The beast is coming, will you be able to defeat him, will you even try? These are the kinds of choices you can make in infamous 2.
Infamous 2 picks up right where Infamous left off. Cole is now powered up and waiting to take on the beast. Cole and his gang plan to head to New Marais (aka New Orleans) to pick up some new powers before the big fight, but the beast has other plans. If you finished the first Infamous, you can continue your story as either good or evil and get some bonus XP, extra electric power and a karmic boost. If you finished both story lines, you get to choose which one to continue. It’s a nice touch and it works great.
I was late to the Infamous party; I didn’t play it until it was free as part of the PSN welcome back program (check out my pro tips). On the plus side, that means I played Infamous right before playing the sequel. As such, two things really stuck out right from the get-go. First, they changed voice actors for Cole, the main character in the game. (I didn’t think that was a good sign.) And second, the game looked a lot better. Oh yeah, and for some reason Sucker Punch thought it’d be funny to change the pick up an item/interaction button from triangle to R1... no reason, just different. That screwed me up big time early on.
The Infamous 2 engine has been reworked an includes some really impressive updates including real-time in-engine cut scenes (all of which are skippable now, yeah!) destructible elements and big HUGE enemies. The new engine also supports user generated content (UGC), but more on that later.
Aside from the typical destructible cover (boxes and such) there are huge verandas that you can take out with a few well placed grenades. This has the added benefit of taking care of any baddies standing on or below the porch. Giant fuel tanks and silos can be blown up along with pedestrian bridges and all sorts of stuff I didn’t expect. (There’s no full scale building demolition though.)
Infamous 2 is a bit tougher than its predecessor, mostly because it is more stingy with the electricity. You no longer gain power from grinding on wires; they’re solely for transportation now. Your standard lightning bolt (R1) also now consumes some juice. You’ll have to be a bit more strategic if you don’t want to run out of power now, especially in powered down areas of the city. To make up for the standard bolt taking power, Sucker Punch has improved the melee by giving Cole a weapon, dubbed “the Amp”, it is an electrified tuning-fork looking device that you swing at the baddies to clear them out. Unfortunately for Cole, the Amp is no match for a gun, and many of the bad guys (even early on) have guns. Jumping into a gang of four or five jimmies with guns and swinging your stick around is akin to suicide. There’s also a section of the city that’s partially flooded, forcing you to stick to the rooftops as water and electricity are a bad mix.
My first OMG moment came when I was introduced to the Devourer, a giant swamp creature that will chase you through the streets and give you your first real challenge in the game. It’s not a boss, just a really big, strong enemy. There are also militia helicopters and giant Ice Titans to contend with (plus a couple of REALLY GIANT surprise enemies). Sadly, none of these big baddies are available in the mission editor for the UGC, so many of the user created missions end up being swarms of small enemies. Pro Tip: You can enter the UGC mission creator, fly to any point in the map, and finally exit the creator which will essentially fast travel Cole to wherever you want to be.
One of my complaints about the first game was that no matter which side of the karmic scale you were on, the story played out the same way. This made the good/evil choices largely irrelevant (except as to which powers you had). Infamous 2 has no such problem, the ending (not just the cut scenes, but the game play and bosses) is completely different for good Cole and evil Cole. Without giving too much away, Infamous 2 is the only game I can think of where the evil ending seems more like the real ending to me. The game is called “infamous” after all!
Aside from the lack of large enemies is the UGC, there are a couple of other, minor issues with Infamous 2. Instead of taking you into the map screen after completing a mission (as Infamous did), Infamous 2 puts a mission summary on the right of the screen, while leaving you in control of Cole. This sounds good in theory, but in practice the summary covers up your mini-map and for some reason hides your target reticule. If there are any bad guys left alive in the area when you finish a mission, you will have a tough time dealing with them in that condition. My advice is to just run away until the summary is off the screen and your reticule is back. Another issue occurs when you defeat one of the larger enemies. Infamous 2 likes to give them a cinematic death, this takes control away from you to show you the bad guy going down in slow motion even if they weren’t the last active enemy and you are still in the middle of a fire fight. Totally not cool.
In the first Infamous, all of your powers could be upgraded 3 times and they became more and more useful each time. In Infamous 2, instead of simply upgrading the power, you unlock variations on the power (a triple shot, or spread version of the basic bolt for instance). Some of these are cool, some are not, but I never felt like I was getting more powerful, just different, which was a shame.
You still collect blast shards to increase you electricity storage, they are scattered all over the city just as before, you’d really have to try to not see them and get at least 50% of them. As the story progresses, you are joined by two conduit accomplices, one good and one evil and you can choose which side missions to do, in addition to some main story decisions that will drastically affect your karma.
