First Impressions: Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories

As a long time fan of the game (having beaten the first game on PS2, PS3 and more recently PS4) I have wanted to play through all of the games, and with the release of the Kingdom Hearts All in One package for the PS4, I have the opportunity to do just that.

I’ve already experienced Kingdom Hearts 1,2 and the “cut-scene only” games (the oddly named Re:Coded and 358/2 Days) as they have been previously released on the PS3 as the “Final Mix” but I never got around to playing Chain of Memories until today.

I have some thoughts.

The gameplay so far is nearly the same: go to an area (in this case rooms) filled with Heartless, whack ’em with the keyblade and move on.

What doesn’t make sense is you aren’t just running around madly pressing “X” like the first Kingdom Hearts. In this game you have a deck of cards that you use and cycle through to deal out damage (you see what I did there? I’m hilarious).

The card mechanic is… well interesting. I still haven’t figured out how the hell it’s actually supposed to work other than you target an enemy, they deal their card and you’re supposed to throw out a higher numbered card (like playing War). At least that’s what I’ve gathered so far.

What doesn’t makes sense about this game mechanic is that the enemies are still running around like the previous Kingdom Hearts game while I’m moving around AND messing with the card mechanic.

So I just end up pressing “X” like crazy anyway, and running through my hand of cards, then healing because it’s my last card in the hand, then focusing to get a new hand.

All while heartless are still moving around and hitting me.

Personal opinion but I think the card mechanic would work better in a turn-based fight, rather than the hack and slash style I’m used to having played Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 before.

I can already tell that this game is going to be more of a chore to grind if I have to find specific cards to unlock doors (a problem I’ve already run into less than an hour into the game). So we’ll see if this is one I finish or if I’m just going to skip to the next game and just try to figure out the storyline through a YouTube video.

Super Mario Bros. 35

Nintendo dropped its latest in the Battle Royale game style that’s been popular lately. Based slightly off of the Tetris 99 concept, Super Mario Bros 35 pits you against 34 other players online, simultaneously running through the original Super Mario Bros levels to become the best of the best.

You run through the levels, grabbing coins and power ups as well as killing enemies as you would normally. The difference in this game is that when you kill an enemy on your screen, you send their “ghost” to an opponent’s screen, trying to keep them from reaching the end goal.

An added bonus of defeating a goomba on your screen is that it adds extra time to your counter, keeping you in the game a little longer as you try to knock out other players. Similarly to the Tetris 99 style, you are given four options for battling your opponents. This allows you to target opponents with specific circumstances such as “most coins, attackers, least time, or even random.

As you collect coins you can spend 20 of them on a roulette question block that will give you one of the following power-ups: 1 mushroom, a fire flower, a star, or a Pow (that will clear every enemy on the screen at once). Grabbing coins as you run becomes useful in the end game as your screen will fill up with enemies and the roulette will become more useful.

As you progress through the game and complete more matches you are given daily tasks to complete that will give you coins to spend outside of the matches. These coins will allow you to buy a power-up that you will receive at the start of the match. Personally I go with the fire flower and try to hold on to it as long as I can.

After playing for about an hour and a half I was able to rack up three wins by utilizing the following strategy: Don’t worry about speed-running through the levels. Take your time and focus more on grabbing powerups such as the mushroom or fire flower and 1-ups. Coins are useful for the roulette but try to hold on to them until you are in the top ten unless you have to spend them to stay alive. Kill as many enemies as you can, and focus on sending them to the person with the least time. Also, try to keep on a loop of familiar levels, so you know exactly where all the power ups are going to be, or you can set up a chain of attacks to kill the most enemies.

There may be a point where the music will speed up, meaning you are probably the person with the least amount of time left on the counter, but try not to focus on that. Rather, keep to the plan of killing enemies to send to your opponents, and spending coins for more power ups as needed.

This is so far my favorite “Battle Royale” style game and that’s not just because I’ve managed to score three wins the first few hours of playing, but because it takes the Mario 1 game everyone knows and adds a new twist by making you compete with 34 other live players.

