I’ve Moved!

I am announcing that I am moving to daviddocrogers.com

All of the old posts here will remain, but all new posts will go to the new domain. So head over there to read some exciting announcements coming from Project Triforce and NECA Toys. Including an update on NECA toys plans for their next quarter scale replica Predator.

So that’s it from here folks. So you at the new destination.

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Big Changes are Coming

Several major changes are being made to my social platforms. I am moving this blog to a new location, but this WordPress will remain as an archive of all my previous posts. More details will be posted in the coming days as I finish everything.

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XBLA House Party Round Up

Due to a family emergency I won’t be able to provide individual reviews of the Xbox Live Arcade House Party event. So instead I will briefly describe each game and tell you if it’s worth your time and money.

Developer: Remedy
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is not the sequel to the original Alan Wake. However, it’s a spin off, a short story if you will. I enjoyed this episodic experience of Alan Wake. I wouldn’t want to spoil the twist of the story, but if you’re reading this, then most likely you’ve already read enough to know. American Nightmare does a good job of capturing the attention of anyone who was a fan of the Twilight Zone growing up. Night Springs is the Alan Wake equivalent to the Twilight Zone.

The combat is fun and familiar to players of the original Alan Wake. You’re still running around with a flashlight, awesome, and weapon to ward off the Taken. New enemies appear some that are more elusive and much larger than past Taken. A few improvements have been made to the gameplay such as the mini-map located on the top left corner of the player’s HUD. Alan Wake is apparently in better physical shape because he can now run further before stopping to catch his breath. Also the annoying backwards-crying baby used in the first Alan Wake to signal to the player that the Taken were coming has been removed. Yes! – I liked the idea, but it ruined some of the scare factor.

Remedy has also included a survival mode a franchise first. Alan Wake must survive waves of the Taken horde for until dawn breaks.  As you gain points and successfully survive you’ll earn stars that unlock more levels. Eventually you’ll unlock the “Nightmare Difficulty” and more locations to combat the Taken horde.

For $14.99 Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is worth your time and money. It’s a fun game with a quasi-decent story. Remedy offers moderate replayability with the inclusion of their survival mode. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare. However, if I could change one thing about this game; I would give Alan Wake the ability to climb over fences a bit better.

Rating: 4.5/5

Developer: Illfonic
Publisher: THQ
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Nexuiz tries to revive an era of gaming that has been long since passed. The quick-twitch, fast-paced, first person shooters such as Quake, Unreal Tournament, Tribes, and Painkiller are all great examples of popular games of this variety. These types of games typically don’t translate well to gamepads. They’re designed for mouse and keyboards. Games like Nexuiz require high sensitivity and precision. The mouse is a far more accurate device than the analog sticks. However, on the console if you turn the sensitivity up you can get an experience as close as a mouse.

Many reviews have bashed the console version of Nexuiz. I’m not too thrilled with it myself, but there is one feature that I enjoy that keeps me coming back. It’s called ‘pogoing’ in the game, but any gamer with a PC background will know that it’s strafe jumping all over again. Except, in Nexuiz it really does look and feel like you’re jumping with a pogo stick. Very weird, but easy to get used to I’ve enjoyed “pogoing” around the levels and shooting people in the face with whatever Quake/Unreal knockoff I have selected. There are a lot of places where you can pogo off the map so watch out.

Nexuiz is a game I hope that the Xbox community will support though because it’s a game I’d like to goof around in from time to time. Sure there might be better options, but no one plays Quake Arena Arcade anymore. I’m also applying the logic that this is the game I will get my 800 Microsoft Points back. I bought all 4 House Party games and the incentive for doing that is 800 Microsoft Points in return. Which brings me to my next question. Is Nexuiz worth the money?

Nexuiz, for $9.99 is bleakly worth its price tag. If you’re a fan of the genre it might be to you, but if you are just a regular gamer looking for something to try I recommend waiting until this game is part of a discounted promotion in the future.

