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UnrealLegend Blog

Remember my last blog? (Plus some incoherent ramblings from yours truly!)

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Remember my last blog? Where I said The Dark Knight Rises was well-written?

I take that back. Upon re-watching it, there were too many little plot-holes that stuck out. Like, a lot.

But hey, let's keep things positive. Since my last blog in July, many things have happened. Well, not really. I'm still an unemployed bum, and I'm still playing games. One thing that swooped in an surprised me was The Walking Dead. I nabbed it during one of the Steam sales (I honestly don't remember which one :?), and I loved every damn second of it. I even named it GOTY over the Ubisoft twins (Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed III), and even to this day, the very thought of it brings a smile to my face, as well as a tear.

And in movie-related stuff, there were two films in the latter half of last year that really stuck out to me. I am talking about the twenty-third adventure of the world's most famous spy, and the first part of a long awaited adaptation. I am of course talking about Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And don't worry, I'll use spoiler tags where neseccary.

I would consider Skyfall to be my third favourite Bond film (behind the ever-fantastic Casino Royale and the criminally-underrated Licence to Kill). I thought they finally found the perfect balance between classic Bond shenanigans and the more realistic "modern" Bond. The plot was different from the usual "Evil guy who desires world domination fires stolen nuclear missiles in all directions" plot, and I appreciated that. And the callbacks to previous Bond movies triggered a total nerd breakbown. And speaking of nerdgasms...

The Hobbit.

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I loved this beyond description. Yes, I'm a bit of a Tolkien nut. And yes, The Lord of the Rings trilogy ranks among my favourite films of all time (with TFotR coming out at the top). Quite simply, I think Peter Jackson did a brilliant job adapting the novel. I would have liked it if they could squeeze it all into one film, but the idea of turning it into a trilogy doesn't bother me since it only leads to the story being fleshed out more (and obviously more $$$ for the creators.)

But yes, hobbits. Martin Freeman totally blew away my expectations, and the returning cast are just as excellent as always (I'm looking at you, Andy Serkis). There are so many things I liked about the movie, but there was one partiular part I adored:

[spoiler] The Troll scene. This is possibly the most memorable segment of the novel, and I honestly feel that the movie did it better. The dwarves storming out of the bushes was such an awesome shot, and I couldn't think of a better way to screenify it. [/spoiler]

I could go on for ages, but I reckon you all get the point. (And by the way, if you're still reading at this point, then good job! :P) That all said, I agree with some of the criticsism of the movie being too long. Not all of it though. In fact, there's only a few parts that felt drawn out to me:

[spoiler] -The prologue with Frodo (mainly because it used lines straight from TLoTR novel, which felt somewhat awkward.)

-Radagast running about.

-The mountain giants. (This could have been reserved for the inevitable extended cut, thus making everyone happy.)

[/spoiler]

And another thing I feel like voicing my opinion on is a certain animated series by Matt Groening that is very dear to my heart. The Simpsons! No wait... the other one. Futurella.

Futurama's seventh production season made it's debut last year and I liked it. I feel though, that it's starting to lose it's edge slightly. In spite of there not being a single episode that I consided bad from the 13-episode batch, I felt it lacked a real kicker. A real Roswell That Ends Well or The Late Philip J. Fry. The lack of a vomit-inducing turd like Bender's Game or Neutopia is welcome though. With 13 episodes airing later this year, it's fate remains to be seen.

Anyway, that's enough from me. There aren't really any games or movies coming out in the near future that hold my interest, so it might be a while before you hear from me again.

So long, friends!

*UnrealLegend crawls back into semi-lurkdom

Update on my extremely fascinating life.

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It's been quite a long time since I made my last blog post, so I thought I might pop in.

I saw The Dark Knight Rises a couple of days ago, and thought it was excellent. Very well written and a nice ending to the story. Probably not quite as good as TDK, but I think I'll make that decision upon a second viewing rather than judging now.

Over the year I've been almost exclusively playing TF2 and Minecraft. I may have occasionally turned on the consoles for an hour or two, but they've really been gathering dust more than anything. Steam has taken hold of me. :P

And speaking of Steam, of course I've been taking advantage of the current sale (supposedly the "Summer Sale", even though it's quite the opposite of summer down here.) Anyway, I've gotten:

-Skyrim

-Max Payne 3

-Left 4 Dead 2

-Mirror's Edge

-Bastion

I tried to enjoy Skyrim, but of course it bugged out 13 hours in and rendered an essential door impossible to pass through. Great.:roll: I'll probably pick the game up again pretty soon and do the other quest lines, but right now I'm a little too pissed off with the game to be bothered.