The game is free to download and play, so long as you have an active Nintendo Online subscription. Though this game is being advertised as a limited time release, I hope that just means it’s free to play until the March 31st deadline.

I also wouldn’t mind it being updated to add additional Mario levels outside of Super Mario Bros (Mario 1). It would be interesting to see the game played out across the rest of the NES Mario catalogue.

Firewatch

You are Henry, a man in his late thirties that has taken a job as a Firewatch in Wyoming in the late 80’s. What starts off as a calm and lonely job trying to keep the forest from burning down will soon turn into a mysterious game of conspiracy.

When you start the game, you are first greeted with a few lines of text and are given the option to react in one of two ways. This serves as the intro to the game as well as giving some background to the storyline. The choices don’t really matter much outside of developing a bit of background to your character and while it ultimately doesn’t affect the story overall, it does introduce you to Firewatch’s version of the choice system that you will be using for the rest of the game.

When you take over your character Henry, you suddenly find yourself walking through Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming towards your watch tower where you are immediately introduced to Delilah over a walkie talkie. She is your “boss” and will give you objectives to complete as you play through the game. They start off simply enough, such as “check the phone lines” or “look into a pillar of smoke out in the forest” but will soon evolve into much, much more.

You and Delilah talk exclusively over the Walkie Talkies but you develop a kinship for each other as the game progresses, trading quips and sarcasm back and forth while keeping an eye on the forest. She asks you about your life and you two will develop a relationship based off of your conversations and reactions.

While the game is short (around four hours of actual play time), it keeps you intrigued by adding more and more elements to the overall puzzle of the story. The game relies heavily on the script and voice acting of the two main characters (yourself and Delilah) and is a fantastic game to play.

I really enjoyed the look of the game, the setting is beautiful and fun to explore. The map itself isn’t terribly large, and you do have the option of running so it doesn’t necessarily take forever to get around. That being said one of my only real frustrations about playing the game was that it can sometimes be hard to find where you’re supposed to go as the game doesn’t have any sort of mini map or GUI. This is meant to keep you immersed in the game, and you can easily pull out a map and compass, which you will need to do often.

There have actually been several websites or postings where people have created their own fan-made maps that you can print out while playing the game, one of which can found here on the game developer’s website

Mario 64 on Super Mario 3D All Stars: First Impression

I’ve been slowly working through the new Nintendo Switch release of the Mario 3D All Stars collection (which includes a Remaster of Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy) since its release last Friday and so far it’s been a walk down memory lane!

I’ve been able to complete most of the stars in the levels without having to consult any sort of guide, even though this is really the first time I’ve played this game since the days of the original Nintendo 64 release. Well, actually I played and completed the DS version, but that also added some things here and there so I don’t really consider that a true remaster. More of a remake.

Anyway, it’s been a blast to jump back into Peach’s castle walls and relive the nostalgia of running, jumping, climbing, swimming and backflipping my way to 120 stars and three Bowser defeats to complete the castle and release Peach from captivity!

That being said, I do have some notes:

Maybe it’s me or I am mis-remembering my original playthrough of the game, since I was in middle school at the time of the original release in the late 90’s… but it just feels like the Joycon controls aren’t always as quick to take inputs as the original N64 controller.

There will be times that I want to do a quick trick to jump up to a higher platform, so I will run and then immediately about-face while hitting jump, expecting Mario to side-flip up to where I want him to go, but instead he’ll just about face run then jump up regularly.

This also makes walking along thin platforms that are suspended high up above the ground more challenging as it seems like the joycon joystick wants to make Mario run when you want him to walk or even tip toe. So I fell more than once. Another time I noticed the joycon seemed a little overzealous in the movement was when I was aiming the canon. It’s hard to make small adjustments to the angle when your joycon thinks you want to move further than you do.

Other than some joycon issues, I’m enjoying playing through the original Mario 64 on the Switch! It’s nice to be able to go back and relive my experience playing through the game, exploring the castle and trying to remember where everything is without having to consult a guide!

I, like most others that have been talking about this game are hoping that the limited run of the 3D All Stars lays the groundwork for “new” titles to be released on the Nintendo Online apps alongside the existing catalogue of NES and SNES games. Is a N64 app in the works? I hope so!

