Tag Archive: red


Turn up the radio

After their smash hit Bastion back in 2011, many of us wondered whether or not Supergiant Games would be able to replicate their success with such a small team. Then, last week, they released the first trailer announcing their new game, Transistor. And I know many people looked at that trailer and said “Hmmm… This looks like a cyberpunk Bastion.”

Well, I was fortunate enough to go hands-on with it at PAX East 2013 for 15 minutes, where it was playable on the show floor. And instead of just sharing my initial thoughts, I wanted to share with you the text message I sent to the rest of the EGM Crew upon my completion of the demo:

“OMG TRANSISTOR IS GOING TO BE AMAZING! THE TRAILER DOES NOT DO THIS GAME JUSTICE!”

Surely not my most professional moment, that’s for sure. But after reveling in the jealousy I’d kicked up among my coworkers, I took a minute to compose my thoughts about what I’d just seen, played, and—most impressively—heard.

Indeed, from the very first moments the demo started, an amazing song serenaded my ears as the opening text popped up onscreen. Not only was the song beautiful to hear, but its lyrics and melody also helped set the stage for the game. It immediately established a tone for Transistor and opened the door for a much easier opportunity to get immersed into this new world. If there’s anything that Supergiant seems to be keying in on as their forte when it comes to game development, it appears to be masterfully crafting an atmosphere right from the get-go—especially with sound—to help drive home the points of the game’s inventive script. 

Logan Cunningham, who played Rucks/The Narrator from Bastion, returns once more as your guide. We immediately learn the massive sword that protagonist Red wields is, in actuality, the Transistor. And the Transistor talks! (With a voice provided by Cunningham.). The sword also has some sort of history with Red—who interestingly enough (and continuing with the audio theme), cannot talk.

Shortly after the first tutorial battle, Red stumbles upon someone who was clearly less fortunate than she in regards to finding a giant talking sword. The Transistor then says that even though the person is deceased, it can talk to them. So, after talking briefly with the person’s digital soul, Red learns a new move that can be used in combat, as the soul becomes sucked into the blade.

Not only is this a phenomenal twist, it also sets up many questions about the origins of the Transistor, serving as a driving force to continue the story. Was the voice inside the Transistor related to Red in some way? Did this person use the Transistor to save their consciousness? Has the Transistor always been used like this? Whether or not the voice is a brother, lover, or complete stranger to Red, how the Transistor got that voice is another interesting subplot that formed in just my 15-minute demo. Mind you, the main plot of a futuristic world being subjugated by robots isn’t something to scoff at, either.

As story-driven as Transistor clearly is, it could be easy to look past the unique combat system it sports. Red can perform a variety of moves repeatedly in real time—a bit like a button-masher—that can wield destructive results against the forces who clearly wish to stop her. Whether it’s up-close stabs or long-range explosive blasts, the Transistor makes sure Red can hold her own.

What makes this unique, however, is that she can also activate a special power given to her by the Transistor that allows her to stop time. In this suspension of reality, Red can run around the battlefield and perform attacks—or avoid ones thrown her way in order to overcome what seems like insurmountable odds.

Red can only do so much in suspension before being forced to step back into real time, but once she does, everything she planned out in suspended reality will happen at lighting-fast speed, dealing extra damage or allowing her to escape unharmed. The disadvantage—which quickly becomes evident—is that Red then becomes very vulnerable for a short time. She must wait for a special meter at the top of the screen to refill before she can even attack in real time again—never mind slipping back into suspended reality.

This risk-reward dynamic, plus the badassery of being able to play with time, definitely gave Transistor a special feeling. Couple that with another enthralling story full of mystery and intrigue, and you can consider me hooked for sure. Now, it’s just a matter of finding out what systems Transistor will be available for—and counting the days to when it launches sometime in early 2014.

Originally Published: November 11, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

I reviewed possibly my game of the year, Red Dead Redemption, for the Xbox 360 as a part of CGR Undertow.

Originally Published: November 5, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare DLC for the Xbox 360.

Originally Published: October 20, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Fairytale Fights for the Xbox 360 from Playlogic.