I booted up up Max Payne 3 and played it for a few hours. Man, this game is good. The controls are a bit fiddly (on one mission I accidentally jumped off a building 4 times in a row:lol: ) but the gunplay is so satisfying and the writing is also pretty good. It seems to like to make me feel like I'm on drugs.

The other three games I have yet to install, however I did mess around with the Frying Pan that L4D2 owners receive for TF2. The thing is obnoxiously loud, making it the ultimate annoyance.

Anyway, there's my first blog post of the year. I might try and post more often. I seem to have gotten out of the habit.

My top 25 Futurama episodes

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Many people on this sight would know that I'm a huge fan of Futurama (the avatar and sig probably gives that away :P), so I thought it would be about time to do a top-25 episodes list.

25.

"The Lesser of Two Evils" (Season 2)

This memorable episode introduced Flexo, arobotidentical to Bender save for the metal goatee. Fry is convinced that Flexo is "the evil Bender", and tries to expose him. This episode seems to be quite influential; it even inspired Roll Call threads on the GS AU board.

24.

"Space Pilot 3000" (Season 1)

The very first episode of Futurama, "Space Pilot 3000" begins with a memorable introduction that to this day remains a highlight of the series. It also features a few great characters that don't make many appearances outside this episode, such as Mr. Panucci and Leela's ex-boss, Ipgee.

23.

"Bender Gets Made" (Season 2)

A shamefully underrated episode, "Bender Gets Made" introduces the Robot Mafia, and that reason alone is enough to secure it a position in the top 25. Clamp-Clamp KABAMP!

22.

"Parasites Lost" (Season 3)

This episode tends to appear in many top 5 lists, and rightly so. The episode's content (Going into Fry's body to extract parasites) is wacky and bizzare; on of the things that Futurama does best. It also the episode that really kicks off the popular theme of Fry and Leela's relationship, but since that isn't really my cup of tea, I won't go into that. :)

21.

"Law and Oracle" (Season 6)

The basic plot of this episode sounds rather bad on paper; Fry becoming a police officer. However, it was managed to be pulled off quite sucessfully. It was given a sci-fi twist to make it relevant to the 31st century, and made great use of URL, the smooth robot cop.

20.

"Amazon Woman in the Mood" (Season 3)

This bizzare episode carries many memorable quotes and Brannigan shenanigans. The politically incorrect jokes work perfectly on the planet inhabited by giant women. However, what makes this episode stand out is the fantastic restaurant scene.

19.

"War is the H-Word" (Season 2)

Another Brannigan cl@ssic, this episode is set in a war zone. Seeing the impractical weapons used in the 31st century, as well as the Star Wars-like training they perform, make this quite a funny episode. Lastly, the out-of-character lines from Kif are quite unexpected, and downright hilarious. "Mix these mixed nuts, I see two almonds touching!"

18.

"Hell is Other Robots" (Season 1)

This episode introduced one of the most memorable minor characters on the show; the Robot Devil. This episode also proves that when a musical is done right, it can make the episode fantastic. Thankfully, the Robot Devil's first appearance was not his last.

17.

"The Day the Earth Stood Stupid" (Season 3)

This episode invloves everyone on Earth, except for Fry, becoming insanely stupid, thanks to a race of floating brains. This kind of absurdity is what makes the show so brilliant, and the writing in this episode is top notch.

16.

"Time Keeps on Slipping" (Season 3)

Time travel is cool, but what could be cooler than uncontrollable time travel that skips forward randomly, leaving everyone with no memory of what happened during the skip? Nothing, that's what. Also, it involves mutant-atomic-supermonster basketball players. 'Nuff said.

15.

"A Flight to Remember" (Season 1)

This episode is a parody of the Titanic, and it does quite a fantastic job of it. There are several subplots in the episode, one of which introduces Amy's parents, who are a rather strange couple. Easily the best episode of Season 1.

14.