Pokemon Go boils down my favorite part of the Pokemon games

I’ve been playing Pokemon Go since the day after it launched. Why the day after? Because when I and everyone else on the planet tried to download the app on launch day, the servers couldn’t handle the load and many had problems getting the app to download, let alone let them sign in or register. I was one of the unfortunate few that had to wait to start “Collecting Them All,” but once I got in, I excitedly started experiencing what would become my favorite iteration of the Pokemon franchise.

Now, I am a “gen-wunner” as Pokemon Red/Blue came out when I was in middle school. I had a subscription to Nintendo Power and it had teased this new gameboy game that was all about collecting, leveling, evolving and fighting these weird animals known as Pokemon.

I was hooked as soon as I heard about it. I collected all six of the Pokemon Power magazine inserts that were a strategy guide inside the back of that month’s Nintendo Power, and served as my guide through the Kanto Region. I knew EXACTLY what I needed to do to finish the game and beat the Elite Four for the first time.

Once I became the new Crowned champion of the Kanto region, I along with all of my friends of the Pokemon series began working on completing the Pokedex, battling and trading. It was amazing and a bit of nostalgia that I fondly look back on.

I dabbled in the Pokemon trading card game, and played a bit of Pokemon Pinball, Pokemon Stadium for the Nintendo 64, and Pokemon Gold. But nothing else seemed to match the fun I had working on Pokemon Blue.

While I enjoyed Pokemon Blue, I got maybe halfway or 1/3rd of the way through the original Gold Storyline, and having 251 Pokemon to catch in the updated dex seemed like a large undertaking for young me.

My classmates and I would have lunchtime battles and trade Pokemon, but I never really cared about whether I won or lost. My team was good enough to finish the game and the Elite Four, but I was constantly losing to my friends that had figured out the best movesets, stats and levels for their six pokemon, where as I was just happy to have level 100’s and a nearly 100% complete pokedex.

Fast forward to 2016 and Pokemon Go is the new hotness. For a brief time (the summer of 2016) you could go anywhere and find groups of people of all ages hanging out on street corners staring at their phones, charging cables attached and a backup battery in their back pocket. Everyone was OBSESSSED with catching Pokemon and you could just camp a Pokestop or make a small circuit of stops to refresh your Pokeball count and items. Walking wasn’t actually necessary back then, so it wasn’t uncommon to see people hanging out downtown for hours, regardless of time.

Of course I was obsessed with playing the game. I worked in a retail job at the time so I was able to stay out late hanging out with my friends playing PoGo. Someone would often but in and say “THERE’S A LAPRAS THE NEXT STREET OVER” and we’d all run over to get it before it disappeared.

The longer I played the game the more I realized I liked just catching Pokemon, and completing the dex more than anything else.

The gym update had come out, Shiny Pokemon were added to the game, PVP battles had been released and most recently Team Rocket had taken over stops, but I still found myself only wanting to have a 100% complete dex. I didn’t care about owning all the gyms. I didn’t care about being at the level cap (I’m about 2/3rds of the way to level 40 which is the level cap currently, and I’ve heard rumors that may change too). I didn’t care about beating Giovanni or the Rocket Grunts as much as I wanted to get their shadow pokemon.

All I really cared about was catching pokemon, going to Community Days and catching shinies. Well, and completing the research which would unlock special pokemon or more shinies.

So it got me to realize I love the Pokemon series, but I would rather “Catch Em All” than “become the very best, like no one ever was.”

So if you see me out and about playing pokemon: I’ll be your friend if I have open spots on my list, but I’m not going to want to 1v1 you bro.

Red Dead Redemption

I was able to score Red Dead Redemption during a Black Friday weekend sale for $35, excited for a game I had heard good things about but reluctantly giving Rockstar more of my hard-earned cash in order to play what I hoped wasn’t yet another “Rags to Riches” sandbox game that allowed me to kill people, earn money doing missions, buy property, and explore like every Grand Theft Auto game I have ever finished. It was fun in Vice City, but does it really need to be repeated in Liberty City (3 times by different characters who all seem to “Run” the city at almost the exact time without ever meeting?)

