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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Metagame (Unboxing)



Dave quickly unboxes the Metagame by Local No. 12!  The Metagame is a card game where you argue and debate about video games.  You can purchase your own copy of the Metagame at http://www.metaga.me



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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Xbox Live Starter Kit – Unboxing and Quick Review




Dave just got the Xbox Live Starter Kit, watch him fumble opening the box and clipping the Chatpad on!  Xbox Live Starter Kit includes Chatpad, Craptastic Headset, 400 Microsoft Points, and a full year of Xbox Live Gold.

If you'd like to also purchase this from Amazon.com follow this link!  -
http://www.amazon.com/Xbox-LIVE-Month-Gold-Starter-360/dp/B004CVRAFQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323866501&sr=8-1



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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Skyview Temple Boss Battle



Watch Dave suck at playing the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword!  This is the first boss battle of the game, Link vs. Ghirahim in Skyview Temple.  Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is available now for Nintendo Wii!



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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Gameplay





Kaysplash and Dave check out the latest edition to the Legend of Zelda franchise - Skyward Sword.  Unfortunately the game takes a while to start up so there is no dungeon gameplay.  Hopefully we'll have dungeon play throughs in the near future.  Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is available now for Nintendo Wii!



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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – Altair Memories



Dave checks out the first Altair memory of Assassin's Creed: Revelations entitled "The Mentor's Keeper." This memory is unlocked after retrieving the first of five Masyaf keys.




Dave checks out the second Altair memory of Assassin's Creed: Revelations entitled "The Mentor's Wake." This memory is unlocked after retrieving the second of five Masyaf keys.




Dave checks out the third Altair memory of Assassin's Creed: Revelations entitled "A New Regime." This memory is unlocked after retrieving the third of five Masyaf keys.




Dave checks out the fourth Altair memory of Assassin's Creed: Revelations entitled "The Mentor's Return." This memory is unlocked after retrieving the fourth of five Masyaf keys.




Dave checks out the fifth Altair memory of Assassin's Creed: Revelations entitled "Passing The Torch." This memory is unlocked after retrieving the fifth and final Masyaf key.




***SPOILER ALERT*** This video contains the final sequence of Assassins Creed: Revelations.
Dave checks out Sequence 9 of Assassin's Creed: Revelations which contains the sixth Altair memory entitled "Lost Legacy," as well as the final Ezio memories "A Homecoming" and "The Message." These are the last memories of the game, but this video does NOT include the very end of the game due to the inability to replay the finale, sorry.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations is available now for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3!



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Saint’s Row The Third – Gameplay





 Lipari schools Dave on Saint's Row The Third, and Dave thinks he's watching a wrestling game! Saint's Row The Third is available now for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3!



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Halo: Combat Evolved – Anniversary Campaign and Multiplayer



 ***We realize we suck! *** Dave and Lipari check out the second level of Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary. We know Dave sucks, you don't have to tell us!


 

Dave and Lipari continue showing how terrible they are at playing Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary by demonstrating the multiplayer. New anniversary maps are featured in both Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary and Halo: Reach!

Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary is available now for Xbox 360.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Campaign Gameplay - Chapter 9



***Warning, this video contains gameplay from 43% into the game***

Dave and Mahervin Slick check out Uncharted 3's single player campaign. Keep in mind, Playstation 3 is not our main platform, and we haven't played Uncharted 1 or 2.



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Friday, October 28, 2011

Battlefield 3 Campaign Gameplay



Lipari and Dave check out some of Battlefield 3's campaign. Battlefield 3 is available now for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC!



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Kirby's Return To Dreamland Gameplay



Dave and Lipari play some early levels of Kirby's Return to Dreamland. Kirby's Return to Dreamland is available now for Nintendo Wii!



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Friday, October 21, 2011

Batman: Arkham City Gameplay Preview





Dave and Mahervin Slick play an early level of Batman: Arkham City! Batman: Arkham City is now available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.



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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spider-Man: Edge of Time





Dave and Lipari check out the newest Spider-Man game "Edge of Time." Spider-Man: Edge of Time is available now for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, 3DS, and DS!



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Friday, September 16, 2011

Xwerx XtendPlay Review for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3



Dave and Mondo review the XtendPlay by Xwerx for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3! This is a newer product with some flaws, but we do recommend the Xbox 360 version. We look forward to reviewing more products from Xwerx in the future!