Overall, Infamous 2 is a fun game with tons of stuff to do. You’ll want to play through it twice, which is quite a bit of game play. Unfortunately the UGC doesn’t keep the replay value as high as promised due to the omission of the larger enemies. Still, I got a couple of weeks of value out of this game and enjoyed myself while playing it so BUY IT.
After some hands-on with Brutal Legend, what's the verdict?
Brutal Legend is a good looking game with some serious production values. It's basically a hack-and-slash 3-d platformer mashup. The animation is great and the dialogue and voice acting (featuring Jack Black) are top-notch. You can certainly expect some laughs while playing through this game. It feels like you're controlling a Jack Black animated feature.
You have two basic weapons, your axe and your guitar. Your axe functions much like you'd expect it to, with decapitated and bisected enemies strewn about in its wake. Your guitar allows you to shoot either some sort of lightning, or pyro effects. The pyro allows you to knock enemies up in the air, where you can knock them out baseball style with your axe.
The controls are tight while on foot, but tend to get a little loose when you're in your vehicle. Like most third person 3-d games, this one too suffers from some camera issues. There are options to set the camera speed, and those help, but a re-center type button would've been nice. One of the boss battles has you driving your car, but the camera is panned out and not behind you which creates a bit of steering trouble (for me anyway).
The finished game also includes a muliplayer mode, which should add some replayability to this title.
If you like the hack-and-slash or 3-d platformer genre, I'm sure you won't be dissapointed with this game. Me, I love everthing about this game, except playing it. It's really not my style, game-play wise. I'd love to watch someone else play through it. I would definitely try before you buy, especially if you have an XBox live gold account, as you can download the demo right now, for free. If you're one of those people who loved Psychonauts so much that you still talk about, well, WTF are you doing reading this, don't you have a pre-order to pick up?
Brutal Legend releases October 13, 2009. Pre-order now.
PlayStation Plus is $50 a year, but what exactly do you get? Iorilamia explores PS+ DLC, specials and the value that it carries.
PlayStation Plus is 3 months for $17.99 or one year for $49.99. Doesn't seem too bad, you can imagine you're paying for something like XBL. Here are the cool perks you get. Or don't get ...
Each Month/Week- Free PSN games, minis and PS One Classics from the PSN Store. Dynamic Themes, avatars and add-ons (basically dlc)
Sucks because, Usually the PS1 games are crap games you most likely didn't play or want to play. Mini's are short-term games you would play on your cell phone usually . Free PSN games are basically games that are about $2-$15 for regular users and suck most of the time. The add-ons are mainly for random games you most likely don't have, and it's not always free. Avatars and themes...cool. Also the games are not their forever. One decent discount/free game can be up for a week, and the next few months will be complete trash games. And wtf, ps1 games are cool but they are backward compatible, the latest version of ps3 can only play like 10% of ps2 games, those should be what they are giving you.
You do get to try demos before regular users do and you get discounts on psn games.
Here is why I hate PS+ the most. Once you stop paying for it, you loose everything except avatars and themes (the lamest part of PS+...) I don't get it. You get "free" games you just paid 50 bucks for and they are all complete ASS, since you think your getting a good deal you go download and discount buying happy over thins you normally would never buy and if you don't keep paying, you loose the few games you actually did enjoy. Heres the thing, if you re-start your subscription, you get all your stuff back. I want you to keep your eye on PS+ deals (because they can be nice sometimes) Along with the PSN weekly Tuesday update, IGN covers all the deals for you.
What do you guys think about PS+? Have you tried it? Do the games sound appealing to you?
The reason I did not buy it: because I was following IGN's updates for a while to see if it was for me...most of the "free" games your getting are only worth a few bucks and aren't something I would spend time playing. Most not all. So in the end it would be a waste of money for me, especially since I don't care about themes,avatars or demos for games I'd never buy. Not being able to keep games is stupid. Also I have a few friends with it, after I saw a lot of the junk they downloaded I was further convinced into not caring about PS+. Flush it!
And now Cinderkin, the internet explodes.
We played a couple hours of Borderlands 2 on PC while waiting for our Loot Chest editions to show up. We checked it out with PhysX turned on to see the difference. How does it compare to the console experience? Exclusive video.
We first saw the PhysX demo that NVIDIA released on youtube about a month ago. I have to say, we were blown away with that video, but needed to see it for ourselves.
When building GoukiJones' rendering machine last year, we included a GeForce GTX 560ti (then $249). The good news is that card is still up to date enough to play Borderlands 2 on high detail with PhysX enabled (on GoukiJones' 16x10 monitor). The better news is you can now get a GTX 660 for about $230 that will outperform the 560ti while using less power.
We were given a steam code by NVIDIA for a copy of Borderlands 2 so we could test the PhysX engine vs the console versions we usually play here at the Gouki.com offices. Thanks guys!
