Five Guest Characters I’d Like To See Join Mortal Kombat

kombat_pack_mkxLast week, NetherRealm unveiled their plans to add Jason Voorhees to Mortal Kombat X as part of the game’s “Kombat Pack.” At the time, we knew that the pack would include three other characters, one of which would be another guest character. It turns out we didn’t have to wait long for the second guest character to be revealed, because one week later, NetherRealm announced that the long-rumored Predator would also be joining the roster. [Read more…]

Forcing Video Games on Your Kids Seems Like a Bad Idea

ControllersI recently found out that I am going to be a father for the first time. While I’m already a step-father to an amazing twelve-year-old, this will be the first time I will be wholly responsible for something so fragile. It’s a strange concept that hasn’t even fully hit me yet, but I couldn’t be more excited to meet this little guy in a few short months.

One point that both friends and family like to drive home is, once the baby arrives, the amount of free time I have to dedicate to video games will virtually become nonexistent. [Read more…]

Bethesda’s E3 Press Conference – Four Predictions

Skyrim Facebook HackedRecently, it was announced that Bethesda, the popular RPG developer/publisher, will be holding its first ever E3 press conference the Sunday before the event officially begins. In the wake of this monumental announcement, social media has been abuzz over what exactly Bethesda has up its sleeve that would require their own presser. Like much of the Internet community, I have my own ideas on the matter, and, also like the Internet community, I feel the need to share them with complete strangers whether they want to hear them or not.

Here are four of my predictions.

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Jason Voorhees Joins the Cast of Mortal Kombat X

Jason_MKXThis past week, on the 13th of March (which just so happened to be a Friday) NetherRealm Studios revealed that Jason Voorhees, near-invulnerable camp-dwelling psychopath from the Friday the 13tfilm franchise, would be a playable character in the upcoming Mortal Kombat XUnfortunately for the gore-hounds among us, he will not be playable when the game launches this coming April.

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Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Murder Mystery Side Missions Are Clever and Fun

Assassin's Creed Unity charactersI’ve always been critical of the side content found in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It’s usually just more of the same; run here, follow him, kill that. If the gameplay does get a bit of variety, it’s either a series of massive collect-a-thons or a long string of fetch quests. (Assassin’s Creed III was particularly offensive, as it literally gave you a shopping list of random items to deliver to NPCs.)

While Assassin’s Creed Unity doesn’t necessarily solve this problem — there are still three different types of collectibles scattered across Paris — there is a new style of side missions I rather enjoy.

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The Xbox One Has Reignited My Love for Achievements

Steam Family Sharing vs. Xbox One Family Sharing

When I unlocked my first Achievement back in the early days of the Xbox 360, I quickly became hooked (though it never got so bad that I was intentionally playing shitty games just to increase my Gamerscore).

However, the luster faded over time, especially as I began running into issues with the 360 Achievement system. For instance, I never knew how close I was to unlocking certain Achievements, or their descriptions were so vague that I needed to hop on the Internet for help. The absolute worst offender of them all was when an Achievement would glitch and remain locked.

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Wolfenstein: The New Order Gets Collectibles Right

wolfenstein_super_soldierI was getting through Wolfenstein: The New Order at a fairly decent pace until I hit the final boss, Deathshead. I must have tried to take him down at least twenty times across three different play sessions, and came up short each time. It was seriously one of the most frustrating and infuriating encounters I’ve ever experienced.

I was playing on “I am Death Incarnate,” the game’s equivalent to “hard,” so I expected at least a little resistance, but I was systematically annihilated on each outing. I started questioning whether I’d ever beat him and finally put this game to bed. [Read more…]

The WWE 2K15 Roster Isn’t the Biggest in the Series, and I’m Actually Fine with That

stingIf you anticipate the annual WWE video game as much as I do, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that WWE 2K15 has had it’s fair share of controversy these last few months, partially because of the size of the game’s roster. To be honest, I think that we’ve been spoiled on roster size these last few years. WWE ’13 had 106 playable characters while WWE 2K14 boasted a max roster of 104. Comparatively, this years game only has around 63 characters on disc, with more being added later via DLC.

Right off the bat, yeah, 104 is a much bigger number than 63, but let’s unpack those statistics.

Both WWE ’13 and 2K14 had “retro” versions of a handful of characters, meaning that there were a few duplicates. If we account for thoseand take out DLC, the roster size drops from over 100 playable characters to somewhere right around 70. Granted, 2K15 also has its share of duplicates, but not to the extent of its predecessors. Combine that with the fact that, like the two titles that came before, 2K15 will also have it’s share of downloadable characters, and it becomes apparent that this year’s roster isn’t as terrible as it was originally made out to be.

sami_zaynI think a lot of the disappointment – or rage – was brought about by 2K15’s inability to meet fan expectations. I mean, this is the first time the franchise has appeared on the new hardware, and I’m sure there were more than a few people out there thinking that this year’s incarnation could, and would, support a roster at least twice the size of past years. That notion isn’t necessarily without merit, but it’s suffering from one fatal flaw: the massive boost to graphical fidelity.

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of WWE 2K15 are the first in the series to digitally scan actual WWE wrestlers, and from what I’ve seen, the in-game models look pretty damn realistic. If you’ve seen 2K’s recent NBA title, you know what I’m talking about.  Now, I’ve said in the past that I’m no game developer, and that remains to be true, so I lack both the knowledge and experience to know this for a fact, but maybe 60 hyper-realistic character models was all they could handle for their first go with the new hardware. I don’t know.