"Overclockwise" (Season 6)

A farily recent episode, "Overclockwise" involves Bender becoming superintelligent after being overclocked. Aside from having an awesome basic concept, one thing in particular makes this episode unique. The most annoying character on the show, Cubert, was actually very well used here, and actually made the episode better.

13.

"Insane in the Mainframe" (Season 3)

This episode is set in a robot asylum, and introduces Roberto, who is arguably the best character on the show. His shear craziness and mental instability make this episode very entertaining to watch.

12.

"Brannigan, Begin Again" (Season 2)

Zapp Brannigan and his assistant Kif are fired from the DOOP army and are employed by Planet Express. The plot isn't what makes this episode great, it's the ridiculously golden lines that come out of Zapp's mouth. This episode is, without a doubt, the most quotable one in the series. "If I don't survive, tell my wife... hello."

11.

"Jurassic Bark" (Season 4)

This episode is about Fry's past, and uses flashbacks to tell a simple, yet effective story. This episode is famous for being surprisingly sad, which for a cartoon, is an impressive feat.

10.

"The Prisoner of Benda" (Season 6)

This is the kind of episode that takes nerdiness to the extreme. It uses the science-fiction cliche of mind-switching, and takes it to the extreme, creating a highly entertaining plot with a resolution that is so absurdly complex, yet makes absolute sense.

9.

"The Farnsworth Parabox" (Season 4)

Seeing characters interact with themselvesnever fails to be amusing, which is why an episode about entering a paralell universe is such a good idea. The Professor is my favourite character, and this episode really brings out the best of him. "Getting the brain out was the easy part. The hard part was getting the brain out!"

8.

"Love and Rocket" (Season 4)

This episode sounds rather chessy on paper. It's about Bender beginning an awkward romance with the Ship, and getting sick of "her" almost immediately. But the more a watch this episode, the more I like it. The disturbing Bear "Hospital", the shelfish attitude of Bender, everything in this episode comes together in an awesome package. And no-one could be happier unless it was Valentines day. What, it was? HOORAY!

7.

"Cold Warriors" (Season 6)

Often, I feel like I'm the only one who really likes this episode. It takes the clever idea of everyone freaking out over a common cold like it's the black plague, and turns it into a very funny episode. This episode also uses flashbacks to tell an interesting story, which is good, because it means we get to see more of Fry's ignorant parents.

6.

"The Luck of the Fryrish" (Season 3)

Yet another episode about Fry's past, this one is similar to "Jurassic Bark" in that it has a surprisingly emotional ending. But unlike that episode, "The Luck of the Fryrish" is uplifting rather than depressing. this episode is also great because of the unusual family that Fry has; his sport-obsessed mother, and his ultra-patriotic father are both fnny characters that are seldom used.

5.

"The Devil's Hands ae Idle Playthings" (Season 4)

For a long time, this was thought to be the very last episode of Futurama, ever. "The Devil's Hands" is the very last episode of the original run, and is a bloody fantastic episode. Once again, the Robot Devil comes along and makes the episode even better. From the epic opera to the constant discussion of what defines "irony", this was a fantastic tempory end to the series.

4.

"Roswell that Ends Well" (Season 3)

This episode is clever, complex, hilarious, and mildly disturbing. The crew go back in time and discover that they are the aliens who crashed at Roswell in 1947. However, one particular event makes the entire series quite confusing; Fry accidentlly killing his Grandfather, and then getting his Grandmother pregnant. :| That's right, Fry is his own grandfather, and this well-written episode reserves the right to be one of the most popular episodes in the series.

3.

"The Late Philip J. Fry" (Season 6)

After a line of slightly disappointing episodes at the beginning of Season 6, "The Late Philip J. Fry" came along. Not only is it without a doubt the best episode of the new run, but also one of the best of the entire series. It's basically about Fry promising to not be late for his date with Leela, but then accidentally going 7000 years into the future using the Professor's time machine. I won't spoil any more of it, but every moment of the episode is pure gold. This episode also reminds me why I don't use IGN... (7.5?!?! :evil: )

2.

"Future Stock" (Season 3)

This fantastic episode is similar to "Brannigan, Begin Again" in that it has so many hilarious quotes. Too many to count in fact. And it's all thanks to Steve Castle, otherwise known as "That guy" or the "80's guy", who makes every single scene memorable. "Anyone here who's a sheep is fired. Who's a sheep?"

1.

