Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Trailer

The Marvel vs. Capcom series has never been one for story. What was the plot of the third one? I have no idea. Admittedly this has never been one of Capcom’s strongest suits when it comes to their fighting games. But it looks to be an interesting new take with the fourth installment in the franchise. Ultron, arguably the Avengers’ greatest enemy, teaming up with Sigma, the perpetual enemy of Mega Man X and Zero. It makes sense considering they are both tech villains with little interest in humanity. It will be interesting to see how well they get into the story with this game. I am a story guy. So I would at least like something.

Resident Evil 7 Review

This game frankly scared the shit out of me. So as the return to its horror roots, Resident Evil 7 achieved that. 

The game is for the most part a complete departure from everything that has come before. Switching from third person to first person is the biggest. This helped amp up the tension as you never quite knew what was behind you. This is especially true in the earlier elements of the game where this is usually one enemy that is perpetually stalking you and you’re never quite sure where they are.

Keeping with the horror elements, everything is reduced. Ethan, the main character, is someone thrust into this situation. When it comes to weapons, his aim is terrible. There are items scattered that improve aim and health but they are rare. I found myself running away from situations that actively fighting. Ammo is also a limited resource (unless there is a boss fight approaching). 

The story is set within Resident Evil canon but is so outside, it would be considered a reboot if not for a few key details. This game details Ethan searching for his missing wife and stumbling upon the Baker estate. The Bakers are to say the least, monsters. They each have their own individual quirks and dangerous in their own unique ways. Special mentions goes out to Lucas Baker as the gameplay takes a unique turn during his section. Other than a somewhat lackluster finale, it is a solid story with some big questions about the franchise left up in the air.

Graphically speaking, this is a gorgeous game. The people do have some of the uncanny valley going on but it is never too much. Sinc the Baker estate is run down, it is absolutely disgusting and in great detail. Just look at the “feast” that they have prepared for Ethan. 

Overall, Resident Evil 7 is a solid game. If it wasn’t for the somewhat lackluster finale, it would be great. It is the kick in the pants that the franchise needed. It will be interesting as to where it goes from here. But that is a statement that hasn’t really been said about Resident Evil in a long time. 

Score: 8/10

2o Years Ago, I Fell In Love With Final Fantasy VII

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First and foremost, I’m old.

Now 20 years ago, I was introduced to a little game called Final Fantasy VII. Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of the game in Japan. It did not come out in the United States until the latter half of the year. But that being said, the game was still released on January 31, 1997. This is considered to be one of the most important games in the history of video games. Changing the landscape with its then breakthrough graphics and epic scale. This game was on three discs. Square Enix then called Squaresoft became a true behemoth in the video game world. It had the added effect of changing the world of a young seven year old boy.

I would spend my weeks off from school with my Auntie. I would love spending time with her because she had a Sony Playstation while at my home, I only had a Sega Saturn. So when I was over one week, she told me that she had this game called Final Fantasy VII. I knew the term Final Fantasy but never played the other games in the series before. So we started playing the game from the beginning and I was immediately blown away. The graphics blew me away and I had no idea about what I was playing.

The game starts off pretty humorous, despite playing as terrorists, but after a few hours the true story of the game kicks in and things get dark and really quick. As the days continued on, I was always there playing the game with the trusty official guide to help me through the tough spots. Eventually I finished the game and was flabbergasted about what I experienced. At this point in my life, this game took the longest time to beat. The final boss battle actually took me hours to complete. I literally left the house for a few hours and came back to finish it.

If you’ve never played Final Fantasy VII, I won’t go into the specifics in lieu of spoilers. But there are many twists and turns in the story. I’m a story person. If your story does not work then your product will never really work for me. The game is completely different at the end from where it started from. There are themes about identity, lack of identity, self confidence, environmental issues, magic vs. science. The game has many layers to it and leaves enough open for player interpretation. As stated earlier, the main characters are terrorists. Yes they are doing it to save the planet but they do cause civilian casualties.

There are many easter eggs that help flesh out the world and help explain characters’ backstories. I never even heard of optional characters before playing this game. Though the game is a role playing game there are little mini games peppered throughout to help break up the potential sameness. There is a Command & Conquer type of sequence, submarine simulator, motorcycle chase and even Chocobo (giant birds like horses) racing. There are even some horror elements. Let’s just say the introduction of JENOVA is something totally unexpected. Being a young kid at the time, this was like the best of all worlds as I got to experience many different elements which would influence my later video game choices.