Well I was partially right, but once I started playing, I couldn’t stop until I finished both the game and the DLC “Undead Nightmare.” In this review, I will take a shot (get it? That’s some Old West humor for you… see? shot? No? Well then…) at covering the game and the DLC, and why you should give Rockstar one more chance for redemption. Red. Dead… Redemption.

The place is Southwestern America (and part of Mexico) in a fictitious area divided into three states: New Austin, Nuevo Paraiso, and West Elizabeth. The area is populated with Cowboys, Indians, Outlaws, and many more colorful characters. Buffalo still roam on the open Prairie and city skylines are distant rumors by the locals.

You play as John Marston, a former outlaw in a gang run by a man named Dutch van der Linde. Your wife and son have ben held hostage by government agents, who will only return them after the death of van der Linde’s gang leaders. John hunts down the gang and confronts them, only to be shot and left for dead until he is found by a rancher named Bonnie McFarlane, who takes him to a doctor.

After recovering, Bonnie starts you on your quest to seek revenge on the men who left you for dead. She gives you a horse and some money for completing start off misisons and sends you on your way…

Now I know after reading most of this, it doesn’t seem like the type of game that a lot of people would enjoy, especially since Rockstar is known for pretty much having one type of game, with different environments and very little difference in story. This one doesn’t stray too much from the tried and true Rockstar game development, but what’s fresh is the Spaghetti Western feel that you are immersed in while playing the game. Put simply it is Grand Theft Auto set in the Old West. But it’s more Vice City, and less GTA: IV.

One of my favorite mechanics of the game is the ability to go into “Dead Eye” mode. By pressing the Right Trigger, you slow down time, throw on a Sepia filter and gain the ability to aim your shots at specific parts of your target. This allows you to place as many shots as you have in your gun (or how much time you have earned for Dead Eye mode) and aim at a person’s hand (to shoot their pistol and disarm them) or their head (to kill) during a duel or shootout.

I liked that you were able to search for buried treasure by pulling out a paper map with interpreting hand-drawn clues to find treasure and finish challenges. The achievements you could earn for doing (sometimes mundane) activities that you only see in black and white Westerns were a nice touch. I laughed way too hard when I earned the “Dastardly” achievement by hog tying a random person, placing them on train tracks and waiting for the 4:15 to arrive on time.

I loved that Rockstar took their usual humor and odd characters and threw them into the Old West, having you run into a man selling snake oil, a curious man who dug up corpses, nuns in a Mexican Convent and so on. There was adult humor thrown in (as is expected in Rockstar games) and much ultra-violence.

I must say the scenery in the game is very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the different areas of the world that I was in, and just taking in the scenery. Though some of the curves in the game could’ve done with a little more anti-aliasing, but that’s a small complaint honestly.

I loved that the Wilhelm scream made it into the game. Shootouts become almost comical anyway when you’re blowing up whole carriages (wait for it, it’s later in the game), or mowing down whole armies of men with a hand-cranked mounted machine gun, or lock-on shooting (lather, rinse, repeat). But to have all of this chaos and gunfire going on and hear a random enemy fall to the ground with a Wilhelm Scream is just priceless.

I’m not big on gathering missions, so I pretty much skipped all of the flower-picking missions entirely, except where it was required for the storyline. Also, I thought this game was far easier to complete than some of the Grand Theft Auto games I had played previously. Maybe it was due to the fact that there was assisted aiming, Dead Eye Mode, or an almost unnecessary need for any other gun except for the various repeaters that you could collect. There were only a few missions that made me rage (which is unusual since the GTA games have a laundry list of missions that have to be repeated over and over due to failure).

I enjoyed the openness of the Wild West and the horseback transportation… for a few minutes. After that it became tedious and irritating, since your horse only has a set amount of Stamina. Once you gallop for a few seconds, the Stamina bar is completely drained and you have to wait for it to reset. This becomes irritating really fast when the next mission is on the other side of the state and there isn’t a Carriage (taxi) you can hire. You will be able to gallop faster and for a seemingly longer time on the dirt roads that criss-cross the state, but unfortunately they weave around so much it’s almost faster to trot in a straight line (as the crow flies) instead of gallop all the way south to turn and go north while following a road.

