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Podcast: The History of JRPGs Coming to the West

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This week Fred is again solo, but fear not because he will have his faithful companion Jam back for the next episode. This week he’s discussing the origins of the Japanese Role Playing Game or JRPG and the genre’s eventual journey to the West. From humble roots in the early 80s to the powerhouse genres of the 90s, it’s a wild and crazy road.


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition Review

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2016s Game Club selection may as well be renamed “Jam’s gaming bucket list” as the vast majority of the games we have played this year are titles I’ve been wanting to play for sometime but just haven’t got around to. I could use the easy excuse where I say I’m too lazy or too busy but I choose to go with the excuse that I was on a long and arduous quest to find twelve jade statues in order to prevent the end of the world by new year. Fortunately for myself and humanity I completed that quest, surprisingly in Sleeping Dogs as well and I’m able to finish off 2016 with my review of the game. All in a days work I guess.

sleeping_dogs_definitive_edition_1Sleeping Dogs is an open world game set in Hong Kong where you play as Wei Shen an undercover cop who is attempting to take down the Triads from the inside. Of course its not that easy for Wei. He soon becomes close with the gangs leading you as the player to question who Wei is truly loyal to. While the story is certainly serviceable and well acted by the voice cast I never felt completely invested. There are some emotional moments in the plot with key characters but the ultimate pay off seemed somewhat lackluster. With the game ending open ended and setting up for a sequel, is disappointing since United Front Games has now closed and the chances of seeing this sequel are very slim.

As with most sandbox games there is a mix of various gameplay styles. Sleeping Dogs main stand out feature is the hand to hand fighting system. Wei Shen is well versed in martial arts as is every bad guy in this game who you’ll usually take on in large groups. You can attack and counter in a system very similar to the infamous Batman Arkham games, although Sleeping Dogs appears to have its own rhythm to its fighting system. I found that you had to be very careful with your button presses to begin with. Once you got the games own rhythm down, I was quite capable even with the odds stacked largely against me, once I got to this stage I felt like Bruce Lee (insert broken table). You can also grapple enemies and maneuver them to create devastating environmental kills such as impaling guys on sword fish or smashing someone’s head into a urinal which reminds me of a fond scene from the film True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Written by jamalais

January 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Sleeping Dogs Game Club (Part 2)

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It’s time to wrap up the story of Wei Shin in our second half of the game club.  Fred and Jam pick up after “the wedding” and wrap up the main storyline along with side missions and impressions on the base game.  Then they delve into the relatively large bundle of DLC that released on the game (and is included in the Definitive Edition).


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Written by Fred Rojas

December 28, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Sleeping Dogs Game Club (Part 1)

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This week Fred and Jam delve into the Triad underworld as an undercover cop in Sleeping Dogs.  They go over the creation of developer United Front Games, the sordid tale of development and name changes, complete with a cancellation and resurrection under a new publisher.  Finally they tackle the first half of the campaign, complete with side quests.


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Written by Fred Rojas

December 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix Review

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Who doesn’t like Disney films? You pretty much know what your going to get: a family friendly film with a few laughs and occasionally some tears. Whether you love them or hate them there’s probably a Disney film you like. For me, I love the Lion King.  It still remains one of my firm favourites, closely followed by Robin Hood, an older film in the company’s catalogue that I have a lot of nostalgia for.  Kingdom Hearts seemed like a fascinating IP that essentially merges the Disney Universe with a video game.

I originally saw footage of Kingdom Hearts on a demo disc for an unofficial Playstation 2 magazine. The demo wasn’t playable it was an extended trailer with just music. The music from the get go was mesmerizing and still one of the series strongest draws. The footage simply showed a collage of the cutscenes from the game showcasing the main character Sora along with Donald Duck and Goofy. With them visiting various Disney worlds such as Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Hercules and many more. The footage looked incredibly ambitious from a story standpoint. No gameplay footage was shown and I don’t believe Squaresoft (today now Square Enix) ever released a playable demo of the game. I vividly remember multiple magazine articles being excited at the prospect alone of this game. It almost seemed destined to be a critical hit.