Rating: 3/5

Developer: Ubisoft Singapore
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation 3, PC

I Am Alive is extremely unfriendly to players. That’s a good thing for this game. I Am Alive is about survival in a post-apocalyptic world. There are very few resources to help aid you in your journey to find your family. Especially when it comes to ballistic ammunition this game is relentless against you and your survival. Everything you do could potentially be your last action in this environment.

The challenge is there, the sympathy is not. You start out with 3 retries and if occasionally you can find an extra retry in the form of a camera. Once you run out of these retries you’ll have to restart from a previous checkpoint. That might not sound bad if these checkpoints weren’t so hard to come by, but that’s incentive not to use up all of your retries.

This game is so relentless to the player I have seen the creator of Duke Nukem himself fall to his knees in mercy of the game. George Broussard said on his twitter “Wow, I just died on The Ship in I Am Alive and lost 45 mins of progress. Replay system is the worst idea ever. #fired” He later replies to someone and mentions that he does like the game but hates when the system screws the player. It’s rather ruthless.

There are a lot of different challenges that you must face in I Am Alive. Most importantly health and stamina, but be very mindful of collecting bullets and using as few as possible to drop a target. You’re also equipped with a machete that you can use to quick kill when thugs are slowly approaching you. Be careful though you won’t be able to swing wildly you’ll have to enter a button mash that will leave you open for attack, and eventually death.

There are tricks that you can utilize to your advantage to clear rooms and make your way through the dusty city. Shooting to kill larger enemies can cause smaller, weaker, enemies to fall to their knees and beg for mercy. You can then knock them unconscious once they are on their knees. You can also help survivors by collecting resources throughout the city or fighting off thugs. Picking when you engage survivors is also critical to your survival.

All in all I think this is a very solid game. Ruthless, unrelenting, highly unforgiving, and beats even the most experienced gamer to their knees. I Am Alive is survival done right. Games such as I Am Alive are rare and hard to find. The developers offer a true challenge to the player and their will to continue. I’ve seen mixed reviews on the game and that’s a shame because I think this is a well-executed game despite its few flaws. The story really isn’t as important as the mechanics and true design of this game. Some will say that this game isn’t good because of the weak story. Others will say it’s too hard and too unforgiving.

Is I Am Alive worth your time and money for $14.99? Absolutely. If you’ve never played a challenging game I dare you to test yourself and see how far you can make it in I Am Alive. I dare you to push yourself to finish it. And when you do finish it, I want you to go outside during the day and do something, whatever you want, and then say to yourself, I Am Alive!

Rating: 4/5

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Last Week Microsoft Kicks Off House Party With Warp

A few days late I know! Allen Wake’s American Nightmare will follow shortly.

Warp is a delightful game that kicked off Xbox Live Arcade’s House Party. Much like the Summer of Arcade XBLA’s House Party is an annual promotional period of unique and sometimes very well thought out games. Many titles for the Xbox Live Arcade are must haves at their respective $9.99 (800 Microsoft Points.), and $14.99 (1200 Microsoft Points.) prices.  Especially the recently released Gotham City Impostors! – More on that game later.

           For those of you who do not know or are new to digital distribution services such as XBLA this House Party is a four-week long event with a new Arcade title launching each week. Just released today for $14.99, is Remedy’s Alan Wake’s American Nightmare. As an incentive for buying all four games during the House Party, Microsoft will send you 800 points right back to your account.* So it’s like getting one of the games for free, or all of them for $10 each!

Here is the full lineup of the Xbox Live Arcade 2012 House Party.

2/15 – Warp by Trapdoor – $9.99
2/22 – Alan Wake’s American Nightmare by Remedy – $14.99
2/29 – Nexuiz by Illfonic – $9.99
3/7 – I am Alive by Ubisoft Shanghai – $14.99

* Please allow 6-8 weeks for the 800 Microsoft points to appear in your account.

Also another note: if you’re an Xbox Live Rewards member this is a great time to be one, or if not sign up today! Members earn 5% back on all marketplace purchases this month! This includes games and content, avatar items, movie rentals and purchases. So go out there and treat yourself to Gotham City Impostors, Warp, and Alan Wake. Act fast February only has an extra day this year.

