Tag Archive: download

Actions have consequences

Editor’s Note: In order as to not spoil the events from previous episodes in this and/or the first season, the language used will attempt to remain as vague as possible. That being said, some situations may still be specifically referenced and thus, if you do not want anything spoiled, we recommend you fully play previous episodes and then return. Consider yourself warned.

After finally catching a little bit of the magic that made Season One so great in its previous episode, The Walking Dead: Season Two hoped it could continue its rebound from a slow start in Episode 4 – Amid the Ruins. Picking up right where Episode 3 left off, much of this latest chapter deals with the fallout of Clem and the gang’s escape from Carver’s compound. Decisions you’ve made along the way once again dictate the kind of dialogue you’ll have with your remaining compatriots as new bonds are formed and others are pushed to the breaking point due to the stress of your ever-changing group makeup.

While Amid the Ruins starts off strong, rich in the drama you’ve come to expect from anything based in The Walking Dead universe (especially when several problems come to an unexpected head in this episode and not the finale), the storytelling rapidly devolves about halfway through. The group splinters up to accomplish a necessary task more quickly, with Clementine moving between different cliques to help speed the process along. Besides the fact that the “fetch quest” nature of this section of the game left a sour taste in my mouth, the group physically drifting apart also signified (rather bluntly I might add) a newfound lack of focus on the common goal of surviving as a collective, punctuated by infighting and bickering becoming staples of nearly every conversation.

Though Amid the Ruins does introduce some major threats to the group in order to replace those that were solved when you left Carver’s makeshift bastion, the division of the group introduces a multitude of nagging problems that make it hard to focus on the bigger picture. Season One’s penultimate episode was so phenomenal because at the end, there were only two situations you had to focus on: Lee’s bitten arm and Clem’s kidnapping. In Season Two’s fourth episode, however, the new problems that arise are sullied by the childish spats between the group’s core members, like a swarm of buzzing flies circling your head as you try to focus on the more pressing and delicate matters at hand. And it seems that Telltale would rather have left some of the strongest new characters of the season, especially Luke, in the background saying nothing at all if they weren’t adding to the unnecessary squabbling, leaving me as puzzled as I am disappointed.

Despite the sad storytelling decline after the spike in Episode 3, Amid the Ruins does at least provide enough interesting situations to keep you on your toes. After all, in between the war of words, there’s still a zombie apocalypse going on around you, and just when you feel like you’ve had enough of Clementine being the most mature character in the game, an action-packed zombie sequence kicks in to ratchet up the tension again and remind everyone why they’re here and what they’re running away from.

The good news with Amid the Ruins? Telltale seems to have left more than enough room to top this episode and still finish the season strong, and we’ve seen from this season alone that they have the potential to bounce back from a narrative misstep. Season Two – Episode 4 of The Walking Dead, however, feels like a weak stitching together of what I hope will be the two best episodes of the season.

Developer: Telltale Games • Publisher: Telltale Games • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 07.23.14

Too many random problems arise and detract from the main issues of the story, leaving Amid the Ruins feeling like a weird valley right before the hopeful peak of the season finale.

The Good Some of the best zombie encounters yet.
The Bad Too many new problems crop up with just one episode left.
The Ugly Kenny’s face isn’t going to be getting better anytime soon.
The Walking Dead: Season Two: Episode 4 – Amid the Ruins is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and iOS. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360. Review code was provided by Telltale for the benefit of this review.

Originally Published: August 2, 2011, on EGMNOW.COM

Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Shadow Planet Productions
Platforms: XBLA

Release: 08.03.11

The Good: Old school exploration and backtracking similar to Metroid
The Bad: Constantly referring back to your map and weapon wheel breaks pace of game play
The Ugly: Monstrous, screen-filling shadow creatures bent on your destruction

Cut from the mold of old-school action games like Metroid, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet proves that fun, simple, yet engrossing game play can trump all the special effects and cut scenes of other games most any day of the week. In fact, the story of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet can be summed up thusly: You’re an alien with a spaceship. Your home world has been invaded by a plague like shadow creature. Kill it.