"The Why of Fry" (Season 4)

My all-time favourite episode of Futurama, is "The Why of Fry." It's a hilarious sequel to "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid" and involves everything I could possibly want in an episode of Futurama: crazy sci-fi, floating brains that want to destroy the universe, time travel, shippiness, and a revelation that states why Fry actually came to the future. It will take quite a lot to top this episode!

Thoughts on Assassin's Creed: Revelations

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So I picked up ACR on Tuesday, and have been playing the crap out of it ever since. I've almost finished it, so now would be a great time to post my impressions on it.

First of all, the basic structure feels very familiar. It plays much like Brotherhood did, so if you were expecting fantastic innovation you will probably be disappointed. Now I personally enjoyed Brotherhood quite a bit, so a similar gme is welcome in my eyes.

One of the most noticable changes is the improved combat controls. In AC2 and Brotherhood, the weapon selection wheel was cluttered with pointless tools and abilities such as money to drop on the ground. Most of these are still present, but there are now two seperate wheels; one for the selection of primary weapons such as the hidden blade and crossbow, and another for selecting projectile weapons such as throwing knives, guns, and bombs. This makes it much easier to manage your equipment when the important items are filtered from the rest.

A big complaint I've had since AC2 is the difficulty. It's always been too damn easy, and Brotherhood's addition of execution streaks made it even easier. Now, the game is still pretty easy when facing regular enemies, but there are now stronger foes that block almost any attack. In groups, these enemies can be difficult to manage, and can very well kick your butt if you're not careful. This is something I haven't experienced since AC1, and am glad that the game is actually challenging me now. Additionally, some of the optional objectives also give certain scenarios further challenge. Again, it isn't too hard, but certainly a noticable improvement. (Note, I so far haven't bothered upgrading my armour, so that would affect the difficulty as well.)

I was a bit skeptical regarding the annoouncement of bomb-crafting, but it's actually pretty fun. The many different options and combinations of ingredients opens up a whole new bunch of tactical possibilities that fit in nicely with the gameplay of the series.

I agree with GameSpot about the tower defense mini-game. It feels so out of place and they just drag on for too long. Thankfully, these only occur when the "Templar Awareness" meter fills up. So if you're careful, you won't have to do these missions hardly at all. I like to think of it as a punishment for allowing the"Templar Awareness"meter to fill too far.

Finally, my favourite part of the game is so far the sequences with Altair. This is surprising, because I wasn't expecting to enjoy them. The missions are mainly narrative-focused, so the action isn't as intense as Ezio's part in the story. However, Altair's part in the game is interesting and nostalgic. Returning to Masyaf is a joy for those who enjoyed the first game.

The hookblade is another new addition, and while it was sound like another excuse to make an easy game easier, it actually has almost no effect on combat aside from differing animations (which by the way, are as brutally satisfying as ever!). The hookblade simply speeds up the freerunning, and makes it smoother. Ther are times however, where Ezio uses the hookblade to make a jump that's unrealistically far.

I won't spoil anything, but I initally found the story a bit boring. However, it has certainly picked up and is becoming more exciting my the minute, something that the climax of Brotherhood failed to do. I'm looking forward to the end of the game and seeing how it leads into AC3. And unfortunately, Desmond's part in the game is boring and tacked on. However, his missions appear to be optional.

So there's my first impressions. I'll write up a review once I finish the game and give the multiplayer a go.

GameSpot best of 2011 predictions

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I thought I'd make an attempt to predict GameSpot's choices for Best of 2011, and then see how many I get right.

Let's go!

Note: Many of these games I haven't actually played myself, so consider this mere speculation.

Most Surprisingly good game:

I'm not too sure about this. probably something like Cars 2 or another movie-based game that turned out somewhat decent (according to GameSpot, obviously.)

Best Story:

This is difficult to predict, because it's so subjective. I'm just gonna guess something like LA Noire.

Best Graphics, Technical:

This will likely go to Crysis 2. If not, either Gears of War 3 or Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

Best Graphics, Artistic:

More than likely to be an indie game. My guess is Bastion, but Minecraft could also get lucky.

Best New Character:

Wheatly of Portal 2 has this award on lockdown. No question.

Best Expansion Pack:

If I new of any, I would post one. Sadly, I do not. Wait a second... I think GameSpot said that they will include World of Warcraft: Cataclysm for 2011 because it was discluded from last year. So there. But don't quote me on that.

