Category Archives: Video Game Review

Video Game Review: The Walking Dead: Road to Survival

The Walking Dead is no stranger to the world of video games. From Telltale’s groundbreaking The Walking Dead: Season One to Activision’s less-than-stellar Survival Instinct, the series’ appeal has spread through genres like a zombie plague through Atlanta. It was only a matter of time until the series took a bite out of the free-to-play mobile genre, but luckily developer Scopely has managed to keep the series’ dark appeal intact for what might be the deepest Walking Dead game yet – The Walking Dead: Road to Survival.

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For those who don’t know, The Walking Dead began as a humble comic book series, before bursting onto the scene with a smash hit television show and a series of video game spinoffs. The TV show and the comics diverge in points, but feature many of the same core characters and key plot areas. Those characters make occasional appearances in Road to Survival – including a noteworthy appearance by Lee and Clementine from Telltale’s adventure games – but the core storyline is original, and focuses on placing you in the violent throes of a world slowly disintegrating from infection.

The focus on a mature, violent story separates Road to Survival from the crowd of free-to-play games on mobile. There’s a deep storyline, which players can exert direct control over through multiple choice prompts. You might be asked whether to spare a survivor or let them die, for example, and your choice will color the rest of the story.

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At its core, Road to Survival is a role-playing adventure game, so as you progress you’ll find yourself collecting more survivors for your party. Each survivor has unique skills, strengths and weaknesses to take into account when you battle. Fights play out against both human and zombie (called walkers, in the parlance of The Walking Dead) enemies. You make your choices in a turn-based fashion, but the intensely strategic nature of the fights means that there’s never a lack of tension during battle. Each character’s unique power adds a dash of aggression to the combat, keeping you on your toes.

Of course, all of the survivors you’re collecting need space. As you expand your party, you’ll also need to expand your base of operations. You’ll build homes to store your survivors, expand your Town Hall to grow your town, and more. The strategic, low-tempo base building is the perfect counterpoint to the intense combat and heavy decision making in the story.

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It’s a great mix, and all things considered I had a fantastic time with Road to Survival. The blend of storytelling and intense combat makes it a surefire hit for fans of The Walking Dead and role-playing games alike.

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GAMES, GORE, AND “GOOD GOD, NOOOOOOO….”

The Top Five Horror Video Games You Need To Play

It’s been almost exactly 20 years since Capcom’s iconic video game Resident Evil made its blood splattered debut on the PlayStation. There had been earlier attempts at gaming horror but none had really delivered, until this zombie-stuffed puzzle-solver dragged its ax and shuffled into our lives.

Today, the horror genre has come a long way. Virtual reality is adding a new dimension, and gore has gotten out of control. There are even online casino games jumping onto the horror bandwagon

Here are our top five horror video games to watch out for in 2016…

Resident Evil 7

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The Resident Evil rumor mill is in full ax swing, with reports of a seventh installment in the series. The game’s developers are promising to switch the emphasis away from gun play and back to horror.

Remember that pant-wetting scene in Resident Evil 2 when the zombies burst through the windows? You’d been up and down that corridor a dozen times and then – suddenly – you are fighting for your digital life. It’s one of horror video gaming’s defining moments: an interactive scare. Let’s hope the latest iteration returns to form and gets it right.

Haunted House

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Casino games have been a major player in the world of online video games, ever since someone swapped pong for online pokies. If you like a little horror with your online casino games, why not take the Haunted House pokies for a spin. This old school online pokies features vampires, coffins, garlic, and crosses. You can scare yourself into a small fortune, if Lady Luck cuts you a break. You can find the Haunted House online pokies at some of the world’s biggest online casinos, including both Casino.com and MansionCasino.com.

Doom

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Everyone remembers the first time they played Doom: the original FPS. Shotguns and chainsaws are the tools of choice, as well as the BFG. The game debuted in 1993 and the gore has been ramped up ever since. This year sees the release of a next generation Doom game. The ‘head-stamping-chainsaw-slicing-bug-squishing’ trailer is a gory masterpiece of gruesome mayhem that promises to bring the pain.

