Tag Archive: online

A beautiful game

For more than a decade, one of my favorite TV shows has been the BBC series Top Gear. I’m the furthest thing from a car nut, but I’ve always enjoyed the insane stunts they pull. On more than one occasion, the program has played soccer with a variety of cars. So, even though I had never played Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, the predecessor to Rocket League, I expected to be able to immediately jump into the concept.

Funny enough, my hunch proved correct. Rocket League’s entire premise is just playing soccer with cars. You try to deflect a massive ball into your opponent’s net more times than they knock the ball into yours before the 5-minute clock hits all zeroes. What I couldn’t predict, however, was just how damn addicting it would be. Sure, it might not sound like a lot to hold your attention, but its simplicity is why this is one of the best off-the-wall, arcade-inspired experiences you’re likely to find on new-gen consoles. Not to mention, it’s easy to pick up and play but difficult to master—an often-defining quality for games that have a habit of sucking you in as Rocket League did.

This leads me to Rocket League’s greatest strength, its controls. The cars handle like most vehicles in other driving games, with the triggers serving as the accelerator and brakes.

With the face buttons, you can perform a variety of moves normally equated with a traditional soccer game, such as boost, slide, or even jump. You can flip your car to perform bicycle kicks; tackle your opponents at high speeds, causing them to explode and be taken out of the play for a couple of seconds; and even hurtle yourself across the goal line before the ball crosses it to make last-second saves.

I found it difficult at first to do anything beyond just blindly ramming into the ball. But after a dozen or so matches, I could control my car as if it were an extension of myself, stopping on a dime and performing acrobatic feats that shouldn’t be possible in a 2-ton car. I even used the walls, which you can drive along at high speeds, to bounce and re-direct the ball in mid-air.

The problem with performing these stunts, however, is that the game’s camera can’t keep up. It can be set to follow either the player or the ball, but neither option is as effective as I’d like. When it follows the player, the camera hugs the rear bumper pretty tightly, so it’s easy to lose track of the action when I’m taken out of the play or I shoot past the ball.

If the camera follows the ball, the controls change, making it far more difficult to control the car. You can switch between the two on the fly, but the herky-jerky transition isn’t pleasant. Instead, you’ll probably have a better time taking your chances with the default camera. A wider camera option, or even one locked at midfield, would have been a nice solution.

On the other hand, Rocket League excels at offering customization options. Although the choices are only cosmetic in nature, the game offers more than a hundred unlockable items ranging from new car chassis to the color of your boost stream. And something particularly pleasant is that you receive one randomly after each match you play, online or offline, win or lose. After only a few matches, you can make your car look as unique or as generic as you desire.

Unfortunately, the game modes themselves have far fewer options than the vehicles do. The single-player mode matches you against nine computer opponents that you can choose to face one to four times each. The mode doesn’t give you a reason to care, so it only serves as another way to warm up before taking on human opponents online. Both online and offline modes only feature your standard versus match, with the single variation coming from how many players—from one-versus-one to four-versus-four—you want to play with.

Even without many game-mode variations, though, the sole option Rocket League touts is a good one. Most folks probably won’t need more than your standard versus mode, especially if you start playing online with your friends, which is where this game really shines. At the time of this review, the early server issues that were reported seem to have been resolved; I experienced no connectivity or matchmaking problems during the past week. So, if you can look past a wonky camera and put the time into mastering the controls, Rocket League looks to be a nice hidden gem of a game that would make for a great way for you and your friends to get through the dog days of summer.

Developer: Psyonix • Publisher: Psyonix • ESRB: E10+ – Everyone 10 and older • Release Date: 07.07.15
Despite a few camera issues and lack of modes, Rocket League is a fun, addicting experience that will keep players engaged for a long time.
The Good Plenty of options for customization, surprisingly tight control, and tons of fun when playing with people.
The Bad No depth to the single-player; camera can be a nuisance at times.
The Ugly How badly it shames soccer games with humans.
Rocket League is available on PS4 and PC. Primary version reviewed was for PS4. Review code was provided by Psyonix for the benefit of this review.