Even though it has been 20 years, I still always have some sort of version of Final Fantasy VII. When I got my Playstation 2, I sold my copy of FF7 to help pay for it. Let’s just say I got remorse and bought another copy some time later. When I got my Playstation Portable, I bought a copy for that system. Again this happened with my Playstation 3. Finally the “HD upgrade” (which was actually just the PC version with all the bells and whistles) of 7 was released on Playstation 4 and of course I bought it. Final Fantasy 7 is arguably my favorite video game of all time. I do not think I would be into video games if it wasn’t for the game. I bought the sequel movie Advent Children and the prequel game Crisis Core. The world of Final Fantasy 7 is one I hope continues to be explored through the years. I’m patiently waiting for the complete HD remaster coming…whenever Square figures that out. I will be first in line…figuratively…I preorder my games on Amazon.

Resident Evil 7 Impressions

I have always been a big fan of the Resident Evil franchise. In fact, I am probably one of the few people to defend Resident Evil 6. I can acknowledge that the series had deviated from its more survival horror roots into a more action oriented one. So when Resident Evil 7 was announced and being much more horror oriented than ever. Because let’s be honest, the series was never as horror oriented as some people like to remember. From the first game, you played as an elite police unit who were lured their because they were elite. So now the seventh entry is a first person horror game and you’re seemingly trapped in a house of super powered cannibals.

In the demo, there are hints about the Umbrella Corporation which has has haunted the series from the get go. But what role they play in these events is still unknown. The game is not a reboot of the franchise but a continuation of it. So there’s the big question of how this game will tie into previous events. Since the residents of the house definitely have powers, it is reasonable to expect that they have been infected somehow. Since 5 on, there has been an outbreak of infection throughout the world, so it can be expected to tie into that.

I am cautiously optimistic about this game. I’m really not one who likes horror of any type. Call me a chicken. I remember hearing that there will probably limited gunplay in the game, so it will mostly be horror. There were quite a few jump scares in the demo that I played. I can’t imagine playing a whole game like that without losing my stuff. So as more and more details come out about the game I will keep my eye open for new information. The game will be released in January.

Children of Arkham – What Just Went Down (Batman: The Telltale Series)

The second episode of the Telltale Series has been completed and things got intense really quick. Picking up shortly after the events of the previous episode, Bruce Wayne is on the ropes emotionally as his family legacy is in question. The real kicker is: his family legacy is actually not that grand. Thomas and Martha Wayne were in cahoots with the corruption in the city. A grisly scene featuring Thomas torturing Oswald’s mother just to gain their land so he can build Wayne Enterprises on it. This has shown Telltale is not messing around when it comes to establishing their own Batman mythology. Usually the Wayne’s are depicted as being above all the corruption and upstanding citizens. Their murder being a random act of violence.

Now that no longer stands in this version. Their murder was in fact orchestrated as it was implied that they were trying to accumulate more power than others were comfortable with. Now we are dealing with a Batman who mostly based his legacy on a presumption that his parents were good people and victims of a mugging. So what kind of hero will Batman be going forward? We have already seen the repercussions of the death of his parents as he struggles with an innate violence within him. But this is something that can be played with. But it’s clear that Bruce Wayne will arguably now have to be much more of a hero with the revelation about his parents.

Not just a hero as Batman but as Bruce Wayne as well. The game frequently plays with the fact that he can’t just rely on being Batman to make a difference in the city. That Bruce Wayne may even be a more important figure going forward than Batman. So it will be interesting to see how the developers continue to create their own mythos for Batman now that the revelations about his parents continue to come out. Episode 3 cannot come soon enough.

Celebrating The 15th Anniversary of ‘Devil May Cry’

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15 years ago today, Devil May Cry, was released on the Playstation 2. Truthfully I was late to the party when it came to this game. I did not get my PS2 until Christmas of 2001. Also since I was only 12 years old at the time, I did not have any funds for myself. So I could only get a video game every now and then excluding birthdays and holidays. But as I read magazines about games for the PS2, I kept hearing more and more about this game called Devil May Cry. I also kept hearing more about how popular the main character Dante was becoming. So around August 2002, I finally got my hands on a copy of Devil May Cry.