***This was put together as best as we could with what little equipment we have... aka an iPhone and iMovie***



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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dead Island Gameplay




Mondo and Dave kill some zombies in Techlands newest release "Dead Island." Dead Island is available now on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3!



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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Five Reasons to Ditch Gamestop for Amazon

Since Gamestop has been receiving an extraordinarily bad reputation for a while now, the Deus Ex situation not helping, we here at 4HGames thought you’d be interested in finding a great alternative to your gaming needs. Here are five reasons to ditch Gamestop for Amazon.com, keep in mind that we have no affiliation with either Gamestop or Amazon.com



#5 Amazon does not charge sales tax.

With the economy in the toilet, how amazing is it to find a place where a $60 video game is actually $60? Amazon is so against sales tax, they are fighting to keep their no sales tax record in California. It’s always awesome not having to pay a few dollars extra.



#4 Release day delivery is $1.

Worried that ordering your game will leave you trailing compared to your friends who buy from Gamestop? Use Amazons release day delivery on most big title games and have your game delivered the day it’s released. After saving those extra dollars from the sales tax, use it for amazons $.99 release day shipping.



#3 Know exactly how much you’ll get for your trade in’s.

Amazon tells you up front exactly how much you will get for every game that you trade in to them, unlike Gamestop where you need to bring the games in only to quickly be disappointed when you see that you’ll only be getting a few dollars. Our experiences have even shown that Amazon is capable of giving better trade in values than Gamestop!



#2 Use your trade in money for things other than games.

Tired of being stuck with using your Gamestop trade in money ONLY to buy games and game accessories? Use Amazons trade in program and use that cash to buy ANYTHING shipped from Amazon. This makes it at least feel a little more like getting actual money for your trade ins.



#1 Get money for spending money

What we love most about pre-ordering games from Amazon is, many times they will give you $5, $10, or even up to $20 towards your next game purchase, just for pre ordering with them. On top of getting extra cash towards another game, you are always guaranteed to get your pre-order bonuses, no more of Gamestops “first come first serve” policy. If Amazon doesn’t follow through on their pre-order bonuses, look forward to receiving some Amazon credit, ain’t nothing wrong with that!


By David Tadros



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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Countdown to Gears of War 3!: Week Two







Watch the 4H Crew play some rounds of Gears of War 2's Insanity Horde Mode as we count down to the release of Gears of War 3! Gears of War 3 will be available exclusively for Xbox 360 September 20, 2011.



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Friday, August 26, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - "Back in the Saddle" Gameplay



Mahervin Slick, Dave Tadros, and Lipari take a look at an early level from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is now available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.



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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Countdown to Gears of War 3!: Week One

Round 1


Round 2


Round 3


Join the 4H Crew in some Gears of War 2 multiplayer as we count down to the release of Gears of War 3! Gears of War 3 will be available exclusively for Xbox 360 September 20, 2011.



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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Demo Gameplay






Mahervin Slick, Dave Tadros, and Andy Nighthorse take a look at the Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine demo!  Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 6, 2011!


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NHL 12 Demo Gameplay





The EA Sports Hockey League's (EASHL) own 'The Four Horseman' or simply '4H' - the team that amassed a record of 736 (wins) - 177 (regulation losses) - 61 (overtime losses) in NHL 11 - take a look at the demo for NHL 12 ... and get their butts handed to them by the A.I. on Superstar difficulty. Mahervin Slick (center, red), Andy Nighthorse (right wing, blue), Lipari (left defense, green), Christopher Slick (right defense, yellow), and Dave Tadros (commentary), take a look at the new NHL 12 Demo! NHL 12 will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 13, 2011!


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Bodycount Demo Gameplay






Mahervin Slick checks out Bodycount, while Dave and Lipari wish they were never born! Bodycount will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on August 30, 2011!