If you’re like me, you love a great multiplayer experience—but so many experiences are just the same modes reworked over and over again, to the point where you just end up playing Team Deathmatch because it’s so familiar, and it’s the one mode that developers can’t seem to screw up, no matter how hard they try. The folks at Turtle Rock—the developers who brought us the original Left 4 Dead—are trying something a little different with their next gaming foray, though. Evolve is introducing asymmetrical multiplayer via a 4-on-1 concept, where the four are hunters and the one is their prey. That prey, however, is a monstrous behemoth of unbelievable size and strength.

The potential for mayhem should be obvious, since you and your crew can mix and match among the game’s four classes, or you can decide to ruin someone’s night by being a particularly brutal and unforgiving creature. A multiplayer-only game can sometimes get tiresome quickly, however, especially if there isn’t an offline mode to balance things out.

Multiplayer-focused games also often live or die depending upon who you’ll have at your side (or facing off against you across the battlefield). If you play with your friends, not everyone will be available every time you get a hankering to go online, and sometimes some of the people you have to deal with while playing can make it more exhausting than fun, even if you’re the lone monster in this case.

So, I was particularly intrigued when I had the chance to go hands-on for the first time with Evolve, offline and solo. If you don’t have a group of friends to team up with (or against, in the case of the monster), you can still jump into one of the game’s maps and get your hunting fix.

In order to see the full potential benefits of playing Evolve alone, I jumped into the recently announced Evacuation campaign mode (a series of five random games that determine the fate of the game’s planet, Shear). Playing this mode offline allowed me to test out strategies with unfamiliar characters and maps, as well as get a taste of some of the 800,000 supposed variations in which Evacuation could play out. I switched characters between each chapter, and playing against the computer allowed me to level up different loadouts for different situations, a particularly useful ability considering that each stage of Evacuation’s campaign changes objectives. One stage could be the straightforward Hunt—the long-publicized standard 4-versus-1 deathmatch—while the next could be Nest—where the monster’s trying to protect six eggs scattered around the field from the hunters—or any of the other modes in the game.

Despite the addition of being able to go solo, Evolve is still heavily multiplayer focused. Evacuation, along with the game’s other modes, is still more enjoyable when playing with or against friends—after a few rounds, the enemy AI definitely seems to lack the tenacity, randomness, or organization you can get from a seasoned team of humans. Allowing people who might not run with a dedicated multiplayer crew to still experience the world is a nice option, though, whether you’re the monster picking off AI hunters or a hunter working with an AI team against an AI monster.

My introduction to playing Evolve alone served a second purpose beyond its reveal, however. I also got to go hands-on for the first time with a third monster: the Wraith. If Goliath is the “fighter” archetype of monsters and takes elements from Godzilla, and Kraken is the “wizard” inspired by Cthulhu, then Wraith is described as the “rogue/assassin,” taking its visual inspiration from mermaids and harpies. Wraith doesn’t have a lot of health or armor, but it’s easily the fastest and stealthiest of the monsters.

Taking advantage of these attributes, to a degree, are the monster’s four powers. Its Decoy maneuver does exactly as it says, dropping a clone of Wraith onto the battlefield. This turns the player invisible, perfect for making a quick escape when overwhelmed or great for prepping an ambush from behind as hunters unknowingly unload into your doppelganger. The decoy can also dish out damage on its own—making it all the more believable—but the second you attack as the real Wraith, the decoy dissipates, preventing any unfair double-monster scenarios.

Another of Wraith’s powers is Supernova, which triples its attack speed and strength as long as you remain in an area-of-effect circle that appears during the buff. Supernova is great for when you finally want to go on the offensive or focus on picking off lone hunters.

What I worry about when it comes to Wraith, however, are its other two abilities. I played probably a dozen games as this newest monster in my hands-on time, and I found myself relying a lot on Supernova and Decoy to perform hit-and-run-style tactics that just decimated my enemies (both human and AI). Throughout all of my domination, however, I struggled to find use for Wraith’s two additional powers: Warp Blast and Abduction.

Warp Blast sends Wraith shooting forward a short distance, culminating in a contained explosion (though the creature is literally blowing up part of itself to accomplish this, it doesn’t actually get hurt). The explosion, if it hits, does a good amount of damage—but considering that speed is Wraith’s strength, Warp Blast seemed to leave me vulnerable for longer than I’d like as I waited for the move to finish.