Warp is certainly a surprise in this year’s line up featuring simple design and character actions. Warp is a simple top-down stealth-puzzle-adventure game that is worth the ten-dollar price tag.  The story is simple; your main goal is to simply escape your captors. I’m using the word simple a lot because simple is a good thing, and not to mention hard to accomplish. However, there is a twist, as simple as this may sound there are many challenges and obstacles along the way.

The player takes control of an odd alien creature that has been captured, and experimented on by, what I am assuming are some stupid humans. These stupid humans seem to think that this creature is harmless after removing its circular device from the alien’s belly in a process shown during the opening cut scene. The player will go through a serious of tests. These tests are essentially the tutorial portion of the game and are done very well. The first test, my favorite, the player will do is a simple movement tutorial and the player will guide the alien through a maze like staircase. This test is my favorite because the ‘stupid human scientist’ says, “Standard bipedal motion.” I don’t know why, but it caught my attention, maybe because the voice actor sounds a bit like David Cross.

If you’ve played the demo or have looked at some of the photos and video of the game at first glance you would think this is your typical run of the mill cutesy child’s game for the Xbox Live Arcade, but it’s not, not at all. Thanks to the technology provided by the Unreal engine Warp features millions of gallons of blood waiting to be splashed across the walls and floor of this underwater lab!

How does one go about shedding so much blood? Well it’s quite simple and it’s the very first thing you learn, if you’re paying attention. The ability to kill is within the game’s title. Warp, this little alien creature can warp through most objects in this underwater lab with no assistance. So what happens when you warp into a ‘stupid human scientist or solider’? Well, nothing, not at first at least. Simply, rotate the left analog stick in either direction and watch those soft fleshy human bodies expand and explode in a wash of blood and giblets! That same function will also work on inanimate objects such as, turrets, barrels, and battery cells – but it’s not as fun.

The whole plot point of Warp is to escape without obviously being killed or recaptured. There is some kind of sidekick that speaks to you through thought, and who you will eventually meet. In order for the alien to escape it must also free the other test subject. As you progress through the underwater lab the security systems become more robust and increase the challenge of getting around. You’ll come into some upgrades that will enhance your ability to warp around and take down your captors.

If you’re a blood lusting maniac looking for a new fix or if you simply enjoy challenging and unique adventure games Warp is certainly something you should try. I’m still working on finishing this game myself but I have attempted to provide you all a summarization of the essential elements.

Rating: 4/5 – This rating might seem high to some people but I stand by this rating very much. I support simple and challenging games such as Warp. It may not be the most exciting game on the market in terms of what bigger budget games provide. I enjoy these inexpensive experiences. To me these experiences enhance my frame of reference. Warp does everything to provide a simple and challenging experience that anyone can pick up and enjoy.

More to come:
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare – Review
Gotham City Impostors & Nexuiz – Review
I Am Alive – Review
The Next Generation – Editorial
A Big Announcement!


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An Over Due Update!

I have been very busy the past few months and haven’t been able to write as much as I like. I will try to catch the Internet up in a few upcoming posts, but for now I’d like to talk about Extra Life and the G3 program I participated in a few months back.

I am proud to announce that I raised $200 for the local Children’s Hospital Miracle Network, I think that is the right name. I want to thank my friends, family, and strangers who donated for such a wonderful cause. Next year I plan on raising over $1,000 and will be more aggressive in attracting donators. – Possible prizes to the highest donators!

I plan to have some more posts coming up this month to document some of the events that have happened since I last wrote on my WordPress here. So stay tuned I have a lot of goodies to share!

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Help Me Raise Money For My Local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital

On October 1st, Extra Life, and Microsoft Xbox 360 have teamed up for G3. Gaming and Giving for Good. This is a 24 hour event that begins at 8 am October 1st, and ends at 8 am October 2nd. Anyone can participate to help raise money for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

I have signed up as a participant to support Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. My goal is to raise $800 during the 24 hour event and I cannot reach this goal without the support of you and others.