Dreadhalls

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It’s not just online casino games that are making the most of the new virtual reality technology. Dreadhalls is one of the first horror VR online video games that gives players a true sense of dread. You wander claustrophobic pitch black tunnels, armed with a feeble torch. Fully immersed in this environment, wearing your VR headset, Dreadhalls is a game that lives up to its name.

Silent Hill

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When it comes to genuinely terrifying games, aimed strictly at an adult audience, the Silent Hills franchise takes some beating and bludgeoning. The game’s dark, hallucinogenic, atmosphere is stifling, blood-curdling, and bleak. Add to this: a cast of sadistic, nightmarish, characters, a failing torch, and constantly spluttering electrics, and you have a genuinely disturbing gaming experience. This year, Silent Hills Allison Road will be the game that has gamers gasping in horror. Due for release in October.

Video Game Review: Year Walk

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Video Game Review: Year Walk

Let’s face it: indie games have always had a reputation for being all hype and no delivery, and when it comes to horror titles, many of us find that indie games just don’t have what it takes to scare us silly – apart from a few titles, of course. However, just a few months ago, Funcom released The Park, a one- to two-hour game that puts players into the shoes of a distressed mother looking for her son in an amusement park after hours. It was an excellent showcase of what indie games could be, creating a horrifying story out of a communal fear of amusement parks after dark, and portraying the despair of a mother for her child in a unique way. Of course, The Park is a PC game, and it’s had many amazing games come before it, such as Amnesia, and we know there’s plenty of potential there.

What we rarely see, however, is indie horror games for mobile phones that do what they promise. Despite advancements in mobile technology and the obvious interest in mobile games, horror has been grossly underrated in mobile markets. According to the company behind Free Casino Hunter, 50% of all smartphone activity comes from gaming, and social gaming in particular continues to top the charts, with social games becoming worth $4 billion by the end of this year. It’s difficult to create horror games with the technology afforded by mobile phones, as the smaller screens, and slower processors are often unable to render the gore or create the ambience needed for horror titles. However, some developers have found that the answer lies in minimalist games that focus on a chilling story, and that games created with this in mind can be quite successful.

This brings us to Year Walk, a game by Simgogo, which was released in 2013 to staggeringly positive reviews. It revolves around the ancient Swedish practice of the “year walk”, in which one goes on a pilgrimage of sorts in order to see the future. In the game, the character takes a year walk to discover his future with his beloved, uncovering cryptic clues and encountering many strange creatures from Swedish mythology. The artwork is beautiful and haunting, and many of the puzzles require plenty of thinking outside of the box – and in some cases, thinking outside of the app itself. Along with the game, there is also a “Companion App”, which gives players a better understanding of the lore that the game builds upon.

One particularly interesting thing to note with Year Walk is that the game has also been released on Steam, becoming a point-and-click adventure, but losing most of its interactivity. In the mobile phone version, users would have to solve some puzzles by spinning their device around, and these elements are lost to the PC version. The experience of using the companion app is also lost, as the PC game simply makes use of a built-in encyclopedia to help guide you through your year-long vision quest.

Regardless, the game has some surprising chills. It wasn’t simply because of the occasional jumpscare either. The art was haunting, and so was the music, and the story even more so. It’s a game that showcases just what horror games can be on mobile phones, and it’s perfectly deserving of the near-perfect reviews it got from all the important critics.

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Video Game Review: Batman: Arkham City: Harley Quinn’s Revenge

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After the demise of her beloved Mr. J, Harley Quinn is out for revenge against Batman and anyone that tries to help him stop her and her goons. In this downloadable add-on for Batman: Arkham City, you play as Robin and Batman in an attempt to stop Harley Quinn from destroying Arkham City and anyone that gets in her way.

harley-quinns-revenge-2Harley Quinn’s Revenge adds an additional two hours of game play to Batman: Arkham City. If you already own the game, you can purchase the download through the main menu of the game. It is a little steep for only two hours of game play at $9.99.