And that’s all you really need as you pilot your way through a maze-like massive world with varying climates and themes and you blast away at parasitic creatures spawned from the master shadow monster. And blast away at these creatures you shall as you’ll earn an assortment of various weapons from standard missiles, blasters, and scanners, to more unique weapons like buzz saws and barrier shields. Of course, each new weapon will only make you want to explore even more as each will not only help you take down certain foes, but also open up new door ways that were once blocked off to you. Rewards ranging from concept art and more of the game’s back-story to armor and blaster power-ups await you if you choose to explore the entire map available.

The only downside that comes from having a large assortment of weapons and a map of where to explore is that you find yourself constantly referring back to the map to see where to go next, or even with four assignable hot keys, needing to go to the weapon wheel to change weapons. This tends to break the pace of game play and will slow down the experience for all the completionists out there.

Despite this minor complaint, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a wonderfully addicting old-school romp that uses simple, tried and tested techniques to pull off a winner. The limited color palette works perfectly for the theme of the game and it helps put your sensory emphasis on the mood-setting music as you blast away in classic underdog style with your tiny ship against an entire world. Throw in an actually compelling 2-4 player co-op/versus mode called “Lantern Run” where you and up to three friends must work together to solve puzzles and escape the encroaching Lantern Monster, all the while competing for the high score, and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is another more than worthy entry into Xbox’s Summer of Arcade.

Score: 9.5/10

Originally Published: June 7, 2011, on EGMNOW.COM

THE BUZZ: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, DC Entertainment, and Monolith Productions have teamed up to produce Gotham City Impostors. The game seemingly draws inspiration from a 4-issue Detective Comics story arc (issues #867-870) from last year. The arc, aptly titled “Impostors”, deals with a less lethal version of Joker toxin that hits the street as a designer drug. This influx of Joker toxin into the populace results in hundreds of users becoming wannabe Jokers and this in turn leads to other citizens wishing to dish out vigilante justice as pseudo-Batmen.

WHAT WE KNOW: Gotham City Impostors is slated to be a downloadable 4-on-4 competitive multiplayer game available on Xbox Live, PSN, and PC where each team will choose to follow in the footsteps of the Dark Knight or the Ace of Knaves. The game will feature heavily customizable costumes, homebrewed gadgets, and a slew of traditional and imagined weaponry that fits into the Batman universe.

WHAT IT MEANS: DC Comics faithful could end up being up in arms depending on how Monolith finds a balance between the two factions of this game. Batman is infamous for never using weapons beyond his fists or non-lethal gadgets and thrusting the franchise into a first-person shooter will force Monolith to get very creative when designing options for the hero side of things. Otherwise, this could end up being a very generic FPS with just a Batman label on it and a nice customization option.

Originally Published: March 29, 2011, on Youtube.com/RCars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix from my mother’s basement! This week’s episode sees me review X-Men #9 from Marvel and the downloadable Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime from Atari. My hot chick pick of the week is Nancy Patton and this week’s theme is Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters movie theme.

Stack This!

Originally Published: February 27, 2011, on my StrongProtector account on GiantBomb.com

They had us save a world of metal and then showed us that there is still a little magic left in Halloween. So what would the folks at Double Fine Productions have for us next? Well, they felt we needed a little bit of a break and could play with some dolls. Specifically, Russian matryoshka, or babushka, dolls.

In Stacking, you are in a world similar to ours during the industrial revolution near the turn of the 20th century, but the entire population is made up of babushka dolls of varying sizes and you play as the smallest one of them all, Charlie Blackmore Charlie and his family have fallen on hard times when an industrialist named The Baron hires Charlie’s father to be his chimney sweep. But then days turn into weeks and then into months and Charlie’s father is nowhere to be found. In order to pay the rising debt the family owes, the Blackmore children are all then forced into slave labor by The Baron and his men. All that is except Charlie, who is deemed too small to be of any worth in the labor force.