Its final power, Abduction, sounds cool and might work better in tandem with other powers than by itself, but I never really found a time to use it to my full advantage. Abduction has Wraith fly forward a great distance, and if it bumps into a hunter, it teleports the both of them back to the spot where the ability was activated. While it can help break up tight packs of hunters, given Wraith’s poor attack power, it might really only be effective after having already activated Supernova.

Wraith does provide a nice change of pace from Kraken and Goliath. I just wonder if she won’t end up getting a bit of a balance update down the line—and if I’ll find more usefulness in her full array of abilities once other players have shown off how to better use them.

Getting nowhere fast

One of my biggest surprises during the launch of the new consoles wasn’t a particular game, but the absence of one. Microsoft didn’t release a wholly Kinect-oriented first-party game to show the potential of what the motion-control device could do for gaming. Well, six months after launch, Microsoft’s finally ready to rectify that glaring omission with Kinect Sports Rivals.

Rivals is developer Rare’s chance to help Microsoft grab that casual market early in this new generation—and prove why the new Kinect is worth an extra $100 for the Xbox One. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a single title, and after playing Rivals for a dozen hours–far longer than most any sane person should–I can say that Rivals may hurt the case for Kinect a lot more than it helps it.

Kinect Sports Rivals follows the same formula as seen in the first two games of the series, with six different sports you can choose from: Soccer, Bowling, Tennis, Target Shooting, Climbing, and Wake Racing. These sports are all tied together this time, however, by a story that sees you, as the newest athlete, come to Rivals Island, where three warring factions vie for control of this tropical paradise through the art of competition. As you play through the missions, which really just serve as extremely long introductions to the games, you learn the personalities of the island’s inhabitants and finally get to choose to join one of them. After unlocking the sports in Story mode, you can then play them whenever you want.

Kinect Sports Rivals actually started off on a high note that made me extremely hopeful. Not only was it a joy to hear David Tennant providing the narration (shoutout to all the Whovians out there), but Rare’s facial-recognition tech is definitely a boon for the Kinect. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well my digital face turned out after scanning it into the system, especially when I had some less than spectacular results when I tried it at Gamescom last August. Unfortunately, the entire experience was nothing but downhill after this.

It’s a nice idea to try to motivate players through a loose story to play the different activities, but when compared to the Kinect Sports releases that came before it, Rivals is the most poorly executed of the bunch. Problems that were frequent with the first generation of Kinect rear their head again here far too often. Many times, I’d have to turn on every light in my apartment for the sensor to recognize me, and even giving the camera a decent six-foot berth, it often would say it lost sight of me while playing several of the games. At one point, it even said that it couldn’t see my legs, probably because I was wearing dark jeans, even though I’d never left my initial position from when I started.

My fashion faux pas aside, I quickly grew frustrated as I realized that even with all the touted advancements in the new Kinect, the same issues just kept cropping up. Even trying to navigate the menus by swiping my hands was a nightmare, and I ended up just using my controller to select where I wanted to go on Rivals Island instead.

The games themselves are also either dumbed-down versions of things we’ve already played, or so simple that you wonder why you’d even need to bother with a Kinect. Target Shooting is just pointing at the screen, Bowling is the same as before, Climbing breaks half the time because every time you reach over your head the Kinect sensor goes bonkers, Wake Racing feels like a test to see how long you can hold the same pose, Tennis is just swinging your arm around, and Soccer never picks up your leg motions correctly.

A couple of new features do work, at least. The focus on challenging your friends and trying to beat their scores and times provides a hint of replayability for über-competitive gamers. The addition of power-ups, like bowling balls with superspeed or double scoring in target shooting, also gives many of the sports an extra semblance of strategy (when you can get everything to work).

As a whole, however, Kinect Sports Rivals falls far short of its lofty ambitions. It’s not fun, and it only furthers the argument that the Kinect is completely unnecessary–and unwanted. Now I know why Microsoft didn’t launch with a Kinect-oriented game. I just hope that they decide to abandon any future projects revolving around the peripheral. Maybe they’ll let Rare go back to making good games again.

