS2 classic with various trailers and that infamous pack in demo with the full retail game Zone of The Enders, which no one played. We just couldn’t wait to play as Snake. On release I’m happy to admit my fan boy goggles were literally set to “Fan-tastic” as I played this game and loved the ever loving hell out of it and not buying in to some of the games criticisms post release. Well I’m older and detestably more mature so its time to return to the title and see how it fairs today. To research for this review I played through the game on the the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on Xbox 360 and PSVita. The game had multiple releases on a lot of consoles but this review pretty much speaks to every version of the game.

mgs2_snakeMetal Gear Solid 2 puts you back into the shoes of the legendary Solid Snake, who has now gone rouge with his new pal Otacon from the first Solid game. They have formed the ultimate bro-mance to travel the world and take down metal gears (those are bipedal tanks if you’re not up to date with the series). Snake ends up on a ship passing through the Hudson River in a scene which is frankly fantastic if you’re a fan of cinema. Snake casually smokes a cig in his rain coat and gradually picks up his pace to then bungee jump off a bridge onto a ship. Re-watching this cinematic is still wonderful and possibly my favourite opening in the series. So you’re all happy playing as your hero Solid Snake. You fight a Russian girl, you take pictures of a metal gear along with sleeping soldiers, and then the game ends. Well, at least your control of Snake ends.  It has become known as the biggest historic bitch slap to the face of gaming history. After playing literally a couple of hours of the game, you are then put into the shoes of the far less interesting character: Raiden. Yeah, Raiden is no Solid Snake.  He has blonde hair, is pretty skinny, and lacks that testosterone appeal that we are used to from the much preferred Solid Snake. So you play as Raiden thinking “no big deal we’ll get back to Snake soon.” Wrong! You continue as Raiden for the rest of the game. So it’s kinda of disappointing but doesn’t completely ruin the gaming, its just not the Metal Gear story we were expecting.

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Written by jamalais

February 8, 2016 at 11:00 am

Jade Empire Review

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The original Xbox was a system with some incredibly gems on it that really didn’t receive much appreciation until near the end of the consoles life cycle. The game developer Bioware were all about the Xbox with their main hit on the system being Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic then later down the road in 2005 they brought out one of the most overlooked titles from the company Jade Empire.  Jade Empire really never found its audience, even to this day. Just mentioning this title to people today brings question marks in peoples minds. I remember seeing the game in an Official Xbox Magazine and being incredibly excited by the screen shots. Then the game came out and people just sort of forgot it was there. Today the game is passed off as one of the weakest titles in Biowares back catalogue.

Jade Empire is a Western developed action role-playing game (RPG) you play as a martial arts hero that you choose at the start of the game. You can choose between 5 set character models (6 if you have the limited edition or special edition), you can choose to go with pre-selected stats or you can customize the heroes stats yourself. You unfortunately can’t customize your characters appearance which is a shame considering Bioware’s previous Star Wars title allowed you to alter your characters appearance.

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Written by jamalais

January 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in PC/Mac, Reviews, Xbox

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The Countdown Horror Obscura – Day 5: Manhunt

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Day 5: Manhunt

manhunt

Manhunt is a game that I feel to this day I have to tread very carefully when I discuss it. This was one of the very few titles that was actually banned in the UK due to a very unfortunate link to a horrific news story which I will not be discussing in this article. With that short intro out the way lets get into why I’m featuring this title in the Horror Obscura.

I view Manhunt as a title in time with those gore fest films like Saw only a lot worse. Manhunt is a game that is really uncomfortable to play. For starters you don’t even play the good guy, you take control as James Earl Cash who is a pawn in a game where he is directed by a psychopath known as “The Director,” to brutally murder members of gangs and other crazy people. This game is incredibly dark and not for everyone. There are no redeeming qualities to Cash either. He is bad, he kills without remorse and even when he does meet support characters he has no interest in making friends. This is a rare video game that forces you down the dark path. If you are able to get past this you will actually be in for quite an impressive stealth title.

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Written by jamalais

October 27, 2015 at 11:00 am

The Countdown Obscura Horror – Day 3: The Suffering

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the_suffering_boxDay 3: The Suffering

A prison, what an ideal location for horror and dread. Several games have visited this locale, the most infamous being Batman’s Arkham series and the recent Prison Simulator on PC, a game I’m surprised was not released 2 years ago. When it comes to horror Surreal Software took the prison as there main location and created something special with the 2004 release of The Suffering.