Harley Quinn gets yet another makeover for her oneshot, self-titled video game debut. She is in mourning, so her costume, hair and makeup has gotten a lot darker. I love her new look and attitude.

The game opens with Robin speaking to Barbara as they try to figure out what has happened to Batman. You start off as the boy wonder,who has gotten a pretty anti boy wonder, ninja type makeover, searching Arkham City for signs of the Dark Knight. I 2373725-bac_hqr_006love that they offer game play as two different characters, it helps make the price paid for it a little more worth it considering the Robin bundle for the main game is $9.99 itself.

The difficulty level of finding Batman and taking on Harley Quinn as Robin I would rate as fairly challenging.

Once you save Batman, you then continue through the rest of the game as the Dark Knight. The graphics are fantastic and the story line is definitely worth checking out. My main complaint is that the additional two hours seemed to be a lot less than two hours to me. I guess if you are hqrreview2new to gaming or just learning how to play this style game, it may really take two hours.  It is however, more challenging than Arkham City.

All in all, I enjoyed Harley Quinn’s Revenge and I am quite happy with forking over the $10.94 (after tax) for it. I highly recommend this to any Batman fan that enjoyed Arkham City that wanted a little more out of the game. I would not recommend this to anyone that has not played either Arkham Asylum or Arkham City as you can not adjust the difficulty level, so it may be a bit more challenging if you have never played this type of game before.

 

Video Game Review: Batman: Arkham City

arkham_city_360_final1Manufacturer: Warner Bros.

Developer: Rocksteady Studios

Genre: Action

Rating: Teen (violence, blood, alcohol use, sexual innuendos, language)

Downloadable Content: Catwoman Bundle, Robin Bundle, Nightwing Bundle, Avatar Costumes, Themes, Harley Quinn’s Revenge (separate review coming)

Platform: XBOX 360

Buy Batman: Arkham City

I know I’m going a little out of order with this review since Arkham City comes after Batman: Arkham Asylum, but I personally prefer Arkham City.

Picking up right after Arkham Asylum, in Batman: Arkham City you play as Batman hunting down villains such as Joker, ArkhamCityJokerHarley Quinn, Penguin, Hugo Strange, Mr. Freeze, Bane and many others while trying to save Gotham. With the downloadable character bundles, you can also play as Catwoman, Robin or Nightwing.

The story line for this game is way better than Arkham Asylum. I love the idea of facing more than just one of Gotham’s famous villains. I know there were similar situations in Arkham Asylum, but there is more than just Joker and Harley Quinn in the main focus. Penguin gets quite a large story line himself. I makes the game more challenging and keeps the game interesting.

The one thing I really didn’t care for was the amount of side missions. Similar to Arkham Asylum, there are side missions for Riddler, but in Arkham City, there are a lot more side missions such as working with Bane to destroy TITAN containers, finding Nora Fries, playing a serious game of phone tag with Victor Zsasz and many others. All of these side missions clutter the map and make it harder to concentrate on the main objectives of the game. Some side missions are great, but there are way too many.

640x773HarleyQuinnDLCBattman1Through the years, every Batman character has gotten a more modern makeover. The new looks of the villains in Arkham City are the best so far. The looks are almost a steampunk style. Harley Quinn is the most drastic makeover. The mask and headpiece are gone and she dawns skin tight, leather getup. The one makeover I did not care much for was Penguin.