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Written by jamalais

November 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Kingdom Hearts, Part 2

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This week we wrap up Squaresoft’s collaboration with Disney in the original Kingdom Hearts.  Fred and Jam wrap up the campaign and then bring in guest Fortengard to discuss the secrets, bosses, and lesser known differences between versions.


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Written by Fred Rojas

August 31, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Kingdom Hearts, Part 1

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Despite not being able to do a live show, Jam and Fred get together and record a massive introduction to the original Kingdom Hearts.  In this first part the two go over the development, gameplay, and presumably first half of the game (they are just past Agrabah by the end of the show).  Sorry for the lack of music, there was something off in the audio file that didn’t make it easy to do, so in the interest of time the show was pushed out sans music.


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Written by Fred Rojas

August 21, 2016 at 10:13 am

Podcast: Nier Game Club

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In the first game club for the new format Fred, Jam, and guest Fortengard jump into the ambitious world of Nier.  Developed by dissolved developer Cavia and published by Square Enix, this is one of the oddest titles to appear last generation.  In this episode the hosts dissect the development, campaign, gameplay, and audio/visuals of this divisive cult favorite.

Opening: Snow in Summer
Fishing: Song of the Ancients Fate
Town: Song of the Ancients (Devola)
Open Area: Hills of Radiant Winds
Dungeon: The Wrecked Automatons
Closing: Yona (Piano Version)


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 27, 2016 at 11:00 am

Nier Quick Look

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Fred tackles the next game in his quest for conquering cult classics. Nier is quite possibly the title from last generation with the most cult appeal and with last year’s announcement of a sequel it’s time to get it done.  This series will continue to grow in both this post and on the playlist on YouTube.  See the video description on YouTube for timestamps of the different sections.

***The live stream had issues until around 13:30, if you can’t handle choppy video/sound then you may want to skip to there.***

Footage was taken from a live stream of this session on twitch.tv/gh101. This series airs Wendesdays at 11pm Eastern, but additional sessions may be announced. Follow @TheRealGH101 on twitter to get announcement details. Each episode will later be uploaded on this channel.

Written by Fred Rojas

February 12, 2016 at 11:00 am

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Life is Strange Episode 4 Review

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Please Note: Many reviewers out there seem to think it is appropriate to discuss the events of previous episodes of Life is Strange as if everyone who would read it damn well should have already played the previous episodes.  It has been my experience that if you have held out this long and haven’t already played this episode then you are most likely wondering how the game progresses throughout the season and will decide whether or not to buy when all episodes are out.  This is why each episodic review is spoiler free for the entire season, not just this episode.

Episode 4: Dark Room

life_is_strange_ep4_1We have arrived at episode 4, nearing the end of the season and who knows, perhaps this episode contains the major climax for the arc.  I say this without assurance because episode 3 had such an unexpected cliffhanger that I didn’t think it was possible to get me again.  I was wrong.  That being said I need to come right out and say I was a little unimpressed overall with episode 4, proving that the warning I gave in the first episode’s review may have actually come to fruition.  Whereas episodes 2 and especially three can begin to fork based off of your choices and possibly even suggest that two playthroughs is more of a recommendation rather than an option, episode 4 is forcing you down a corridor.  Granted, it’s a well calculated corridor that presents itself with the illusion of choice, but I’ve seen this trick before in The Walking Dead series from Telltale and without sounding catty, I thought Dontnod was above that.  There’s a decent amount of substance here still, with the story having easily its highest moment yet as the episode closes and again there are some strong emotional scenes that make up a very heavy episode.  One thing I do find a bit troubling is the fact that as certain plots unfold, others are left almost unmentioned, which nets a lot of catch up, wrap up, and resolution required for the fifth and final episode.  I’m just hoping that it remains as interactive as the others have been and doesn’t become the 90 minute ending of Metal Gear Solid 4.  Dontnod has yet to convince me they don’t know how to craft a story and without a doubt they know how to catch my interest, here’s hoping the ending stands as strongly as the jaw-dropping cliffhangers of previous episodes.

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Written by Fred Rojas

August 13, 2015 at 11:00 am