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Written by jamalais

October 25, 2015 at 11:00 am

Extra Credit: Community Xbox Top 10

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Despite a slight delay (sorry community!) the community Xbox Top 10 finally arrives with plenty of great titles to discuss.  Hear about everyone’s fond memories of Microsoft’s flagship console.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 17, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Posted in podcast, Top 10, Xbox

Extra Credit: Top 10 Xbox Games

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xboxMicrosoft’s big clunky box from 2001 may have been laughable at first, but whether you were aware or not it hit like a limited interest storm that holiday.  From a certain shooter to the catalog of Sega and a myriad of PC ports, there’s no denying the Xbox started to bridge the gap between console and computer.  Fred and Jam duke it out once again with 40 more of their favorite titles to see which 10 remain in this month’s Top 10 Xbox games.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast, Top 10, Xbox

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Documentary: The Evolution and Making of Halo

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Sorry Everyone: Due to Copyright Claims we didn’t think we were violating (because we don’t do ad revenue) this video was removed by our editorial team.  We want to continue to offer high quality content to you and we also do not want to violate the rights of any developer, publisher, or business.  We apologize.

Many of you may know the story behind the original Halo, and for those that don’t we have this trusty podcast from a while back.  It’s one thing to hear it and it’s quite another to see it.  This documentary series shows off the initial MacWorld reveal of Halo in 1999 when Steve Jobs himself introduced what was to become a real-time strategy (RTS) title, the progression to a PC squad-based shooter in 2000 at E3, and the final reveal as a first person shooter on the Xbox in 2001.  After seeing how it progresses we then get about half an hour of developer commentary on the various decisions made in the development process to result in the finished product you know as Halo: Combat Evolved.  This video and the gameplay footage in it are owned by Microsoft and Bungie.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm

NHL 2002 Quick Look

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Of Fred’s 3 random games he has to cover this month, one was a sports game that apparently was the best hockey game on the PS2.  NHL 2002, developed and published by EA, touts funny announcers, crazy gameplay mechanics, and some of the smoothest action for the generation.  Fred gives it an initial go and if nothing else, exploits the unbalanced nature of the AI on both sides of the difficulty spectrum.  More coverage and a review to follow, but here’s the initial 30 minutes and it ends with a Sum41 song, woo hoo game license cross-promotion!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k9H8Ug1ojA]

Written by Fred Rojas

April 30, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in PC/Mac, PS2, Videos, Xbox

Tagged with , ,

Now & Then: Mortal Kombat 3

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Mk3

Switching It Up

mk3_1A lot happened both in the talent pool of Mortal Kombat players and in the game design overall between the release of Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3).  For starters there was a mass exodus of on screen talent due to royalty disputes, so almost no one from the original two games returned for the third release.  In addition, Boon and his team were trying to turn Mortal Kombat into a viable fighting game with things no one had ever seen before and mechanics that could compete with the massive rush of fighters in arcades.  The game was completely Americanized, with all hints of Eastern influence including symbols, locales, and the soundtrack completely absent without a trace and instead replaced by urban stages, 90s hip-hop soundtracks, and cyborgs replaced the signature ninjas.  These locations were now composed of pre-rendered 3D backgrounds and the character sprites were almost totally digitized as opposed to the digitized/hand drawn hybrid of the previous games.  Along with it came an overhaul of the controls, including combos and a “run” button to address rightful claims that defensive players ruled the previous title.  It’s all one giant 90s metaphor but that doesn’t change the fact that MK3 (and it’s update Ultimate MK3 or UMK3) stands as the moment I felt the series went into the mainstream fighter territory.  Couple this with the fact that it was on just about every console that existed at the time, still dominated arcades, and had more content than rival Street Fighter II could ever dream to do with its iterations and I see why it’s creator Ed Boon’s favorite.  Mortal Kombat 3 definitely upped the ante.

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Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) Review

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fahrenheit_xboxindigo_prophecy_ps2Platform: Xbox, Playstation 2, PC (both the original and the just released Remastered Edition)
Released: 2005 (worldwide)
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Atari
Digital Release? Yes – Available on Xbox 360 as an Xbox Original and Remastered is on Steam ($9.99 for all versions)
Price: $8.00 (disc only), $10.99 (complete), and $46.97 (new/sealed) per Price Charting (prices are for PS2 version, Xbox/PC versions a bit lower due to re-release)

Jam’s Take

Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy in America) is one of those games that attempted to create a interactive film experience. Some excepted this concept with open arms, some people frowned on it proclaiming it technically wasn’t a game. Well several years has passed since that fateful release in 2005 so lets see if Fahrenheit is still worth investing in.

Fahrenheit’s story has you following three character Lucas Kane a 9-to-5 IT worker who has a fondness for reading Shakespeare in diners, Carla Valenti a young cop who is claustrophobic and Tyler Miles, Carla’s police partner and your typical comic relief in a cop duo but he likes basketball, which is ok in my book. Essentially New York as well as the world is starting to get cold, really cold and bizarre murders are occurring round the city where normal folk are killing innocent people then themselves. I won’t spoil the story too much as it is the games strongest draw. What I will say is the game is filled with a fair few twists and turns playing out very much like a film, if it hooks you from the beginning it is very likely you will play through to the end.

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Written by jamalais

February 5, 2015 at 11:50 am

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