Developer: Rare • Publisher: Microsoft Studios • ESRB: E10+ – Everyone 10 and up • Release Date: 04.08.14
Instead of making a case as to why you need a Kinect, Kinect Sports Rivals shows that the peripheral—and most games revolving around it—still have a long way to come.
The Good The facial-recognition tech; David Tennant’s narration.
The Bad Familiar tracking and space issues shine a light of doubt on how far the new Kinect has supposedly come.
The Ugly Remembering when Rare made good games like GoldenEye and Donkey Kong Country—I miss those days.
Kinect Sports Rivals is a Xbox One exclusive. Review code was provided by Microsoft for the benefit of this review.

Originally Published: July 19, 2011, on EGMNOW.COM

THE BUZZ: Joining the ranks of THQ, EA, and Warner Bros., Sony has come forward and confirmed that they will be the first first-party to include an online pass, rumored to be called PSN Pass, with their games to unlock some, if not all, of a game’s online features.

WHAT WE KNOW: The PSN Pass system will be much like others implemented in third-party games up to this point. A new copy of the game will come with a one-use only code that can be used to access online play for the game. Players who buy the game used from retailers such as Gamestop and want the online content will be forced to go onto the Playstation Store and pay a small fee for a new code to use with their previously owned game, just like with third-party titles that make use of online passes. The price point is still unknown, but will likely be universal across the board once more games begin featuring PSN Pass and Sony has confirmed that Resistance 3 will be the first game to require it for unlocking its online multiplayer.

WHAT IT MEANS: “This is an important initiative as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio,” said a Sony spokesperson on the matter of PSN Pass. This is clearly just another step by developers and publishers to make sure they receive some sort of cut of the profits from used game sales and it was only a matter of time before the first-parties got in on this. And since Sony’s online pass will already be implemented by September with Resistance 3, even though Sony said it would be game-specific, it isn’t too far fetched to think that Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One, Twisted Metal, and Uncharted 3 could likely see passes as well even though they were not directly mentioned. And if Sony is willing to begin implementing this, could Microsoft be that far behind? Considering you already have to pay for Xbox Live, compared to PSN’s free service, Microsoft could be even more primed to put the screws to used game retailers in the future.

Originally Published: March 21, 2011, on Original-Gamer.com

It’s always a big deal whenever a new map pack is released into the Halo universe, but the new Defiant Map Pack for Halo: Reach carries an extra bit of weight to it. Defiant marks the passing of a torch, as 343 Industries takes over Halo from Bungie. This is 343’s first major playable content for the franchise, made with the help of developer Certain Affinity.

With the slogan “Defy the Covenant” at its heart, you can download three new maps, Unearthed, Highlands, and Condemned now for 800 Microsoft points ($10). But except for the Halo hardcore, are three new maps worth the steep price?


Superb Level Layout – The biggest strong point for the Defiant Map Pack for Halo: Reach is the terrific layout and variety of the new maps. If you are a fan of Firefight, then you will love the multi-tiered desert base and scattered vehicles that Unearthed provides for you and three friends. If you are looking for a wide-open Slayer level with plenty of hiding spots, then Highlands might be a dream come true. My personal favorite was easily Condemned, which is set aboard a damaged Orbital Space Station. A circular map with clear landmarks at the compass points, Condemned also features a damaged zero gravity cross point in the middle that usually features a top tier weapon for whoever can fight to the top of the generator first. This can make for a lot of great matches from Oddball to your traditional Slayer.

Crisp Graphics – Each map is absolutely beautiful looking and has unique features, but they all fit in perfectly within Reach. Unearthed takes place in an abandoned base that provides an interesting dichotomy against the golden desert sand as grunts pour in from all angles. Highlands is the largest map in this new pack and also the most diverse looking. It features waterfalls, lush vegetation, dark caves, and this is all book-ended by a pair of marine bases with Covenant ships blasting away just over the horizon providing a previously unseen color palette all at once on your screen. And Condemned is the icing on the cake; the massive wall sized windows of the Orbital Space Station allow you beautiful looks into deep space and the planet Reach itself.

Vehicular Manslaughter – Compared to the other maps, Unearthed and Highlands provide some of the best opportunities for vehicular combat of any map due to there being plenty of vehicles and weapons to counteract those vehicles. In Highlands, Mongooses, Ghosts, and Warthogs are bountiful on one end of the map and used to cross the lush expanse to reach the other side. On that other side are laser cannons and missile launchers for the opposing team to use to counteract any blitzkrieg that their foes may try to unleash and is especially effective in Capture the Flag style matches. The Unearthed map features Rocket Warthogs and Ghosts. With no true corners for the Covenant to back you into, you can run rampant in the desert blasting away deep into Firefight mode with your buddies.