Best Downloadable Console Game:

I would have said Minecraft, but that's a PC game. So... I have no idea. Possibly Bastion.

Best Downloadable Content:

I don't normally get DLC, but I suppose the Catwoman content of Batman: Arkham city should technically count. If not, I vote Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: The Da Vinci Disappearance. I thougt it was alright.

Best Atmosphere:

Batman: Arkham City will be the likely winner of this award.

Best Original Music:

Not sure of this one either. I'm gonna be brave and say Crysis 2.

Best Voice acting:

This award will be extremely competetive this year. I'll say Batman: Arkham City because of Mark Hamill's fantastic Joker performance, but Portal 2 and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception also have a high change. Hmm, Nolan North voices characters in all three of those games :P

Best Sound Design:

Battlefield 3 is the most likely winner.

Best Use of a Creative License:

If Batman: Arkham City doesn't win, then there is something wrong with this world.

Funniest Game:

Portal 2 does not have much competition. Cave Johnson, we're done here. :P

Best Cooperative Multiplayer:

Portal 2 deserves this award for being unique. However, Minecraft may steal the award. Yes, I'm serious.

Best Competitive Multiplayer:

The feud between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 will once again continue here.

Best Original Game Mechanic:

This is a pretty vague category, but I think LA Noire has a shot. I really can't think of anything else.

Most Improved Sequel:

Portal 2 and Batman: Arkham City are two highly improved sequels, but the original games were also fantastic so those are unlikely candidates. I'll take a gamble and say Saints Row: the Third.

Best Implementation of User-Generated Content:

LittleBigPlanet 2 is the most likely candidate, but inFamous 2 might get lucky seeing as LBP won in 2008.

Best Original IP:

LA Noire will win this during this sequel-filled year.

Best Boss Fights:

I won't lie, I've found the boss fights to be underwhelming this year. But inFamous 2 may have a chance.

Most Memorable Moment:

Without spoiling anything, I'm going to say the ending of Portal 2.

Best UK-Developed game:

Ummm... I wouldn't have a clue.

Most Surprising Game to Make it Past Aussie Censors:

Gears of War 3 is my pick. Hasn't been a very brutal year.

Best Writing/Dialogue:

Will be a close fight between Portal 2 and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

Most Disappointing Game:

As much as I think Crysis 2 should win this, I reckon Rage will.

Flat-Out Worst Game:

All glory to the Street Cleaning Simulator!

Worst Game Everyone Played:

It's more than likely that Duke Nukem Forever will nab this flattering award.

Best Game No-one Played:

I'm not to sure on this. I'll just say Terraria.

Least Improved Sequel:

I think this will be between Killzone 3 and Crysis 2.

Worst DLC For Good Games:

I'm not overly well-informed of DLC, but that 5.0 of Mass effect 2: Arrival sticks out like a sore thumb.

Best Action/Adventure Game:

I'll guess Batman: Arkham City. But Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Assassin's Creed: Revelations are other possibilities.

Best Driving Game:

Forza Motorsport 4 will probably win this category.

Best Puzzle Game:

Nothing other than Portal 2 deserves this.

Best Rythm/Music Game:

I really don't pay any attention to this genre, but Dance Central 2 might win if it falls into this genre.

Best RPG:

At the moment, I would predict Dark Souls. But with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim just around the corner, who knows!

Best Shooter:

Probably Gears of War 3.

Best Sport Game:

I don't play these, so I don't have a clue.

Best Strategy Game:

Shogun 2: Total War will probably win.

Best PC Game:

At the moment, Portal 2. But I'm hoping that Minecraft will win.

Best Xbox 360 Game:

Gears of War 3 is the standout game for the 360 this year. Not really won't competition unless a multiplat like Batman: Arkham City takes it.

Best PS3 Game:

A reasonable prediction would be Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, but that would be too obvious. Looks like it's between Portal 2 and Batman: Arkham City again!

Best Wii Game:

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is probably going to take the award for the Wii.

Now, I won't go into the handhelds, because I know nothing about them :P

Now, for the big one, Game of the Year:

With so many great games this year, it's hard to tell. As of now, Dark Souls and Gears of War 3 currently have the highest score of the year, both sitting on a 9.5. However, the last two years have shown us that the highest scoring doesn't always win GOTY. And since both of these games are sequels to games that have already won GOTY on GameSpot before, I don't think either will ahve the pleasure of getting it again. So, because of this, I'm going to predictBatman: Arkham City for being everything we could want a sequel to be.