Determined to save his siblings and put a stop to The Baron and his child labor schemes once and for all, Charlie sets out ready to show that it isn’t the size of the doll in the fight, but the size of the fight in the doll, or doll within a doll within a doll.

Being the smallest member of his community, Charlie has a unique talent that most others around him would be shocked to know. He can control other dolls. Well, he can stack into them anyway and then use their own unique talents around the world Charlie finds himself in while on his quest to free his family. Whether needing to take over a mechanic in order to access ventilation ducts, a fire chief in order to put out a fire, or a boxer to smash some heads with a proper uppercut, the puzzles laid before you are all rather straightforward and will require a minimum of effort for you to figure you out. The only hard part you’ll find is making sure you have the right size doll in your control to stack into the next size up.

This simple gameplay mechanic is really the entire premise of the game as you’ll work your way through some beautifully designed levels inspired by the time period like train stations, cruise ships, and zeppelins. Also fitting of the time period, and since babushka dolls don’t talk, the cut scenes are done in the silent film style where you cut to a grainy full screen of text before continuing the scene. Add in the player piano themes and although there is no voice acting whatsoever, the audio is still good, if not great.

The biggest downside of Stacking though is that the game is too short. Sure, there are plenty of collectibles and alternate ways to complete mission objectives if you’re looking to pad your achievements or trophies, but if you’re just looking for a varied gameplay experience and deep plot, then this is not the game for you, especially considering the $14.99 PSN and 1200 Microsoft point price tag that comes with Stacking. The only reason why the game doesn’t start to feel tedious is because it should only take you two or three hours to beat the entire story.

Although with just as much humor and polish as previous Double Fine titles, Stacking just doesn’t have enough content to warrant such a large price tag for this downloadable game. Without a glitch to be found and with a premise that was as inventive as this one, I wish I could just sing the praises about Stacking, but at the end of the day the game is too short, simple, and just not as fun or as addictive as it could be. Since it is technically very sound, if you’re still curious about Stacking, I would recommend waiting for it to go on sale or be included as some sort of downloadable game deal before making this a part of your collection.

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

Graphics: 10.0: Although the character designs are as simple as can be, the world of Stacking comes off without a glitch and the perspective change as you move into larger and smaller dolls is seamless. I can’t think of how Double Fine could have made this world they crafted come to life any better.

Audio: 8.0: It may have been inventive to use the silent movie style for the cut scenes, but I really would have preferred voice actors. Aside from this, the classic piano themes and “click-clack” SFX as you enter and exit various dolls work perfectly.

Plot/Plot Develoment: 7.0: A very basic and predictable plot that does the job, but is really nothing more than a vehicle for the concept of Stacking.

Gameplay: 6.0: Innovative and unique, the core gameplay of Stacking, although glitchless, does become very repetitive over the short time you’ll be playing this game. Combine this with simple puzzles and you have an interesting experience that just fails to impress beyond the initial few moments.

Replay Value: 6.0: There may be several ways to complete each puzzle and a variety of collectibles to find on each level, but most are so simple to solve that even if you come back to finish the game, it shouldn’t take you more than five hours to get to 100% and there isn’t enough here to make you play through the game again.

Overall (not an average): 6.5: Stacking is a very polished downloadable game, but considering the lack of content you get for the $15 price tag and I’d wait until this game went on sale before seeing this as a truly worthwhile purchase.


Originally Published: January 25, 2011, on youtube.com/CGRundertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Shadow Complex from Epic Games for the Xbox Live Arcade.

Eat Them! Review for the PSN

Originally Published: January 21, 2011, on youtube.com/CGRundertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Eat Them! for the Playstation Network.

Originally Published: December 31, 2010, on Youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Marvel vs. Capcom 2 from Capcom for the Xbox Live Arcade.

Originally Published: December 22, 2010, on Youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed the Playstation Network port of the 2007 PC game Dream Chronicles.

Originally Published: November 28, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior video game for XBLA once again.