Unearthing a Flaw – One of the most interesting and risky aspects of this map pack is that the Unearthed map pack is exclusive to the Firefight mode. For a game where the majority of its online action deals in the versus elements instead of the cooperative, this was a huge risk and might turn off a lot Slayer and Invasion mode fans since this makes it seem more like two maps for $10 instead of three.

Steep Price to Pay – One of the biggest problems with DLC in general and not just this pack, is the over-inflated price you pay compared to the amount of content you receive. With three maps, one exclusive to Firefight, and only three achievements for 150 points, the Defiant Map Pack does not make me feel like I am getting the full bang for my buck. Ten dollars is a bit too much and will probably only be worth it to hardcore Halo: Reach players. Otherwise, I recommend waiting to see if it goes on sale or gets bundled with the Noble Map Pack.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to how long your Halo: Reach disc has been in your Xbox 360. If you haven’t played it since two weeks after the launch date, then you may not have even realized a new map pack was released. If Halo: Reach is your go to online multiplayer shooter right now and you’ve racked up enough credits where you could buy and sell every noob out there, then you will be very satisfied with these new maps even with its steeper than necessary price.

-Ray Carsillo

Brainiac Rises

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

Growing up, I always dreamed of being a superhero. I wore a blue blanket around my neck as a cape and ran around the house vanquishing invisible enemies with what I perceived as martial arts, but that my parents probably thought might be closer to some kind of interpretive dance (I’ve always been a very uncoordinated individual). So, it makes some sense that the only MMORPGs I ever had any real interest in were the ones that let me make my own superhero.

Great MMORPGs are supposed to be able to suck you in and make you want to keep playing and building up your character and keep influencing the universe you find yourself in (and keep paying the monthly subscription fee), but I got bored with City of Heroes after a while and the same happened with Champions Online.

DC Universe Online was supposed to be different though. Over the four-plus years of development and delays we had to endure, we kept being told how it was going to change the world of MMORPGs, how it was going to be different, and how it was going to appeal more to people like me who weren’t into collecting rat pelts and beating up on smaller foes constantly in order to just level up once in the hopes of advancing past the next mission.

Well, after weeks of near non-stop research, where I sacrificed contact with the outside world, and also with my razor (see picture), I have come to this conclusion: DCU Online is easily the most fun, engrossing, and enjoyable superhero MMORPG I’ve ever played. But after playing it non-stop for a month, I don’t see any reason to extend my subscription beyond the free 30 days the game comes with.

The game opens with Brainiac putting into motion his master plan, his end game that will finally eradicate the heroes and villains who have always stood in his way and that will give him absolute control of the Earth. And he will succeed. Furious over missing the threat right under his nose and letting his obsession with Superman get the best of him, Lex Luthor from the future builds a time machine that allows him to temporarily travel back to the Justice League Watchtower before Brainiac launches his attack. Future Luthor has brought back with him Exobytes, little nanobots that Brainiac used to download the DNA and powers of Earth’s heroes and upload into his robot army for the final push of his conquest. Luthor releases these Exobytes into the atmosphere, thus creating millions of new heroes in the hopes it can change his present and our future as he is ripped back to his own time.

It is here that you can then create your own hero or villain. First, you have to choose a server offered and I normally wouldn’t even mention this, but as a comic book fan, I took a little extra joy in seeing each one named after a classic DC storyline, whether “The Killing Joke”, “Final Crisis”, “Justice” or the many others. Now, if you want to jump right into the action after this, you can choose from one of 15 hero/villain presets, but if you’re like me and want a more personal touch, then you can choose from hundreds of various combinations, with more that you can earn over the course of your playing time.

Either way, you can choose from one of six “mentor” types who will influence your safe house and mission layout. If you choose to be a hero that follows Batman, for example, you’ll face more of his villains like Scarecrow and Bane. On the other side of the coin, if you choose to be a villain that follows the Joker, you’ll face off mostly against the Bat Family.