So there it is. My Best of 2011 predictions. Be sure to post your thoughts in the comments and give your own predictions. :)

What makes a good boss battle?

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Almost every single game out there has boss battles that simply stink beyond belief. They could be too hard, too easy, unrealistic or simply unnecessary. Great games like Uncharted 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Just Cause 2 have been let down by lousy boss battles.

So why do so few games manage to do it right? What makes a boss battle good?

I think they generally tend to work better if the boss in question is physically much larger and stronger than the player, because then it doesn't feel as cheap when you empty full clips into them. I think one game that does boss fights well is Vanquish, specifically the giant Argus robot (encountered several times). This is because it actually felt like you were damaging it, and it was still somewhat challenging. Other good boss fights use humour to make them fascinating (eg. Portal).

Anyway, that's enough from me. What do you guys think?

EDIT: GameSpot, why must you f*** around with my font? :(

Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

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There aren't many games that do everything so well that they leave you speechless after you finish them. And on the rare occasion that a game does this, it is almost never a licensed franchise such as Batman. Well here it is. Batman: Arkham Asylum is perfect in almost every aspect, and you don't even need to be a fan of Batman to enjoy it.

The game begins with an impressive cinematic that boasts the true potential of the Unreal Engine. Batman has just captured his arch nemesis the Joker, and is transferring him to where he truly belongs: Arkham Asylum; Gotham City's institute for the criminally insane. It just so happens that a large amount of the Joker's crew were recently transferred here, and when the Joker seems suspiciously relaxed about the whole situation, Batman knows something is not right.

Sure enough, Joker breaks loose and initiates his elaborate plan to take control of the asylum. Obviously, Batman won't let this happen. The story is told brilliantly. The creepy atmosphere and fantastic voice acting really push it forward at the perfect pace, and along the way, you'll encounter some of Batman's other foes, including Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Bane, and the Scarecrow. The plot is not overly complicated, but it's simplicity is part of the charm.

The gameplay can be split into two distinct sections: "Beat 'em up" and stealth. First of all, lets take a look at the combat. On paper, Batman's punching moves sound relatively standard. You'll tap square to punch, triangle to counter, and X to evade. When separates Arkham asylum form other games is the ridiculous speed at which the combat moves. There will constantly be enemies around you, and with proper timing you'll rack up satisfying combos in the midst of this combat that is fast, fun, and best of all, looks somewhat realistic. Everything is so well animated that it feels like you're watching an awesome Batman movie, despite the fact that you have complete control. It is possible to win fights simply by mashing one button, but to make the most of this brilliant system, every single one of Batman's moves must be put to use.

Eventually, You'll encounter thugs with weapons. Enemies armed with knives cannot be countered, and can also block most attacks. This is where Batman's cape comes in handy: flick it in their face and they'll be vulnerable. There'll also be goons armed with sticks of electricity which cannot be attacked from the front. These different enemy types mix the combat up a little, and are another reason why mashing square isn't particularly effective.

The game would become repetitive and boring if all it consisted of was punching guys in the face. Batman will also face enemies armed with automatic guns. Trying to take these guys out face-on would be suicidal, so this is when the stealth aspect of the game comes in. Batman can use a detective vision mode which highlights armed thugs and points to objects that can be interacted with; such as air vents and gargoyle statues. Hiding on top of a gargoyle is a great hiding spot, and performing an "inverted takedown" on a clueless enemy never fails to be satisfying. Of course that isn't the only way of picking them off; you can also create diversions, smash through windows, glide-kick into their faces, and more. Detective vision will also give the mental state of the enemies, and it's really cool watching them become increasing terrified as you pick them off one-by-one. It's a shame however, that detective vision is slightly overpowered. because there is no downside to it, there is little reason to not be using it constantly during the stealth segments.