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I was instantly hooked on the game. It was fast and kinetic and had a spooky atmosphere to it. This made sense as the game first started off as Resident Evil 4 before developing into its own thing. Dante was a pretty on the surface level character at first. He was a cocky motormouth and someone who can definitely back up all the trash talk that he was spewing. As the game progressed we learned a bit more about what drove him to be a demon hunter. He was a half human/half demon hybrid who lost his mother to a demon attack and his father (the demon) was believed to be dead or missing. He also had a twin brother who he believed to have lost to demons but we learn that was not the case.

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The game was not too deep but it was engaging and by the end of the game, you definitely wanted more. Dante was a compelling enough character where you can see him carrying on a franchise. I played all four games in the original canon of the game and even the anime spin off. The franchise has certainly left its mark in video game history. Where the series goes from here on is still up in the air. If the series does not continue, the original four games are always available within Xbox Live and Playstation Network.

Batman – The Telltale Series Impressions

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Telltale Games is the studio developer who is behind such recent adventure games as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. The Walking Dead in particular was such a critical darling that it put the studio on the map and people eagerly anticipate what their next title would be. So it came as a welcome surprise that they would be tackling Batman.

Since Telltale Games are known for their adventure gameplay and story and less on action, many wondered how they would tackle Batman. Details soon came out that It would explore how both Bruce Wayne and Batman go about saving the city. There are certain things that Bruce Wayne can do that Batman can’t do and vice versa. The duality of Bruce Wayne/Batman is rarely ever given depth in video games. 

The plot seems to be based loosely off of Batman: Year One. We see a James Gordon who is only barely graying at the temples. Harvey Dent, who will become Two-Face, is running for District Attorney. Batman is encountering Catwoman for the first time. The main advesary appears to be mob boss Carmine Falcone. These were all elements in Year One. Though it doesn’t appear to be Batman’s first year as he has a decked out arsenal already. It will be interesting if this only pertains to the first episode or the series as a whole.

Telltale Games has earned my trust when it comes to their gameplay and storytelling. It will be interesting to see how they create their own Batman mythos. No doubt if this game is a success then we will be seeing more adventures with this Batman. The first episode will be released August 2nd. 

Flashback Friday – Transformers: War for Cybertron

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The Transformers franchise is one that is perfectly suited for video games. It is a franchise about robots that turn into vehicles (among other things) that are engaged in a long lasting civil war. There are the Autobots led by Optimus Prime and they are ostensibly the protagonists. The anatagonists are the Decepticons led by Megatron. There had been games based on the many incarnations of Transformers but they had been mediocre at best. That all changed in 2010 with the release of Transformers: War for Cybertron

Detailing what led the Transformers from leaving their home world and eventually bringing their war to Earth. It does not sugar coat things as this game is a game about a war that has spread hundred if not thousands of years. The game has two campaigns that make up one whole story. The first half details covers the Decepticons and how Megatron discovers a new energy dubbed Dark Energon and ends up corrupting the planet. The second half covers the Autobots and how Optimus is simply a well renowned General in the war before obtaining the title of Prime and how he is now the beacon of hope that everyone looks towards for answers. 

The game is not simply a shoot em up. It covers things such as prisoners of war, executions, megalomania, betrayal, loss of hope, reluctant leaders and the old saying, “war is hell”. Optimus and Megatron are the two leads but the player has the chance to play as other characters who are on their side. Many fan favorite Transformers characters such as Bumblebee, Starscream among others all make appearances and play pivotal roles in the plot. 

The game was developed by High Moon Studios and they took a wise approach on how to approach a Transformers game. With the simple tap and hold of a button, players could shift their character into their vehicle form. Both robot and vehicle have combat applications applied to them. You might need to switch to vehicle form to escape tricky battle situations and vice versa. 

The graphics in the game are also top notch. You really get the sense that you are in a war torn world. It is also easy to forget that the Transformers themselves are giants themselves and there are always subtle cues to remind players of that. You will be amazed when a space station begins to transform into something else. The voice work is also top notch as Peter Cullen who voiced Optimus Prime in the original animated series returns to voice the character and the rest of the cast is rounded out by solid voice actors.

Transformers: War for Cybertron is arguably one of the greatest games about the Tranformers. It could be argued that it’s sequel is in contention for that. But that game is for another Flashback Friday. There are rumors that this game will be re-released for current video game systems. If that is true, it is highly recommended that you check out the game as it is a full price game.