I created one hero and one villain to start. The hero I made is a tech-ninja who sports a sweet black mage hat named Strong Protector and who is a dedicated brawler. The villain I created is a dual-pistol wielding army reject named Ray Rage. Someone is now going to use this information to probably lay out a psych profile for me. Anyway, I stuck with the more realistic hero powers, but ice, nature, fire, psychic, and dark magic abilities are all at your disposal as well when creating your own personal characters.

The instant appeal of DCU Online doesn’t lie in the fact that you can create your own hero or villain though because it’s been done before. The appeal lies in the fact that you are playing in an established universe with over 70 years of history to it. You’re jumping right into Gotham’s East End to cause havoc with the Joker for the GCPD and stop Huntress from putting pressure on your mob allies or maybe you’d rather jump into Metropolis’ Chinatown with Superman and need to stop the Hive from stealing mystical artifacts.

The concept clearly is enough to get my blood pumping, but how does the game actually stand up once you get into Metropolis, the Watchtower, or various other areas in the DC Universe? The best way to describe it would probably be a mixed bag.

The scope of the world you find yourself fighting in is absolutely massive and obviously being able to support thousands upon thousands of people online at once takes its toll on the aesthetics of the game, but that’s really no excuse for the amount of visual glitches you’ll find in DCUO. Much of the world is very slow loading and there are holes everywhere. Thank goodness there is a warp option in the menu otherwise I’d still be falling through an invisible hole that was in the middle of the Metropolis boardwalk. The graphics do look great though during the story cut scenes or the small comic style vignettes you earn after defeating every hero or villain you face.

The audio is spear-headed by tremendous voice acting from former DC Universe animation veterans like Adam Baldwin and James Marstens (Superman and Lex Luthor from Superman: Doomsday) and of course Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill (Batman and the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series and countless other DC animation projects), but I was surprised at how generic the music was. It kept sounding like you’d hear the beginnings of Danny Elfman’s Batman theme in Gotham or John Williams’s Superman theme in Metropolis, and then it would just taper off. Would it have been too much to ask to bash heads to the music that many comic book fans have come to associate with their favorite heroes?

Where DC Universe Online really shines is in the simple controls and mechanics. Unlike most other MMORPGs, the action is completely responsive to your button commands like a traditional action-game instead of the random or turn-based styling that is more accustomed to this kind of game. This allows for players to have a much stronger say in what happens in a fight instead of relying on making the right choices when leveling up and hoping for the right digital role of the dice behind the scenes.

The leveling up has also been streamlined compared to most MMORPGs as you only decide on what new powers you can learn or new fighting styles to acquire. Your health, defense, attack power, speed, and other more traditional attributes increase at a fixed pace, which can be augmented via finding various types of gear from fallen foes, with the best goodies obviously being dropped by the super villains you take out.

Also, instead of having to go back and knock out a plethora of weaker enemies as you progress in order to level up, DC Universe Online successfully has eliminated the rat pelt collecting and has you level up at a much more consistent pace no matter what level you may be. You deserve a reward for bringing Doctor Psycho, Giganta, Harley Quinn, or any of the other countless villains in the DCU to justice no matter what your level is so whether you’re Level 5 or Level 25, you’re going up a level if you beat a villain.

The big problem right now with DC Universe Online is that you can actually get through most of everything you can do in the game in the free month that you get with it. Sure, you could stick around to test your mettle against other created characters in the small or large scale PvP Raid and Arena instances or join up in Legends mode and play as your favorite hero and villains in some classic goal oriented multiplayer, but there isn’t enough for you to buy a monthly subscription until the level cap is increased and some new villains and missions are added. Of course, you could just try out other mentors and powers for the main game as well and create a small army of characters if you really fall head over heels for this game.

When all is said and done, DC Universe Online is a solid, but not spectacular MMORPG unless you really love the DC Universe and their characters, like myself. If so, then this game is definitely worth a purchase, just make sure not to start your free 30 days until you know you can get some solid gaming time in, because even the most diehard of DC fans will probably be ready to hang up their cape after a month.

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

Graphics: 7.0: In it’s defense, you’re going to have a lot of visual glitches in a world the size of what DC Universe is set in. A big knock against it though is this game has been in development for nearly five years when it was finally released so I was pretty ticked when I fell through the middle of Metropolis’ boardwalk for what seemed like forever and I have to SOE out on it.