Finally I will mention that the game itself has 15+ hours of playtime. At least it did for me. That’s finishing the entire story and then going back and doing some of the side missions for the ‘cheevos and some of the other required activities for 100% completion.

The pros do vastly outweigh the cons, and this game is definitely worth a play. And this is coming from a person who loved Vice City, enjoyed GTA:3, loved San Andreas (most of the time) and decided to give up on the whole GTA series after playing less than half of GTA:IV. The best part? You don’t get telegraphs from your cousin asking to go to a floorshow every 30 minutes.

Naughty Bear

While you wouldn’t always associate Teddy Bears with brutal slaughters because of an anti-social bear not being invited to a party due to his namesake, this game tries to distance the traditional opinions of mild mannered bears in every way possible.

The game’s premise is quite simple: You are Naughty Bear, a friend to no one on an island of Teddy Bears. There’s a big bear fiesta and you’re not invited (obviously for the same reasons your name is Naughty Bear). You did try to make a present and play nice, but after being laughed at the only obvious answer is to go on a homicidal rampage through the different parts of the islands, slaughtering your neighbors along the way.

There are several ways that you can eliminate the ones that laughed at you: You can simply grab a weapon and go to town on them, sending stuffing flying all around. You can try to set a trap, and try to lure the unsuspecting bears out before you slice their head off (or bludgeon them to death with a club). You can also use various items in your surroundings for a contextual kill (for instance, you can freeze a person in a refrigerator, shove a phone through their head while they try to call for reinforcements, and so on). Finally there is an “Ultra-kill” where you scare a victim so badly that they end their own life with whatever weapon they happen to have.

You will use these ways of killing to go through 7 levels (each having their own unique challenges) of a mad rampage as you ruthlessly seek revenge on the other bears for laughing at you and calling you names, not ever letting you join in their reindeer (Teddy Bear) games.

I found the game both fun but frustrating.The fun part being able to figure out new ways to kill the bears while going through the challenges, watching the scared bears run away while tripping over their own two feet. I also enjoyed driving the bears insane, leading to them taking their own lives.

The ninja guards were funny at first… then they became frustrating because there was nowhere to hide from them. This makes certain challenges (such as the “don’t get touched” challenge especially difficult).

The challenges were interesting the first few tries, but after failing the same challenge over and over, I was ready to move on. Also by that time it had become more of a challenge to keep the camera from getting caught up on the edge of the map as I try to hide from my enemies in the woods. The camera would seem to spasm and want to look at something completely irrelevant to who I was hiding from, and that got annoying really fast.

While it doesn’t feel like a short game, doing the same challenges over and over does get a little tiresome. The storyline was good, but don’t expect too much out of the storyline of one bear’s revenge.

I wouldn’t rush right out to buy this one. Perhaps rent it first and test the waters.

Modern Warfare 2

Editor’s Note: Not sure of the original air date of this one exactly, so we’ll just say December of 2009 until I can get a better estimate.

Modern Warfare 2 starts off five years after the first game, and brings you in as U.S. Army Ranger Private Joseph Allen in Afghanistan, who under command of a few familiar faces from the previous game, helps try to stop the Ultranationalists in their new plot to execute Vladimir Makarov’s campaign of terrorism in Europe.

The game takes you to many different locations such as a Russian Air Base, a war-torn Virigina suburb, Washington D.C., Rio De Janiero, and may other places, as you help take down Makarov, who has taken the place of Zakhaev as the “head bad guy and enemy of the U.S.”

GAMEPLAY:

This game was very easy to jump into, since there was yet another training mission at the start of the game where you can run an obstacle course and learn the controls (which haven’t changed since the previous MW).

Anything that was thrown at you throughout the game was quickly explained and easy to grab onto, so there were no awkward spot where you have to wonder to yourself “WTF am I supposed to do here?”, which was a welcome development.