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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

THROWBACK - Quick Review: Castle Crashers

Gameplay – 9.5

Castle Crashers is your classic side-scrolling beat-em-up arcade game. The game is simple & fun, offering some RPG elements such as leveling up character abilities (strength, magic, defense, & agility). At the start of the game you are required to select one of four similarly-looking characters; there is the blue, red, green, & orange knight. Each knight comes with his own unique blend of magic, such as the blue knight’s ice and the red knight’s lightning. There are also additional characters that, once unlocked, can be used to go back and replay the game with. Controls are straight forward with buttons for weak & strong attacks, jumping, and magic. Combo attacks will also become available as your character levels up and can be learned via on-screen prompts that appear automatically once certain levels are reached. There are different weapons you can obtain that will either boost or reduce your skills depending on type, i.e. a staff will increase your magic but lower your defense. Animal companions are also introduced from the get-go. Ranging from a ram that will attack enemies to a seahorse that will help you move through water faster, the animal companions add a unique element to the game.



Story – 8.5
Each of the King’s four daughters are kidnapped and you are appointed to rescue them. That’s … about … it. Despite the typically weak beat-em-up story, the journey to rescue the daughters is entertaining to say the least. You will encounter a giant bat, animals defecating in fear, and a knight that plays a bomb-shooting organ to name a few of the more amusing moments. Levels vary often enough to stay interesting; one level you will be in the water fighting and the next you may find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a chase sequence.

Game Modes/Presentation – 8.0
There are 3 game modes within Castle Crashers. Story mode, as stated above, follows you on your quest to save the King’s kidnapped daughters. ”All You Can Quaff” is a button-mashing mini-game pitting characters against one another in order to see who can eat the most food. Unless you enjoy mashing buttons & want an achievement, there is not much of a point to this mode. Last but not least is Arena mode in which the characters attempt to survive through several waves of enemies.

Graphics – 8.5
Castle Crashers has a look of its own thanks to its use of unique cartoon graphics. The colors are vibrant and the game runs very smoothly. My only gripe with the graphics is that during spell-casting, specifically during fire spells, the screen becomes very cluttered and it can be difficult to see anything. Aside from that, the game is visually appealing.

Sound – 9.0
I was not expecting much in the sound department of Castle Crashers seeing as how it is an Xbox Live Aracde title but I was surprised to discover an awesome soundtrack that has some epic tracks starting right at the main menu. The music is well orchestrated and goes great with the game.

Online – 8.5
All game modes are available both locally and online. There are no added features when venturing into the online world, only the ability to play with or against your friends from the comfort of your own home. I did not experience any issues with lag during my time playing online.

Final Score - 9.0

Available via the Xbox Live Marketplace, Castle Crashers is a worthy download for any fan that enjoys old school beat-em-up classics such as the ‘Streets of Rage’ series.


Reviewed by Andy Nighthorse




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Madden NFL 12 Demo







Mahervin Slick and Lipari face off in the new Madden NFL 12 Demo while Dave watches in horror! Madden NFL 12 will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PSP and PlayStation 2 on August 30, 2011.


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Monday, August 8, 2011

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet Gameplay








Dave and Mondo check out the newest edition to the 2011 Summer of Arcade - Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet!  Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is now on sale only on Xbox Live for 1200 MS Points!



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Friday, August 5, 2011

Quick Review: Bastion

Gameplay - 8.5

Supergiant games’ releases their debut title “Bastion,” a story driven action RPG adventure available as part of XBL’s 2011 “Summer of Arcade.” In Bastion you take control of a post apocalyptic survivor known only as “The Kid.” As you trudge through the remains of Caelondia you’ll slowly piece together an arsenal of both melee and projectile combat weapons. After acquiring these tools of the trade you’re able to hack, slash, and shoot a path through anything standing in your way. Doing so will net you experience points as well as fragments which act as currency. You can use the fragments to purchase materials to upgrade your weapons at an “Forge,” or buy various perk granting spirits available at the “Lost and Found.” Your main purpose in all of this is to locate the “Cores” and “Shards” which enable you to re-build and upgrade the safe haven known as “Bastion.” Here you are able to erect your own distillery, armory, forge, and a variety of other buildings that can be put to use in your quest for survival. You will also have the option to evoke the wrath of one of the worlds many deities from within the “Shrine.” This will increase a enemy attributes, or grant them special perks that raise the game’s difficulty level. This doesn’t go without merit though as you will receive more experience points and fragments for defeating enemies than normally. It’s a smart feature that takes away the mundane task of navigating menus and interjects difficulty customization into the story. The gameplay as a whole is your typical hack and slash action/adventure RPG affair. However, it’s fast paced action and bevy of enemies and obstacles render the repetitive “beat-em-up” elements fresh and new every time you play. Bastion is certainly an enjoyable experience that forces your hand in the strategy department, but also keeps button mashers happy.

