Tag Archive: conduit

Originally Published: June 17, 2010, on Examiner.com and PlayerAffinity.com

I had a chance to look around the Ubisoft, Sega, Sony, and THQ booths on the second official day of E3.

The Holiday Rush

Originally Published: December 21, 2009, on Lundberg.me and 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

I did this last year where I offered some last minute advice to help out people looking to pick up a couple of more items to stuff in the stockings or under the tree and due to positive feedback, we’re doing it one more time!

Now, if you’re looking for games for some little ones and don’t feel they’re ready for an over the top, alien shoot ’em up, or some action-adventure, sword wielding bloodbath, then here are a few E-rated games that will keep them happy till their birthday rolls around.

1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii – Nintendo Wii – Any older gamer will appreciate the nostalgia this game conjures up. Any young gamer will fall in love with the crazy characters, classic side-scrolling platforming gameplay, and the hours of exploration and fun it will provide. Just like every other great Mario Bros. game to ever come out. This Wii game has been flying off of store shelves this holiday season with good reason.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – Nintendo DS –Another one of Nintendo’s powerhouse franchises with a new chapter in its long and storied history. What’s nice about this is that the kids can take this with them on the long car or plane ride you’re already dreading. At least it’ll keep the kids out of your hair as you prepare for departure delays or traffic due to the predicted bad weather. Not the longest or most in-depth in the Zelda series, it will more than do the job of distracting the little ones this holiday season.

3. A Boy and His Blob – Nintendo Wii – Rounding out the Nintendo dominance of kid-oriented games is a remake of a NES classic. A Boy and His Blob follows a young lad and his alien, shape-shifitng friend, who can help the boy in a plethora of ways by eating magical jellybeans. These jellybeans allow the blob to turn into a gun, a ladder, a trampoline, and many other useful items as you travel across these beautifully drawn 2.5 D worlds.

“But, Ray! My kid is in high school and I don’t think these childish games will work for him/her.” Never fear! There is plenty of T-rated games just waiting to be picked up.

1. Ghostbusters: The Video Game – All systems – The closest thing die-hards have seen to a third movie, this game picks up about three years after the end of the second movie and brings the story together better than any movie could have. With all the original voice cast returning to reprise their iconic 80s roles, ‘bustin’ has never felt so good.

2. Batman: Arkham Asylum – XBOX360, PS3 – One of the most critically acclaimed games of the year, Batman: Arkham Asylum is the initial offering of what looks to be a long series of new Batman games. With a free-flow combat system that flows like water and a plot worthy of a comic maxi-series, this game is a must have for any comic book fan.

3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – PS3 – The SpikeTV Video Game Awards game of the year delivers on every front like no other game this year. Plot depth, tremendous characters that pull on your heart strings, probably the best looking game of the year, and flawless gameplay makes this a must have for any gamer’s collection if you have a PS3.

Now you’re wondering, “What about the games for Mommy and Daddy?” Well, there are plenty of M-rated games out there for long after the kiddies go to bed.

1. Madworld – Wii – It’s rare to see a phenomenal M-rated game on the Wii, but Sega’s Madworld delievers in ways I never thought a Wii game could. An unfathomable amount of gore and language brightens up the black and white world of “Jack”, a man tasked with winning a “Running Man”-esque game of death in a world that just screams “Sin City”. Either interacting with the entire environment to find new and interesting ways to kill your enemies, or just relying on the chainsaw on your right hand, you will have fun wreaking havoc in Madworld.

2. Assassin’s Creed 2 – XBOX360, PS3 – My pick for game of the year, Assassin’s Creed 2 expounds on the plot of the first game and trumps the action by leaps and bounds. A new free-flow combat system, being able to wield two weapons at once, poison, guns, and an entire economic system make what was once a repetitive, tedious chore to beat in AC1, makes AC2 one of the most unique mainstream gaming experiences of the year.

3. Halo 3: ODST – XBOX360 – My choice for first-person shooter of the year, any Halo fan needs to have this game. Aside from the amped up difficulty due to you acting as a lower class of trooper than Master Chief’s Spartan self, the film noir aspect of taking over every member of your squad at different moments as you unravel the mystery of the Covenant’s attack is one of the most immersive plot techniques I’ve seen in gaming in years.

Those are the games that will make everyone you know, no matter their age, happy. On this last list, are the games that leave everyone cringing and they will be returned. Guaranteed. Avoid these games at all costs Grandma!

1. Fairytale Fights – XBOX 360, PS3, PC – A nice concept that falls flat on its face. Living through some classic fairytale character’s stories with some bloody hack-‘n’-slash combat is a nice thought, but horrible gameplay, a poorly kept-together plot, and nothing really special about using these fabled characters from fairytale lore aside from the random weapons they find was really a disappointment.

2. TMNT: Smash-Up – Nintendo Wii – It uses the same engine as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but it lacks everything else. Only a handful of selectable characters, a miserable story mode, and controls that aren’t nearly as responsive as the Nintendo character counterpart. A bitter disappointment for any TMNT fan and another TMNT media project that doesn’t include the original theme music!

3. The Conduit – Nintendo Wii – This is probably one of the most hyped games of the year and instead should be considered as the worst first-person shooter of the year. Basically a remake of Perfect Dark from N64, but with some more high tech weapons and a looser plot. The graphics look like something from the Gamecube and the multiplayer, although probably one of the better ones for the Wii, is still subpar when compared with the multiplayer offered by games for the XBOX 360 and PS3.

