Friday, October 28, 2011

VG Talk #8 Top 10 Non-FPS Co-op Games for PS3 and Xbox 360

Video Game discussion.

Just about every First-Person Shooter (FPS) these days includes an amazing co-op experience right out of the box but what about the other genres of gaming? You want to spend a Saturday night with your significant other or a close friend and you're hankering to play together but you aren't quite sure what your options are. I'm here to help with that endeavor. I only had three requirements for this list:
1) The title wasn't allowed to be a FPS.
2) The game had to have local co-op (also known as couch co-op).
3) The game had to be a title for the PS3 or Xbox 360.

So here they are in no particular order:

10) Rock Band (series)
Rock Band is quite the experience. It's insanely difficult to not have fun playing this game (hooray for double negatives!). I personally love to hit things repeatedly or sing in a way that creates an ominous noise emanating from my open maw. I can finally share those experiences with a friend or a plethora of strangers I pounced upon outside of my house. The only thing holding this game back is the steep cost thanks to the pile of fake instruments required to play.

9) Dynasty Warriors (series)
Whether you want to take over China or pilot a Gundam (Now we just have to wait to be able to do both at the same time.), you're in luck since that's what Dynasty Warriors is going to give you. Dynasty Warriors brings more hack and slash action than your body has room for and the best part is that you can enjoy it all with a friend. Be prepared to mow down waves of enemies while forming your own strategery (the proper term) to take over key points on the battlefield. Conquest never tasted so sweet.

8) Resident Evil 5
The AI bestowed upon your partner in this game is surprisingly worse than any of the enemy AI in previous titles. It's as if they were purposely aiming to make terrible AI for her. The great news is that a friend of yours can grapple the second controller and suddenly this becomes one of the best co-op experiences around as you take on countless zombies together. It's only further made awesome by the fact that this is a Resident Evil game so you can expect all the goodies that come with the franchise.

7) Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
Grab a friend or three and your favorite Marvel characters to do superheroy (it's a word now) things. If you're oldschool then you might compare this to Gauntlet. If you're a seedling then this is where you get to learn just how fun simple gameplay can be. If you don't have three grizzly bears to smash the controllers beside you then you can swap between four heroes of your choosing on the fly. Plus it has Deadpool. Do you really need another reason to play this?

6) LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
The LEGO games are a lot like Kingdom Hearts in a way: taking two different universes from two different franchises and melding them into one sweet love child. There's a ton of content here and a load of humor to go along with it. It's obvious they paid close attention to the source material and managed to mix tribute and parody in one package. Prepare yourself for a nostalgia rush.

5) Castle Crashers
If anyone remembers Alien Hominid, made by Behemoth (which includes Dan Paladin of Newgrounds fame) then you'll immediately know what you're getting into here. Dan's unique art style is being put to great use once again as you play as one of several different magical Knights to save the kingdom in this retro arcade brawler. It's a crazy load of fun with more than enough incentives to play through the main story again and again.

4) Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Fun puzzles? Interesting environments? Tons of action? A c-op experience that requires actual teamwork? Not actually a Tomb Raider game with all of the baggage it's gained over the years? Sign me up. Everyone should seriously give this game a shot.

3) Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One
Creative and borderline insane weapons? Check. Crazy and lovable characters? Check. Hilarity and shenanigans? Check. It's a Ratchet and Clank game through and through but this time it's designed for multiple players to team up to solve puzzles together and blow everything to smithereens. And ultimately, isn't that what we all want?

2) Portal 2
An entire separate campaign is devoted to co-op here and it's more than worth your time. I don't think Portal needs any introductions at this point as everyone and their mom has heard about it and it's not like you can go wrong when Valve's name is attached to something. Just do yourself a favor and buy this immediately.

1) Little Big Planet 2
No other platformer brings this much joy with a co-op experience. Customizing your character, exploring stages for every hidden item, taking on mini-games, puzzles, challenges, and using all of the zany gadgets is just the beginning. The best part: nearly infinite replay value. You can create your own levels or play through any created stage online. I've seen everything from dungeon crawlers to top down shooters, pinball machines to interactive movies, and even flight simulators and RPGs. It would actually be a chore to run out of things to do in this game.

I hope you enjoyed the list and get to experience even half of the games on here. They're worth every penny. Also, be on the look out for BattleBlock Theater (also made by The Behemoth) which as of the time of this writing still doesn't have a release date but it looks like it would easily deserve a spot on this list once it arrives.

This is Kylak signing out and giving many thanks to Avaelendil for handing the idea of this article to my face.

Monday, October 17, 2011

VG Talk #7 Dark Souls Loves You

Video Game discussion.

So you've heard the horror stories of just how difficult Demon Souls and its freshly baked sequel, Dark Souls, can be. If not, go take a look at any review of Dark Souls on the internet and come back here when you're done.

Most likely you saw within the first two paragraphs of those reviews that Dark Souls will maim and destroy you in a way that will make you slam the controller and cry into your pillow hoping that you don't have disturbing nightmares when you're finally able to sleep. It's a sick and twisted piece of entertainment that isn't designed for casual gamers in the slightest.

I've seen both sides of the discussion of this game. There are those who have fallen in love with the difficulty of this game and shout, "An actual challenge! There simply aren't enough games like this anymore. This is immensely refreshing." While there are those that berate the concept, "There's a challenge and then there's just being unfair. Dark Souls is nothing but bad game design being celebrated simply because the game is challenging. Any other game would have been given a low review score."