Story – 9.0

Bastion’s story element is unique, in that it’s being told as you progress further into the game. To an extent, what you do shapes the tale. It’s unique storytelling quality comes in the form of an in game narrator not bound exclusively to cut scenes. He narrates everything from getting up and walking around to killing enemies and destroying scenery. Despite suspicions that consistent narration might become annoying, players will find that it was done within reason. The person telling the story, who is little more then a voice from the start, becomes a character the kid interacts with further down the line. His character eventually identifies himself as Rucks and his spoken account of the kid’s adventure evolves as you move forward. More of the how and why is revealed by Rucks with the retrieval of each core and the discovery of wary survivors not taken by the calamity. The stories overall tone of sadness and regret is especially shown through with character backstories. This is central to the games success and embellishes the already solid gameplay.


Game Modes/Presentation – 8.5

Bastion boasts a very lush and colorful display showcasing stunning landscapes in the wake of destruction, flowing action sequences, and a melting pot of unique enemies. With that said, Bastion retains the feel of an old-school action RPG while maintaining an impressive environment. However, it does lack a separate mini game mode, but that’s neither here nor there because the developers seamlessly incorporate the mini game within the story. Bastions mini-game manifests itself in the form of “Proving Grounds” which require you to engage in various challenges for each weapon acquired. Eleven Proving Ground mini games are scattered throughout the world, each testing you in different ways, for example, one requires you to obtain a specific score with your pistol against stationary targets in a timely manner, another tests your ability to crush every inanimate object in sight with your hammer, each Proving Ground plays to the strengths of the specific weapon.. Your success rate determines if you will unlock one, two, or all three of the possible rewards.


Graphics – 8.5

Most graphics today are on point with the advancement of technology, unless your talking about “Duke Nukem: Forever. Bastion feels like playing a comic book painted on canvas, without any annoying glitches or slow loading screens. It’s a smooth ride from start to finish.


Sound - 8.5

In keeping up with it’s solid graphics, Bastion is also proficient in the sound department. Melee and ranged weapon attacks, gulping down health potions, grunts and dialogue (executed mostly by Rucks the narrator) are all covered here. What’s more though, the game’s music is an attractive element, making the frenzy of action even more fun and exciting then it would be with just a wall of sound.


Online - N/A


Final Score: 9.0

Every year that XBL cranks out “Summer of Arcade” titles, there is always one game that stands above the rest. This years diamond in the rough is “Bastion” hands down. It takes repetitive RPG elements and keeps it interesting with difficulty customization and multiple enemies that make you think before rushing blindly into battle. It’s graphics and sound are also admirable for a downloadable title. If anything though, you should play this game for it’s story. It allows you to create your own tale through cause and effect which will then be narrated as if you handed Rucks the script yourself. One of the few games that’s worth 1200 Microsoft points.


Reviewed by Mondo



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Monday, August 1, 2011

Quick Review: From Dust

Gameplay - 7.5
Ubisoft takes a crack at attempting to revive the “God-game” genre with it’s latest XBL release “From Dust.” In From Dust you play as a God-like figure, “The Breath,” that must assist a tribe in exploring new areas of a desolate world and populating it. As “The Breath” you are exactly that, an invisible figure that can manipulate most of the environments of the world. On screen “The Breath” is presented as a cursor, which can be moved over sand, water, and lava with the ability to absorb and drop the aforementioned substances anywhere on the map. If there is a river that your tribe must cross, for example, you may build a bridge made out of lava or sand in order to allow safe passage. The only major complaint with this style of gameplay is, many times you will be stuck in a dire situation where time is of the essence, you build a bridge to have your tribe cross to a different section of the map and, low and behold, you’re one pixel of lava off! Adding to the lava makes the bridge taller so they still can’t move across it, and there is no way to take the lava away. So your tribe dies - time to start over. Throughout the game your tribe will gain memories. Collecting all the memories will not only give you a history of your tribe but you will also be rewarded with an achievement. Adding sand close to your tribes will add grasslands that spread to every piece of sand on the map as long as they are connected. Filling half of the map and the entire map with greenery will reward more tribe memories but will also put your tribes in danger of wild fires if a volcano is near by. Each totem pole you find will create village on the map, making multitasking a must. The tribe is also very music oriented and finding “knowledge of…” stones will teach the tribe compositions to hold off natural disasters such as tsunamis and wildfires. Overall, the game play is tedious at points, but overall enjoyable.