STORYLINE:

I had to look up the story for a refresher to write this review, not because I had forgotten what happened, but more so I could understand fully what was going on, as a lot gets thrown at you all at once.
The storyline play through is a good seven hours of playtime, which is pretty good for a first-person shooter in my opinion.

SPECIAL OPS SIDE MISSIONS:

A new feature to this version is a mode called “Special Ops”, where you can earn stars for playing through special missions on different difficulty levels. You are able to play online if you prefer, or offline by yourself.

There are twenty-three missions in all, each with “normal”, “hardened”, or “veteran” difficulties.

MULTIPLAYER:

The multiplayer for the PS3 was great and easy to jump into. You are given a few options to start as far as match types and classes (which can be customized as you level up in rank), but you can use one of the pre-made classes until you do.

If you aren’t used to playing FPS’s on consoles, you may have a little trouble leveling up since the game feels “stacked against you,” so tough it out and you will soon unlock better weapons, skills, and bonuses.

THE CONTROVERSIAL “NO RUSSIAN” LEVEL:

DO NOT SKIP THIS LEVEL!!! Though it is a whole mission based on a very graphic and hopefully not repeated in real life event, it is critical to the storyline if you play it.

Yes, I did play it and was made uncomfortable by it, but I felt that it was important that you play it to understand why things went down the way they did and also to get a better grasp on the situation.

Yes, you are asked at the very beginning of the game if you want to skip the controversial level, and you can pause and skip at any time if you feel uncomfortable, but I don’t think you should.

If you are bothered by it and end up skipping, then at least read about what happens and why it does on a website.

To quote Wikipedia on the subject: “In his review for Game Informer, Adam Biessener writes that while the level ‘makes the player a part of truly heinous acts’, he also notes that the ‘mission draws the morality of war and espionage into sharp focus in a way that simply shooting the bad guys cannot’. Biessner concludes that it is one of the more emotionally affected moments in the game, is ‘proud that our medium can address such weighty issues without resorting to adolescent black-and-white absolutes’.

God of War Collection

Editor’s note: I re-read this one as I was editing and preparing it for re-upload and it’s a bit cringey in places. I fixed a few things here and there but it’s kind of the same review as it originally aired.

This week’s review is going to be short but sweet, since I haven’t actually finished the game (and can’t give it a full review).

The God of War Collection came out for the PS3 a few weeks ago, and after waiting patiently for ANY retailer in my area to have a copy,* I was finally ready to have another go at killing a god.

GOD OF WAR 1

You play as Kratos, another Spartan Badass who decides that having his life spared in return for being a slave for the Greek gods isn’t really what he wanted in life.

Kratos embarks on an epic journey across many different areas (land, sea, fire and surprisingly no ice…) encountering Sony’s take on different beings in mythology such as Harpies, Medusa, Hydra, etc.  in order to retrieve Pandora’s Box to gain the power to kill Ares, the Greek god of War.

The game itself does offer quite a challenging story, including various battles, puzzles and the like, but never in a way that got boring or old.

It was never “find the blue key and jump over the pit three times to locate the red door after completing a short puzzle for the fourteenth-frickin time,” but more of a “kill EVERYTHING that gets in your way, solve a puzzle that shouldn’t take too long and don’t forget to CHECK EVERYWHERE for hidden chests and power-ups.

At the time of this writing I have just descended into the “depths of Hades” (which I’m pretty sure was the PERSON that lived in the Underworld and kept the dead, not the place itself)…

Well skin me alive and call me Shirley, I was wrong: HADES: (from Greek ᾍδης, Hadēs, originally Ἅιδης, Haidēs or Άΐδης, Aidēs, meaning ‘the unseen’) refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld.

Hades in Homer referred just to the god; the genitive ᾍδου, Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: ‘[the house/dominion] of Hades. Eventually, the nominative, too, came to designate the abode of the dead.”

Thanks Wikipedia, hopefully teacher won’t ask me to cite my sources as they think using you is… well not good.

Anyway, back to the thought I left: As of now I am nearing the end of the game (seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel if you will) and can safely tell you that playing this game on the PS3 is a good idea, since it has a great story (if you didn’t already know from playing on the PS2) and made the transition to the “current gen” with little problem.