Or maybe they just limited it to 60 to artificially give them room to grow for next years installment.

Either way, it’s just a video game. Try to calm the fuck down.

Ranking Dead Rising 3’s Psychopaths: #1. Greed

Albert_intro

This one was a surprise.

Honestly, this was the last one that I thought would take the top spot. Greed, maybe second only to Wrath, is kind of a boring concept and one that can be difficult to develop an interesting character around. That being said, Dead Rising 3 does a superb job combining setting, character, and dialogue to create not only the best Psychopath encounter, but probably the best and most unique encounter in the entire game.

Nick arrives at the Almuda Farms Cold Storage during Chapter three and is immediately taken out by Albert Contiello via an injection to the neck. When Nick finally comes to, he sees Albert standing over another “patient” and asks if he’s a doctor. Albert responds by saying that he’s “more of an entrepreneur these days,” and goes back to his work. Its not long before Nick figures out that Albert may not be on the up-and-up. Unfortunately for Nick, he’s still under the effects of whatever was in that syringe and ends up stumbling – I’m starting to see a pattern here –  into a bunch of coolers marked “human organs.”

Finally putting two and two together, Nick confronts Albert about harvesting organs from innocent people. The good doctor explains that he just doesn’t get it and, “you have to seize opportunity, or you lose profit.” Deciding that he better deal with Nick before he ruins his whole operation. The boss fight ensues.

The confrontation with Albert ends with Nick giving him a taste of his own medicine, literally. Nick injects Albert with one of his own syringes. Albert collapses and begins hallucinating that two zombies are shambling toward him. He thinks he’s being eaten alive and opens himself up using a surgical saw and begins yanking out his intestines. Ouch.

Albert_death

The rest of the Psychopaths on this list have all tried to be the physical embodiments of their sin, to middling effect. While he may not have pulled it off as well as, say, Darlene, Dr. Albert Contiello’s overal portrayal is masterful. He’s wearing two expensive-looking watches on one wrist, two gold bracelets on the other, and six gold necklaces. If that wasn’t enough, – and it isn’t, because he is “Greed” – he wears a seventh necklace made of human fingers, all of which have rings with various gemstones around them. They could be simple trophies, or the fingers had become so bloated that he wasn’t able to retrieve the rings, so he took the whole finger instead. I prefer to believe the latter scenario.

Albert is also the best written character of the lot. Everything he says is dark and threatening, but also believable. Its such a shame that he’s dispatched so quickly, because I honestly think he could have had a bigger role in the game. He was far more interesting than the games central antagonist. When Nick calls Albert a murderer, he, in a very deliberate but calm tone, calls himself “a businessman” before claiming “and you’re my next export, sunshine.”

Typing it out probably doesn’t do it justice, and if you haven’t played the game, I suggest looking it up.

I personally think that Capcom knocked it out of the park with this one. Albert is a great character, his overall design is topnotch, his portrayal comes off as creepy without going overboard, and his is death is brutal as hell.

Without a doubt, Greed is the best Psychopath in Dead Rising 3.

 

Ranking Dead Rising 3’s Psychopaths: #2. Lust

Dylan_Intro

When creating a psychopath based around the central theme of “lust,” you’ll probably have to walk a very fine line. Yes, the characters will be screwed up and psychotic, but it’s never ok to use something like rape for shock value. To be honest, I was a little worried going in. After all, Dead Rising 3 isn’t exactly subtle.

Nick runs into “Lust” when finds himself at Annie’s Old Fashioned XXX Supply, a family business. There he discovers a man and woman bound and gagged in the back room. Nick moves in to free them, but, graceful as ever, trips over a power cord lying across the floor. That’s when Dylan Fuentes, equipped with a phallic shaped flame/slow-thrower, makes his entrance. “Just walked in the door and already presenting,” he says. Then he orders Nick to go over to the male captive and “lick that lollipop.”

I think we all understand the euphemism.

After Nick politely declines, Dylan then suggests some pole-dancing instead. Nick’s “really not in the mood.”

Mr. Fuentes then starts to get a little more demanding, informing Nick that the doors are locked and unlocking them means having an overtly sexual and awkward conversation. Nick remains defiant but still tries to reason with Dylan (because that’s worked out so well with everyone else he’s run into).

Then the fight starts. That’s it.

There’s not much build up beyond that, besides a little maniacal laughing from Dylan. Once the fight concludes, Dylan collapses onto the floor, remarking how Nick gave him blue-balls. If you don’t know what those are, you must be new to the internet.

Dylan_death

Despite not having a remarkable death scene, I rather enjoyed Nick’s encounter with Dylan. The developers did an amazing job with the Dylan’s overt sexuality. Everything you need to know about his character is conveyed by his attire. He’s dressed in S&M gear, ass-less chaps, and a gimp mask. He’s also wearing cowboy boots, but my favorite part of his ensemble is his pink cowboy hat. What seals it for me has to be his weapon, the Lust Cannon. He holds it up to his groin when he fires it.

Plus, his dialogue is playful, threatening, and more than a little disturbing.

What stops Dylan from being one of gaming’s most offensive characters is that he seemingly doesn’t want to force himself onto others. Though, he does kill anyone who chooses to disobey. It’s never explicitly stated, but I choose to assume the two captives were propositioned just like Nick: participate or die. That’s no consolation, but I think it’s enough to keep controversy at bay. And it’s enough to keep Dylan Fuentes sitting pretty at number two!