Both sides are stuck discussing the fact that this game is freakishly hard. Very rarely do I see anyone discussing what exactly that means. What does it mean? It means that Dark Souls loves you. It wants to give you one of the most rewarding experiences a video game can offer but it isn't capable of giving you that experience without being a challenge. Much like life, some of the most rewarding things are also the most challenging and Dark Souls happens to be one of the most challenging games to come out in the last few years.

Dark Souls isn't for everyone. Most gamers enjoy a challenge but most would also prefer the game still be fair. Once it crosses the line of being fair or reasonable, they would prefer to leave the game in the trash. It's perfectly understandable to feel that way and I wouldn't blame anyone for never even attempting this game due to its nature. For the rest of you, Dark Souls is waiting with open arms.

Share your thoughts below. What do you think about Dark Souls?

This is Kylak signing out so you can have some alone time with all of that love.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

VG Talk #6 To Reboot or Not to Reboot

Video Game discussion.

Reboot! It's not just a memorable television show from our nostalgic past but a buzzword that gets thrown around more often than I can take a piss. Rebooting is exactly what it sounds like. The intention is to restart a franchise and give it new legs which usually involves redefining the series as well. Thanks to the sheer amount of rebooting going on in different media (The film industry being rather notorious for this), the term has gained a negative connotation. Is the term deserving of disdain or should we hold out hope for our nostalgia to be reunited with something we once cared for?

Before we dive deeper, let's take a look at a successful and recent reboot. Mortal Kombat was released in April of 2011 and sales skyrocketed right out of the gates. Not only is the title itself rebooted (Mortal Kombat instead of MK9), the style, the game design, and even the story itself has relaunched the series as a newborn. This reboot has done double duty (not that kind) by luring back the Mortal Kombat players of old and siren singing in all new generations of gamers. As a side note, let's not forget that the movie franchise is going to reboot as well.

Now let's take yet another glance (If you missed out, check these links here and here) at the reboot that's raising hell: DMC. The Devil May Cry series has a strong fan base that isn't quite keen on the current reimagining of the series or its protagonist Dante. While the title isn't out yet (and so comparing MK9 with DMC is out of the question), it hasn't garnered the reception that Capcom and Ninja Theory were hoping for and this heavily shaky start to a reboot might ruin the eventual launch of the game.

Two other upcoming titles are notable reboots: Tomb Raider and Twisted Metal. Tomb Raider has quite the challenge ahead as it needs to distance itself from the Uncharted series at all costs (which is the current top dog in games based on raiding tombs). So far it seems that the survival aspects of the gameplay will be the primary focus of the title which could be the distance it needs but only time will tell. Twisted Metal currently has no competition and with David Jaffe at the helm, there's plenty of potential here.

I've only scratched the surface of recent and upcoming reboots but I want to hear your thoughts. To reboot or not to reboot? That is the question. Also: what franchises do you believe deserve a reboot?

This is Kylak signing out and wondering how you feel about parties getting crazy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Video Spotlight #36 "Michael" PS3 Long Live Play

Sharing videos I managed to find scattered across the internet.

There is no time for words! There is only time for you to watch this video!

This is Kylak signing out and basking in the epicness of this commercial.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Decklist Ex Machina #11 Discarding Tables

Coming up with fun decklists so you don't have to.

This decklist was built for a friend who's like a sister to me. She requested a discard deck that can work at the Multiplayer table. I immediately thought of splashing Red since it seems to have the best options for causing multiple players to discard several cards at a time. This deck has been tested a hefty number of times and it's a force to be reckoned with. It's capable of causing a whirlwind of destruction with ease. As an added bonus, it's incredibly powerful in Two-Headed Giant.

5 Creature Spells
Vampire Nighthawk 4
Myojin of Night's Reach 1

32 Non-Creature Spells
Quest for the Nihil Stone 4
Liliana's Caress 4
Geth's Grimoire 4
Syphon Mind 4
Burning Inquiry 4
Wheel of Fate 3
Pyroclasm 3
Terminate 3
Liliana Vess 3

23 Lands
Dragonskull Summit 4
Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace 1
Swamp 9
Mountain 9

The Art of Flipping Tables (How to Play)
Pyroclasm (or any of its variants such as Volcanic Fallout) takes care of any early threats or token armies that might want to give you any trouble. Vampire Nighthawk shrugs off Pyroclasm and can keep the big nasties off of you. Terminate is a cheaptastic spot removal spell to deal with any major threats and if it isn't your style then you might want to test out Agonizing Demise (and similar cards such as Traitor's Roar) which can blow up opponents that get greedy by pumping up massive creatures. All in all, a well rounded defense for the entire multiplayer table.

Quest for the Nihil Stone gets the only two counters it needs without even trying and can be devastating in later turns, especially with multiple copies on the field. Liliana's Caress is one of the main setup pieces that's rather obvious in its application. Geth's Grimoire draws more than you'd imagine since you'll be forcing multiple opponents to discard multiple cards. This ensures that you'll draw your key cards as well as a thousand extra. Remember kids, card advantage is king.

Burning Inquiry, Wheel of Fate, and Syphon Mind all force each opponent to discard their prized possessions. They also activate all of the setup cards in the deck. Myojin of Night's Reach is a brutal finisher if the game somehow manages to last long enough that she happens to be necessary.

Liliana Vess was added in simply because it does everything the deck could ever want. Her first ability is repeatable discard, her second ability can tutor for setup pieces or discard spells, and her final ability can be an alternate win condition after forcing all of the players at the table to discard so many cards.

This is Kylak signing out and discarding all the things!


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