You can donate as much money as you would like, but it would be nice to have some supporters contribute $5 per hour played during the 24 hour event. No breaks of any kind will be counted towards actual play hours and Raptr.com’s services will help keep accurate track of time played. My game of choice will be the newly released Gears of War 3. So I hope that some fellow Gears Heads stumble upon this good charity event.

Your donation is tax deductible and all proceeds go towards helping children. Together we can help hundreds of young children who need medical assistance.

For more information on the Extra Life G3 event please go to my G3 Participant’s Page.

Your consideration and donations are greatly appreciated.

Thank You,

-David “Doc.” Rogers

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Summer of Arcade Kicks Off With Bastion Review

Bastion
Developer: Supergiant Games
Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade kicked off with the colorful world of Bastion. This action-rpg is nothing new to any seasoned gamer. To this reviewer, it felt like a rebirth of a lost era in gaming – the 2D era. If you were a fan of the original legends of Zelda then you will instantly fall in love with the world of Bastion

The game
As wonderful as Bastion is it lacks some depth. It’s like feeling full after eating a lot of Chinese food, and then forty-five minutes later you want more. This reviewer wants more of the world of Bastion. I would like to see this game’s design experience a revival at the triple-A level. The possibility in the world of Bastion is endless and as open ended as the story is – the player is only limited by their imagination.

The best feature in Bastion is the narration of the player’s action. Even though Bastion may feel like every other hack-n-slash style of game it’s the way it makes you feel that’s different. The narrator doesn’t tell the story he describes the player’s actions in a dynamic way. As you smash things and blow off steam or wander around and take your time, the narrator will give the player the feeling of dictating the story.

In the opening moments of Bastion you find yourself as a boy waking up on a floating slab of colorful tiles. As the kid approaches the exit the path raises from the abyss beneath him. “He don’t stop to wonder why,” the narrator says as the kid charges through; having faith the path will appear before him.

Soon the kid finds his hammer where he can begin to smash enemies and obstacles in his path. As the kid travels around the world of Bastion he will discover weapons, potions, artifacts, idols, and fragments of the old world. The depth and substance of Bastion as a whole is made up for by its armory of weapons and the ability to customize load outs and special abilities. The combat system of Bastion is simple and easy to learn quickly. The kid has the ability of “invoking the gods” through idols, and now the player can make Bastion as challenging as they desire. With the depth of the combat system and the many tiers of weapon upgrades the idea of invoking a few gods becomes more inviting, and offers up rewards for the player.

The kid’s main goal is to travel throughout different parts of the world, and find fragments of the old world to restore the Bastion. An event called the calamity happened and has destroyed Bastion leaving the kid as the only known survivor. Giving the kid plenty of opportunities to explore and level up. As the kid moves on weapon training ground areas will appear for the kid to test his abilities. Succeeding will award the kid with special rewards.

Art
After the narrator the best feature in Bastion is the art and the design of the game as a whole. The colorful tiles that raise themselves from the nothingness below are colorful and mosaic like. The colors of structures, enemies, and other characters are vibrant and have a water paint look. There are very few games that still take on this art style and design. As a result, the art style of Bastion makes it truly a unique game experience.

Overall
Overall Bastion is truly a breathtaking experience if you allow yourself to become lost in its world. I would really like to see more from Supergiant Games in support of Bastion. It’s just absolutely amazing. Not many know, but a team of just seven people created Bastion. If you love games you should support these seven people because I want to see more from these guys and this game.

It’s a shame that Xbox Live Arcade only limits their arcade games to 12 achievements and 200 gamerscore. I feel like Bastion is one of those types of games that could have so many rewards for doing certain things in the game. Considering XBLA games have seen a steady increase in price, the 1200 MSP, $14.99, titles should allow for at least 18 achievements and 500 gamerscore.

Bastion released on Xbox Live Arcade on July 20, if you haven’t already I highly recommend picking up this title. For $15 this game offers hours of rewarding gameplay. Your support could give Supergiant Games reason enough to serve us a second helping of Bastion content in the future.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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