Well folks, there it is. For all you last minute shoppers out there, those are some helpful hints. Thanks for reading my article and have a happy and safe holiday season.

-Ray Carsillo

Take Me to Your Leader

Originally Published: July 13, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com), Lundberg.me, and Collider.com

During Nintendo’s press conference at this year’s E3, the Nintendo brass revealed an interesting statistic: 60% of all American households still do not have any home console whatsoever. After making pledges to wage their own personal war against this statistic (in much nicer terms since it is Nintendo) by promising more games to appeal to the casual gamer, they also said that they were afraid of isolating their hardcore audience (guess the Wii’s gimmick is finally wearing off).

To appeal to the hardcore gamer, Nintendo showcased games from third-party developers like Red Steel 2, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Measures (both published by Ubisoft) and a decent selection from SEGA.

The presentation by SEGA was surprising since many associate them with the now-tired and mediocre-at-best Sonic the Hedgehog series. Following the release of the solid hit Madworld (a Running Man meets Sin City gore-fest exclusive for the Wii), many felt that SEGA was ready to re-stake a claim as a strong third-party developer. With that in mind, I give you SEGA’s newest exclusive title for the Wii: The Conduit.

In The Conduit, you play as Michael Ford, an agent for a secret government organization known as “The Trust” tasked with keeping the world at peace while protecting America’s interests. You begin by following the orders of your shadowy leader, John Adams, as you attempt to retrieve stolen technology by a terrorist known only as “Prometheus”. As you explore the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, you begin to uncover a conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels of government and involves a lot more than an experimental piece of technology.

In a decision that will change your life and the fate of a nation, you befriend Prometheus as you realize that Adams has his own agenda and that the stolen technology is not of earthly origin. Now, you must wage a one-man war against your government as you try to single-handedly prevent an alien invasion that would spell the fall of life as we know it.

With a game that had as much hype and potential as this one, it’s no surprise that it fell short. It is a surprise, though, that it did not even come close to what was expected of it. As the only true first-person shooter for the Wii, it would have been difficult for hardcore gamers who play the Wii (is that an oxymoron?) to not be satisfied with this game but this game disappoints on every level.

The story had potential, but as it unfolds, it looks and feels like a Perfect Dark rip-off from the N64. It’s a first-person shooter, has government agents, alien invasion, crazy technology, you befriending an enemy, and your friends becoming enemies; an original storyline would have been appreciated.

The game also looked like something from two console-generations ago. Horrible enemy models with environments that looked like amorphous blobs painted on a canvas combine to make this one of the worst looking games to come out in years. I understand the Wii does not have the graphics power of the other consoles, but I’ve seen it do so much better than this.

The music sets a good feel and pace for the game and the sound effects work, but the voice acting is abysmal. Even with Kevin Sorbo (star of the television hit Hercules) as Prometheus (interesting that he is best-known for a Greek demi-god and his character is named after a Greek god), the voice acting is over-the-top to the point of utter absurdity.

Aside from being one of the few first-person shooters for the Wii (namely Metroid Prime 3 and Red Steel with everything else worth mentioning really being a rail-shooter), the other appeal for the game was the most highly-touted multiplayer for Wii since Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This is something that would compare to the best of the best on other systems as it allows up to 12 players to play.

This feature may be one of the few saving graces because it reminds me of the old game: Goldeneye (arguably the greatest multiplayer game ever). Unfortunately, with quickly depleted health bars and a horribly-long lobby-load time leaves this needing more polish to be ranked up there with a classic like Goldeneye or modern marvels like Gears of War or Halo.

When all is said and done, this is a short game (8-10 hours of gameplay max) that seems to have been thrown together with spare parts from other games two generations ago. If this is Nintendo’s best effort for hardcore gamers, maybe they’ve accidentally figured out the reason why 60% of people don’t own a home console.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 3.0: I can’t remember giving a game this bad a graphics rating, mainly because the game looks like something from two generations ago. I actually forgot what polygons were until I saw this game. It’s a current generation abomination.

Audio: 6.0: Solid SFX and a catchy soundtrack lay a decent audio foundation, but the instant a character opens its pixilated mouth, the entire experience goes down the toilet. Horrible voice-acting all around drops this score below passable marks.

Plot/Plot Development: 5.0: An old, tired plot that has already been done before and done better at that. The story flows at a break-neck pace that also affects the length of the game itself and gives you the feel that SEGA just had spare parts lying around and wrapped it around an alien-invasion story.

Gameplay: 5.0: The game has slow, unresponsive controls, enemy A.I. permanently set to cannon-fodder, and only 8-10 hours of gameplay. Then again, maybe only 8-10 hours was more of an act of mercy than anything.

Replay Value: 8.0: There is a decent amount of collectibles, achievements, and unlockables that if you are a diehard completionist, it will have enough to bring you back for a second or third playthrough. Add in a multiplayer mode that clearly takes up most of the system’s processing power, even if it still responds poorly after doing so, and you have enough that, if you actually enjoyed this game, you would play it again.

Overall (not an average): 3.0: Aside from the multiplayer mode, this is one of the worst games of the year. It looks like something from 10 years ago that they forgot to touch up before releasing it for the Wii. Avoid The Conduit at all costs.