*SPOILER ALERT* (If you have yet to play this game and do not want to know what happens at the end, skip the next paragraph)

Joker infects Batman with his blood that has been tainted by the TITAN formula, and now Batman has to work with Freeze to make a cure for the disease. The cure does get manufactured, but Joker messes up and shatters the vile that contains the cure after Batman takes some. Joker and Batman exchange one more witty round of verbal blows Arkham_City_Penguinbefore Joker meets his demise. While this idea is a good one, I would have liked to have seen a villain of Joker’s status have a more extreme end. Batman carried Joker’s lifeless body out of the Steel Mill and lays him out on the hood of a police car in front of Jim Gordon and Harley Quinn. Batman shoulders the responsibility of Joker’s death because he could have saved him, and he leaves in a very dark state. Which brings us to Harley Quinn’s Revenge.

All in all, I loved Batman: Arkham City. The story line and characters made the game both challenging and a lot of fun to play. I highly recommend this one to any Batman fan.

Stay tuned for the review of Harley Quinn’s Revenge!

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Video Game Review: ‘Lollipop Chainsaw’ (Xbox 360)

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Rated M

Grasshopper Manufacture

June 12, 2012

Plot: Lollipop Chainsaw is the story of young, beautiful zombie-killer Juliet Starling, her sidekick disembodied-head boyfriend, and the entire Starling family of zombie killers as they team up to stop a colossal zombie outbreak. Leading the zombies are a group of zombie rock and roll lords who do battle with Juliet

 I have been hearing a lot about ‘Lollipop Chainsaw’ since its 2012 release, so I finally decided to break down and give it a try.

The first thing anyone notices about a product is the packaging.  The cover art for ‘Lollipop Chainsaw’ is colorful and attractive.  It’s got an Anime look to it. The cover is appealing to both genders.

The controls during game play are simple to figure out.  While fighting the zombies, you use a grand total of three controls.  I like the simplicity of the controls, but the game itself is way to easy for my liking, I prefer more of a challenge.  Even when a massive horde of zombies approach, it is easy to quickly take them all out.

The level of humor in ‘Lollipop Chainsaw’ is pretty high.  Every time Juliet kills a zombie, she says something witty.  The phrases that she says are kind of corny, but actually, pretty funny.

As a fan of horror films and video games, I like a little gore with anything involving zombies.  While there is some blood, with a mature rating, there could have been a little bit more.  My biggest complaint is that when she kills a zombie, rainbows and stars start flying.  I know this is an Anime style game and you are playing the role of a cheerleader, but there is a bit too much camp for my liking.

I’m not going to say that I hate this game, but it really is not my cup of tea.  If you are into Anime and zombies, this is a great game for you.  If you are looking for a gory zombie killing fest, this game is not for you.  ‘Lollipop Chainsaw’ is great for beginners.  If you’re new to gaming or new to this style of game, this is a great option for you.

The critics have given ‘Lollipop Chainsaw’ an average of 7.6 out of 10.  I am giving it a 6 out of 10.  I liked the cover art, the graphics and the overall story line of the game, but it was way too easy and campy for my taste.

Buy Lollipop Chainsaw

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Video Game Review: Dead Island Riptide (Xbox 360)

dead-island-riptide-x360-asTagline: “Only The Dead Survive”

Action/Adventure/Horror

Rated M

Released April 23, 2013 (US)

Production Companies: Deep Silver & Techland

The Dead Island heroes escaped in a helicopter to the safety of a military ship, but when a furious storm hits, the virus suddenly spreads leaving hope drowning in the rising tides.

 

 

 

Zombie themed video games have always been big time sellers.  I have played a few of them myself including the Walking Dead games, the Left 4 Dead series and the first Dead Island game.  I recently picked up the second installment of the Dead Island series, Dead Island Riptide.

The graphics in Dead Island Riptide are much better than the ones in the first game.  Much like Dead Island, Dead Island Riptide is mainly a melee weapon style game.  You are started off with some flimsy knives, but guns do become available fairly early in the game.  Although guns are available, ammo is very limited and not that easy to find once you run out.

Much like Dead Island, you are plopped on an island over run by zombies and you go out on your own.  I like that you’re on your own, but I don’t at the same time.  Characters played by the computer can slow you down and get in your way, but there are so many zombies, a little help would be nice.  You can join other players that are close to you if you are playing on Live (this is with Xbox 360, I’m not sure about other consoles).