Seeing the extra elemental sparks fly looks really cool and the bodies fall to the ground realistically while bits and pieces of their armor pop off and wheel away in all directions. Though what really changes are the various cloth awnings, tarps, banners, and flags that inhabit the world of Pandora. Instead of being solid objects that don't move at all, they now come to life, blowing in the wind, reacting to your movements and gunshots, and generally behaving like you'd expect in the real world. It's not vital to game play, but it certainly makes the environment feel more alive.
Many other, smaller things stood out to me as well... from the snow melting on the screen to the goop (for lack of a better word) that sticks around after the exploding barrels are dealt with to the blood that pours from your own body after your shield is gone and you take a hit, PhysX makes for a more believable experience. I love how the little bits and pieces stick around in the environment during the gunfight. It littered the ground after one boss battle.
I used a Razer Onza tournament edition to control the game, it worked really well and just as I expected coming from the Xbox. This made the transition pretty smooth and I felt right at home on Pandora. One of the big differences from the consoles is just the huge amount of customizations you can do to the video settings, changing the FOV and customizing the level of detail and hud and just about anything else you could want.
This test proved one thing to me at least, the consoles are really overdue for a refresh. At this rate, last year's GPUs are doing some amazing things that I would consider "next-gen" if I saw it on my TV... and with Valve's announcement of "Big Picture" mode for Steam, and the rapid decline in prices of last year's GPU tech, putting together a gaming PC for the living room for less than the launch price of typical console ($350-450) seems within reach. Hopefully more and more games support the controller out of the box too, as I'm horrible with a keyboard/mouse when it comes to gaming.
Mixed Emotions and mixed feelings is ALL Crysis 2 has to offer. One moment you're absolutely loving it and then you're saying out loud that you will never play again. Ametuers man. Poor matchmaking, terrible party system and unexplainable glitches.
You would think a publisher like EA would know how to put out a proper multiplayer experience right? They act like they don't give a shit. Crytek can only be responsible for so much. Although, Crytek could have definitely built a better party and matchmaking system. It's bad enough that a lot of these features are a copy of Call of Duty games, but to have the mulitplayer separate parties, boot players at random and straight up fatal error my Xbox is a little ridiculous. Where is the testing? What I want to see is more beta tests, longer beta tests if you're just going to let the community test it once it's released anyway. Where are the patches? The game has been out for a couple of weeks now and still nothing. The screen flips out when you zoom in at the beginning of a game on the map Liberty Island. Why is this? Can anybody explain this? At the beginning of that map, all of my team mates are reminding each other to zoom in and out a couple of times so it doesn't happen while you are in combat.
Crysis 2 Screen Glitch on Liberty Island
So that's a lot of the hate there, the matchmaking. The fact that I've been in the game for 32 hours and have actually only played in matchmaking 15 hours! Wow! That means, I've been in the menus for more than twice as long as I've actually played the game. Regardless of these issues, when you actually get into games and all of your friends are on the same team, the Crysis 2 is a lot of fun.
Crysis 2 has some of the best multiplayer maps in years. No other game comes to mind, when I really think about maps. Maybe Halo 2, but that's way old Jimmy. Liberty Island -the level I mention earlier with the glitch- is probably my favorite multiplayer map in years. The Liberty Island map is very well crafted. The two bases are spread perfectly apart, the medic tent site is great to sneak through, oh and the dead bodies laid out in body bags are hilarious when you are running over them. It got real bad real quick on this map and it is the best map in the game.
Ranking up in Crysis 2 and getting new perks is no different from what you've seen in the Call of Duty series. This is a straight up copy of COD. I'm not sure why they did it like this and I'm not saying it's bad, but I want to know why a completely different company couldn't have come up with something a little more original. Crytek is supposed to be this great game making company. And please don't say this is their first multiplayer game, that's not good enough. You can even prestige in Crysis 2, c'mon.
The last thing I want to do is start all over with my guns. I'm just now getting to level 30 and starting to like how I can build my custom classes. Early on in multiplayer, when you have no guns and no perks, you're getting railed constantly and it is ZERO fun. This was always one of my major issues with COD. You really have to put time in to Crysis 2 if you want to get to the fun stuff in the multiplayer. Look at me, it only took 32 hours of it actually being on for me to start enjoying it.
I wrote everything above a few days ago. I've continued to play the Crysis 2 and my emotions continued to rise and fall. Until finally last night. I'm terrible at the death match and they may be my fault. I'm good during flag matches and enjoy that much more. It's bad enough to lose a few matches in a row or feel like your constantly getting railed in the ass and there is nothing you can do about it. But then when it kicks you out of games or Migrates Host and ends up putting your party into to separate games and you don't even realize until you team starts talking about two different maps. Last night I vowed to never put the Crysis 2 back into my Console.
Flush it! Just like when you Jimmys try to get all Greg Luoganis and swim around the levels where you can't pull your gun out. Crysis 2 is Dead in the Water.