Another fantastic aspect of the game is it's atmosphere. This is mainly due to the fact that you're in the midst of a twisted plan controlled by the Joker, but also because of the presence of the Scarecrow. Three times throughout the game, the infamous Johnathan Crane will infect Batman will his "fear gas", turning the asylum into a nightmarish platforming section crafted from Batman's psychological trauma. These parts a disturbingly creepy, and disturbingly fun. Going into any more detail than that would ruin the experience. During the stealth segments, the action can be extremely suspenseful which adds even more to the atmosphere. And speaking of suspense, at one point the game forces you into the lair of Killer Croc, where he jumps up and charges at you. These claustrophobic tunnels will make you paranoid.

So I've already covered some of the villains you'l encounter, but it is also worth talking about the challenges of one of Batman's oldest enemies, the Riddler. Edward Nigma will give riddles to solve, in which the solution is often a character in the Batman universe. Through these challenges, just about every single villain Batman has faced gets some kind of reference. These challenges are solved by scanning an object in the environment, displaying the game's huge attention to detail.

The only real letdown in Arkham Asylum is the boss fights. The first fight will be against Bane, a relatively good fight until the game throws lesser clones of him at you. The boss fights do improve toward the end, but the final fight is an underwhelming anticlimax.

Once you're done with the story, you'll have an opportunity to finish any remaining riddles or try out the challenge mode. There are two kinds: combat and predator. Combat makes you fight a punch of goons and rack up the biggest sore you can get, while predator puts you into a stealth sequence will very specific objectives, such as blowing up three walls which take out three enemies simultaneously. It is also worth noting that the combat challenges are without a doubt, the most difficult part of the game.

This small letdown isn't enough to stop Arkahm Asylum from being a genre-defining masterpiece. From the fluid combat to the intense stealth, Batman: Arkham Asylum is truely one of a kind.

Pros:

-Creepy atmosphere

-Fun riddles in the lavishly detailed asylum

-Fluid combat that looks amazing

-Intense stealth sequences

-Challenge rooms give greater lasting value

Cons:

-Detective vision is overpowered

-Final Boss is somewhat anticlimactic

One whole year of purity!

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This is just a blog to inform people that I've achieved my personal goal of going a whole year without a moderation. :D Now to go for the next milestone: two years 8)

2 years on GameSpot! PARRRRRTAY!

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On the 3rd of September, 2009, I created my GameSpot account. I've come a long way since then, and I've had the pleasure of trying many awesome games that I would have otherwise never heard of. And what better way to celebrate my second GameSpot birthday than to write a review for Crysis 2!

http://au.gamespot.com/pc/action/crysis-2/player_review.html?id=773706

I have my flame shield ready. (Although, I sespect many people will agree with me.)

One other thing: I'll be celebrating another milestone in just two days ;). Stay tuned! And a cookie for anyone who can guess what it is! :D

-UnrealLegend

Review: inFamous 2

by on

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Several recent sequels this year have turned out to be festering disappointments, but it is pleasing to say that inFamous 2 is in many ways, a vast improvement over the first game. Now, what exactly is inFamous I hear you say? It's a fast-paced, story-driven superhero game that puts you in the shoes of the former delivery boy Cole MacGrath.

After a brief recap of the story, inFamous 2 begins with the arrival of "The Beast"; an all-powerful monster teased at the end of the first game. Our protagonist Cole is forced to travel to the town of New Marais; where he can supposedly find a way to amp up his powers so he can face the Beast. Only thing is, there's a bit of a problem: A faction known as the militia are present in New Marais, and they are bent on exterminating all super-powered individuals, thus cleansing the town of "freaks". Even though in the main part of the plot Cole is supposed to be on the run from the Beast, it often feel disjointed from the Militia side-plot which gives the game an odd pace. But regardless, the story is both complex and engaging. Cole's best friend Zeke (who was often regarded as one of the most annoying characters ever), is actually incredibly well-developed and sympathetic this time around. But of course Sucker Punch couldn't release the game without an annoying sidekick, which brings us to a new character named Nix. Nix not only has an extremely annoying voice, but her character lacks believability.