Not only is the island over run with zombies, but they are usually in large groups and very fast moving.  There are also different types of zombies. Infected, walkers, thugs, butchers, floaters, suiciders, grenadiers, drowners, and wrestlers.  Each type of zombie has different abilities, strength levels and so on.  For a complete list of zombie types and describtions, click here. There are  It can get kind of difficult to accomplish the mission you are on and to stay alive with mostly melee weapons.  I do enjoy the overall challenging level of the game.

The kills of the zombies and the attacks on survivors are pretty gory.  I can see why this game is rated M.  Not to sound like a psycho, but I enjoyed the level of gore.  What is a horror/zombie themed game without an impressive amount of gore?

Overall, I like Dead Island Riptide.  The average critic rating is 6.4 out of 10.  I give this game an 8 out of 10 for amazing graphics, story line and the challenging level of difficulty.  I recommend this game to anyone that enjoyed the first game in the series, the Left 4 Dead series or The Walking Dead games.  If there is to be another installment to the Dead Island series, I will definitely check it out.

If you don’t already have this game and you’d like to pick it up or learn more about it and you don’t feel like going out, you can pick it up from GameStop.com or Amazon.com for all gaming consoles.  Both sites are about the same in price and very reasonable.

 

Video Game Review: The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (with some “cheats”)

The Walking Dead Survival Instinct-coverI know I’m late on this review, but this has been a highly requested review from a few of my readers.  I also decided to do this to test the possibility of maybe doing more video game reviews.

I picked up The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct the weekend it was available.  As a fan of The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker, naturally I had to give this game a try.  Like many other video games, everyone plays it differently and different people are better at certain games, like me, I suck at sports games, but I have a natural gift with this type of game.

The graphics and story line of the game were amazing.  It was nice to see the Dixon brothers get their own game.  On a scale of 1 to 10 how challenging the game was for me, at first a 7, but once I played a couple of levels, it went down to about a 4.  Below, I added a cheat of mine to make missions go a bit faster.

When the game first starts, you are playing as Daryl and Merle’s father on a hunting trip, but only for a couple minutes then you die and play as Daryl.  I loved that there was an overall mission, find Merle and evacuate,  to the game and it wasn’t about just running around and killing walkers.  There is a mission for every level whether it be saving a survivor, finding a part for your car, finding gas or of course, finding supplies.  I liked that the level of difficulty of each mission fluctuated.  Unlike most games, the missions didn’t get harder as the game went on, but went up and down.  As a matter of fact, I had the most difficulty in the middle of the game as apposed to the  end.  The game does not plateau like many others of this genre do.

I liked the over all flow of the game, but I do have a couple of complaints.  For starters, you can’t choose which Dixon you want to be, you have to be Daryl, sorry Merle fans.  I understand why this is, but it would be cool to be able to choose Merle or Daryl.  My next complaint, the way the game saves.  I don’t know if this is just for Xbox 360 or all consoles, but the only way to save was to complete a level.  If you don’t complete the level you are on, you have to start it over.  A save option would have been nice.  My final complaint is the length of the game.  It is way too short.  I would love to see a part two of this game with some more options and maybe a bit more length to it.

All in all, I really liked The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.  Even if you’re not a big gamer, the game is fun.  It is a must have for any fan of The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker and of course, our favorite dysfunctional, fictional brothers, Daryl and Merle Dixon.

*My Personal Cheat*

At first, I struggled, but I quickly found easy ways to get through missions.  For example, when I had to find a part to fix the car, this is after you get the crossbow, I would find a car or a truck and stand on top of it.  After I was in the center of the roof, I would fire a gun and bring all of the walkers out.  They would surround the car then I would switch back to the crossbow and kill all of the faster ones that came out.  After that, you have a walker free environment and tasks become much easier.