I did think some parts had a little “lag” between when I tried to execute a finishing combo to when (or if) it happened, but I think that animation issue was in the original game as well…

Also fans of the original game remember the quick-time events that usually gave you a more “brutal” execution and more souls (in handy orb form) to power up your weapons and abilities. Yes, it’s all still here.

People new to the game have no idea what I’m talking about, so here’s a crash course: In the original game you had the ability to execute your enemy by completing a quick-time event after their health got to a certain level. Once you initiated the event by pressing the circle button, you would have a random combination of either buttons (or directions on the left joystick) you had to mimic. Once you successfully completed the quick-time event, Kratos would either stab an enemy with their own weapon, rip off their wings and curb-stomp them (in the case of the Harpies) or just rip their effin’ head off (Medusa, I’m lookin at you. Wait, no I’m not). Then you would get red orbs and sometimes some magic or health for your troubles.  So enjoy!

Also new to the PS3 version is trophies (and I don’t know about you, but I’m a whore for trophies…. mmm trophies…) and also as some may already know a graphics update so it runs in HD.

The graphics update is great and all for those that care about how pretty a game is, but I would rather have a playable game with a good story versus something that was a polished turd, but hey, to each their own.

Oh and PS: you can get a trophy for playing the little “mini-game” after defeating the Hydra… called “Rockin’ The Boat”

Infamous

There have been few games out on the PS3 that I have seen and immediately said, “I must play that.” Infamous was one of those games. As soon as I saw the demo for it, I was hooked. Playing through solidified my first impression, and I soon had a brand- new copy in my grubby little hands.

Upon first play of the demo I realized that this would be a game that would be great, and the sandbox style of the game kept it interesting. Instead of forcing a linear path, you were able to pick what mission to do next, where to go, what side mission unlock you wanted to find and even the karma level you wanted to be at.

You play as Cole Mcgrath, a messenger who wakes up to find himself at ground zero of a large explosion that mysteriously took place in the middle of a crowded city. After you arise and start to flee, the first thing you will notice is that the bustling city is now reduced to what looks like a war zone.

You are then informed through a cleverly stylized “cut scene” that the explosion turned the city to ruin and chaos while Cole has earned new powers.

Using only these new powers, it is up to you to defend the city and destroy the villains… or become one yourself.

What really captivated me about this game was that even though it seemed like it was building off of older game ideas, it was still a fresh and new video game.

I know there have been games that relied on a “good choice / bad choice” system, but I haven’t seen one that made it such an integral part of the game.

From the first time the game pauses and gives you the choice to be good or bad, you are able to change your karma based on your actions.

Heal a person who is on the ground dying, and it gives you good karma xp.

Drain a bad guy to take their health, get bad xp.

Either way, you go through the game gaining xp by playing missions, helping people, and killing bad guys. The xp is used to buy upgrades to your unlocked electrical super powers.

Your karma also affects how the citizens of the city view you, by applauding and taking pictures when you have good karma and throwing things at you when you have bad karma.

Also new is that you don’t have to search for a restaurant, food vendor, or hospital to heal (I’m lookin’ at you GTA: IV). Since you’re Electricity Man, you can pretty much heal anywhere there is an electrical source (granted, you’ve turned the power back on for that area), even using people to replenish your health (if you choose to go down the “dark side”).

The game is also fun in that you can run around like an electrified Spider Man and “blow things up,” which was actually one of the main ideas the developers tried to center around, contrasting with their previous endeavor (the stealth-based game Sly Cooper). You can grind along power lines shooting bolts of electricity at guys who want you dead, and even fling them off of a tall building by shooting a shock wave in their direction (one of the the more satisfying attacks of the game, in my opinion).

I always enjoyed battling the enemies and finding new ways to destroy them using environmental elements to help out, such as blowing up a generator or oddly-placed gallon of gas, or throwing an electrical grenade and blowing up a car around three bad guys.

This is definitely a game that I will be re-playing, as I am already planning on playing again, taking the alternate karma route (I chose the utilitarian “Good” karma path for my first play-through).