As an extremely powerful conduit, Cole has the ability to create and manipulate electricity. The core gameplay mechanics remain nearly identical to the first game; which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The combat plays similar to a third person shooter in that Cole uses bolts of lightning to combat enemies, with other attacks such as lightning grenades and rockets available as well. It isn't as jumpy or button-mashy as similar games like Prototype are, because much of the combat relies on tactics as well brute force. This is because enemies often appear in large groups, forcing you to make decisions on when to use certain powers and where. This is further complicated by the fact that Cole is essentially "a walking battery" and is required to recharge from electricity sources scattered around New Marais. Doing so also restores Cole's health, which not only eliminates the infamous black-and-white screen of "you're nearly dead", but also allows you to be reckless if you know there's some electricity handy. On of the bigger improvements in inFamous 2 is the new feature that allows you to select different powers via a "quick select" menu system. Each button has a certain power type associated with it, and pressing the button will toggle between the different powers available. For example, standard bolt powers are linked to R1, so pressing R1 in the powers menu will quickly switch between different bolts. Although it can be annoying when you accidentally select the wrong power, it gives a lot more freedom and variety than the first game offered, especially when about halfway through the game you're given the choice between ice and napalm powers; adding even more variety. Cole is also equipped with a melee weapon known as the "amp". Most of the time melee is not a very effective way of fighting (save for a few certain enemy types), and all it really involves is pressing square until you can pull off some some impressive finishing moves that simply look awesome.

There is also a great deal of enemy variety. Rather than have three differently skinned factions like in the first game, inFamous 2 has different factions that all fight in completely different ways. The militia mentioned previously are standard gun-wielding goons that simply shoot Cole until he's dead. "The Corrupted" are a bunch of monsters that use mainly melee attacks, and the final opposing faction is the Vermaak 88; a faction of soldiers that are obsessed with constantly jumping around and displaying their agility like a bunch of show-offs. Some of these factions have boss enemies of their side, and while epic at first, they are eventually repeated, leading to the same enemy being faced multiple times. On the other hand, they are at a much larger scale than the boss fights of the first game, so it is always satisfying taking down a huge enemy.

Traversing the city of New Marais is a lot more involved and satisfying than it was to do in the first game's Empire City, thanks to several new powers. In particular are the improved static thrusters, a gliding ability that gives a small but noticeable boost of height. Others include the lightning tether, which is essentially a bolt of lightning that acts like a grappling hook (I'm no scientist, but don't ask me how the hell that works), and my personal favourite; the ice launch. The ice launch gives Cole an enormous vertical boost, which can be used to jump over small buildings with minimal effort.

For a game released in 2009, inFamous had a rather ugly visual design and it's graphics have not aged well. Thankfully, inFamous 2 looks leaps and bounds better with more detailed textures and lighting effects, and some much needed colour. Aside from a few jaggies, inFamous 2 is a pleasant game to look at, and is easily on par with some of the best-looking open world games like Just Cause 2 and Red Dead Redemption. Unfortunately, inFamous 2 suffers from similar visual glitches that the first game had. During melee combat, some of the finishing moves can make Cole appear to be swinging right through a brick wall, and some powers; particularly the ice powers that leave shards of ice scattered around the battlefield, seem to defy physics by refusing to make any movement. This leads to some awkward moments with chunks of ice floating in the air after the object they were on is destroyed. It's nothing major, but certainly noticeable.

The game also features a morality system much like it's predecessor. It's nothing deep that causes strong moral dilemmas, but an incentive to play through the game twice. The choices are very black-and-white, and it's obvious that this is what the developers were aiming for. Some mission icons are colour-coded red or blue to help the player distinguish the difference between good and evil, so it's clear that Sucker Punch had no intention of giving the morality system any grey areas. In fact, most of the moral decisions aren't even decisions like they were in the first game. Rather, they play out as small events happening in the city (ei defuse the bomb or let it explode). Again, it isn't really a very deep system, but it gives plenty of reasons to give the game a second playthrough, especially since your there are two different sets of powers attached to your karma as well as two completely different endings to the story. Some of the main missions play out differently as well, the notoriously annoying Nix guides the player through evil missions, and a character named Kuo will supply the good missions.

Another new feature is the addition of user-generated content. It's a powerful feature that allows players to make their own missions. Although the vast majority of the missions out there are simply terrible, there are a few great missions out there that are on par with the ones that come with the game. The UGC tools seem daunting and complex at first, especially since there is no in-game tutorial like the one in LittleBigPlanet, but after a while it is fairly easy to make some interesting missions.

inFamous 2 is one of those rare sequels that manage to improve and expand upon what made the original great. The core gameplay feels very familiar, so those who didn't enjoy the first game might not like this one either. On the other hand, fans of the original will not be disappointed by this ambitious sequel that is superior to the first game in almost every way.