Audio: 7.0: I loved the voice actors featured in the game and the SFX are something you would expect in any comic book game, but you couldn’t get the rights from Warner Bros. for some licensed music? I want the Danny Elfman theme for a Batman protégé character damnit!

Plot/Plot Development: 10.0: Great original comic book plot that fits perfectly into the DC Universe and just like many of the comics the game is based off of, if done properly, it will never truly end, but continue to evolve along with the game’s community.

Gameplay: 8.0: A bevy of super powers available to you early on and an easy leveling up system that didn’t have you running around collecting rat pelts was a nice change to your standard MMORPG. Despite this, much like the graphics, there were a lot of glitches and slow response times to your command inputs due to lag and it became irritating at times.

Replay Value: 7.0: An engaging and original comic book plot that will always change and evolve is a tremendous concept, but I will never understand the willingness to pay a $15 monthly charge for any video game that costs $60 to begin with. Unless this all you plan on playing for a good long while, you can probably get your entire superhero fix in the free month that comes with the game.

Overall (not an average): 7.5: As much good as there is in this game, there are still a lot of problems that I’m sure will be fixed over time, but as it is now keeps it from being elite and definitely not worth a monthly subscription fee. Find a spot on the calendar when there won’t be a lot of good games coming out, buy this with the free month, and then be done with it until it gets some sweet expansion pack.

Originally Published: October 24, 2010, on NationalLampoon.com and ClassicGameRoom.com

At NYCC 2010, I had the chance to talk to the Creative Directors of the highly anticipated MMORPG, DCU Online, comics legend Jim Lee and Chris Cao.

The Best of E3

Originally Published: July 7, 2010, on Lundberg.me, Examiner.com, Original-Gamer.com, PlayerAffinity.com, and ESPNNewYork.com

I know that E3 was three weeks ago, but with the craziness of the World Cup, NBA Free Agency, and the approaching MLB All-Star break, to say we’ve been a little busy here at ESPN would be an understatement. But in our spare time, my expert cameraman/editor Jared Bodden and I, have been toiling away trying to finish these videos to show you some of the great games we saw at E3 and bring you some exclusive interviews with the people behind those games.

One of the most difficult things in this process has been whittling down what we felt were the most worthwhile games to look at, so we broke it down into four videos. The first video is a compilation featuring online and DLC games with the following three videos being a summary of the rest of the best from each day. For the games that we had to cut for the sake of time, I apologize tremendously. I also wish we could have given every game we did feature their own special video.

On that note, without further ado, below is the culmination of my three days at the L.A. Convention Center for E3 2010. I hope you all enjoy.

The first video was my online/DLC game special that features looks at the new Deadliest Warrior game from Spike Games that comes out next Tuesday, DCU Online from Sony Online Entertainment, QuickHit.com and their brand new NFL license, and Blacklight: Tango Down from Ignition Entertainment.

Our first day at E3 was a special day overall and had us see some spectacular looking games for consoles. Our video of Day 1 features Tron and Epic Mickey from Disney Entertainment, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow from Konami, and Test Drive Unlimited 2 from Atari.

On the second day of E3, console games and their peripherals were well represented once more as we looked at Vanquish from SEGA, Shaun White Skateboarding and Ghost Recon: Future Solider from Ubisoft, WWE All-Stars from THQ, and the new Wii Exercise Bike from Big Ben Interactive.

On the last day of E3, we had a chance to look at some of the most hyped games for consoles and some sweet accessories when we looked at Call of Duty: Black Ops and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions from Activision and some sweet products from Nyko and iGUGU.

Videos by Jared Bodden

-Ray Carsillo

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.

Originally Published: June 9, 2010, on ESPNNewYork.com, Lundberg.me, and PlayerAffinity.com

Controller-less gaming is one of the main topics of discussion that is on the minds of gamers everywhere what with E3 less than a week away. Project Natal is right on the horizon for Xbox 360 and the PS Eye is being used in new and innovative ways to help immerse gamers even more into their gaming experience.

On that note, I had a chance a few weeks ago to chat with the CEO of Virtual Air Guitar, Teemu Maki-Patola, about their new game Kung-Fu Live, expected to be released just in time for the holiday season on the PlayStation Network and to be used in conjunction with the PS Eye.

Check out my interview with Teemu and our preview of Kung-Fu Live for PSN below.