Under the Red Hood

Originally Published: July 27, 2010, on Collider.com and PlayerAffinity.com

It was one of the most controversial decisions in the history of comics. Back in September of 1988, DC Comics opened up a 24 hour vote where fans would decide the fate of Jason Todd, the second Robin in the famed Batman canon. By less than a 100 votes, fans decided that Batman would not make it in time to save Jason from the clutches of the Joker and thus complete the now legendary “A Death in the Family” story arc. Flash forward 20 years now (about four or five in the actual DC Universe) and DC decided to find a way to bring Jason back. Batman: Under the Red Hood is the story of how Batman’s greatest failure comes back to haunt him in ways he never could have imagined.

The comic story arc was originally written by Judd Winick and so it was only natural for DC Animation to approach Winick to rework his story into a screenplay. That was an easy decision. The difficult part was going to be having Winick actual trim down years of comic pages into something that could be told in a 75 minute movie.

There were some obvious reworks that needed to be had, like the summarization of 20 years of guilt on Batman’s part into a simple monologue in the Bat-Wing, but there were others that fans might come to question. Like the complete removal of Tim Drake as the third Robin and nothing more than a cryptic reference late in the movie to Barbara Gordon (the original Batgirl). Removing Tim Drake took away the great confrontations that the prodigal son Jason Todd had with the latest Boy Wonder and is something that fans would probably have liked to have seen.

Aside from this, many of the reworks were necessary to tell the story of the return of Jason Todd as efficiently as possible. There would have been no way to explain how the events of Infinite Crisis and Superboy Prime were what brought Jason back from the dead without making another new movie, so it was written off as being Ra’s Al Ghul and his Lazarus Pit. Also, to show every hit Jason did against the Black Mask as he began to move up in the underworld ranks would have taken an extra hour, so only showing a couple got the point across as well as moved the story along at a good pace. And for those out there who were not familiar with the “A Death in the Family” arc, there are plenty of flashbacks to fill in the remaining blanks of the Batman canon.

So, the story is about as true to the source material as it could be when being crammed into 75 minutes of animation, but what about the actual movie itself? I say it is absolutely brilliant. I still wish DC Animation would stop adapting raw source material and come up with some original stories again like in the Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond days, but for what it is, Batman: Under the Red Hood is a great telling of a landmark Batman story.

The animation is crisp and really jumps off the screen on Blu-Ray. For the most part, the voice acting is top of the line and although most Batman: The Animated Series fans would wish that Kevin Conroy was voicing the Dark Knight, Bruce Greenwood does an admirable job stepping into the role. Add in voice acting veteran John Dimaggio playing possibly the best Joker since Mark Hamill (a possible future replacement once Hamill permanently hangs up his acid spraying flower?) and Jensen Ackles wonderfully portraying the rage and raw emotion Jason Todd is always emitting, and almost everyone involved did a great job bringing these characters to life for this story. The only character portrayal I question was the Black Mask and how he was made out more to be a stereotypical Italian mafia boss instead of the criminal mastermind and psychopath who has come to haunt Batman time and again. I understand he was more of a plot device here to help set-up the final confrontation, but the character deserved more respect than what it was shown.

As always with these straight to Blu-Ray/DVD movies, there are plenty of bonus features to make the buy even more worthwhile and Batman: Under the Red Hood does not disappoint. Included on the disc are four episodes featuring Robin from Batman: The Animated Series, as well as two short documentaries detailing both the creation of the character of Robin and the infamous 1988 vote that sent Jason Todd to his doom. Throw in a preview of the next DC Animated feature, Batman/Superman Apocalypse, and a short bonus cartoon about Jonah Hex, based on a story by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, that is as brilliantly done as the main feature itself, and you have nearly three hours of bonus content that will make any DC Universe fanboy work a nice groove into their couch to watch this great package.

When all is said and done, any and every Batman fan will enjoy this portrayal of Jason Todd and his story as he has been reworked back into the DC Universe. Great action, superb voice acting, and tremendous storytelling make this a must have for fans of the Dark Knight. Batman: Under the Red Hood is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Batman: Under the Red Hood gets 9 out of 10.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: June 29, 2010, on Lundberg,me, NationalLampoon.com, and Sportsrev.TV

This week I reviewed Green Lantern Corps #49 and Transformers: War for Cybertron. My hot chick pick of the week is Jennifer Walcott.