Story – 5.0
Sadly, From Dust is lacking any kind of compelling story. The tribe is a musically oriented tribe that worships “The Breath,” whom you control, in hopes of populating the lands and controlling the various elements. The idea is pretty straightforward, and extremely repetitive. The game is so repetitive that at the conclusion of each stage the same cut scene replays again, and again, just in case you missed it the first time. Worst of all a narrator speaks in an unknown language that is translated into English subtitles, why? The narrator reveals that the tribe is following the path of their ancestors who have left totems and stones of power throughout the land. What happened to the ancestors, and how they gained these powers is very unclear and you will quickly find yourself ignoring the story all together.

Game Modes/Presentation – 7.5
Aside from the story mode, From Dust offers up challenge modes with a variety of different environmental disasters that you must work around while being timed. This adds to the game-time but is not compelling enough to play more than a few times. Unless you completely loved the story mode, this may be a mode that is skipped all together.

Graphics – 8.5
The environments of From Dust are beautiful and the sand, water, and lava movements all look life-like. It’s graphical downfall is when the map is filled with activity. The game will continue to clip and chop leaving you worried of the possibility of the game freezing and losing all your current progress.

Sound - 6.0
Not much to say in the sound department, airy breezes, rushing water, and erupting volcano fill the sound scape with an occasional tribal beat. I can see how the developers wanted to be realistic, but there is a fine line between realism and boredom.

Online - N/A

Final Score: 7.0
For a downloadable title at a value of on $15, From Dust is worth a shot, but is definitely not the “must have” title of this Summer of Arcade.


Reviewed by David Tadros



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Saturday, July 30, 2011

From Dust Gameplay





Mondo joins Dave for a level of one of the newest editions to Summer of Arcade - From Dust! From Dust is now on sale only on Xbox Live for 1200 MS Points!


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Bastion Gameplay






Mondo schools Dave on one of the newest editions to Summer of Arcade - Bastion! Bastion is now on sale only on Xbox Live for 1200 MS Points!


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Monday, July 25, 2011

What We're Looking Forward To In NHL 12

Be a Pro mode returns in NHL 12 with a host of new features. In this installment, a key feature is to earn your ice time. Your coach will assign tasks for every shift that you play to help the team out. The more tasks that you complete the more trust you will earn from your coach which will lead to additional ice team. Advance from a 4th liner playing 5 minutes a game to a 1st liner playing 17-20 minutes a game.

Ever dream of having an entire Junior’s career before being your career as an NHLer? In NHL 12, you will be able to do just that. In prior years, you were only offered an option to play in the Memorial Cup Playoffs, however in NHL 12 you will be able to play through an entire 4 year CHL career before being placed in the NHL Entry Draft. Play well and rise through the rankings in hopes of being drafted #1 in the NHL.
Monday, July 25, 2011
By Andy Nighthorse

Be A Pro - Revamped
Be a Pro mode returns in NHL 12 with a host of new features. In this installment, a key feature is to earn your ice time. Your coach will assign tasks for every shift that you play to help the team out. The more tasks that you complete the more trust you will earn from your coach which will lead to additional ice team. Advance from a 4th liner playing 5 minutes a game to a 1st liner playing 17-20 minutes a game.
Ever dream of having an entire Junior’s career before being your career as an NHLer? In NHL 12, you will be able to do just that. In prior years, you were only offered an option to play in the Memorial Cup Playoffs, however in NHL 12 you will be able to play through an entire 4 year CHL career before being placed in the NHL Entry Draft. Play well and rise through the rankings in hopes of being drafted #1 in the NHL.



New this year is “Anticipation A.I.” No longer will players wait until an action occurs before reacting on the ice. For example, when a puck is going to be retrieved easily by a defenseman, a superstar like Alexander Ovechkin will begin his turn up ice to get in a lane for a breakout pass. Previously, only would the actual retrieval of the puck from the defenseman then trigger Ovechkin to turn and head up ice. This will lead to overall smoother gameplay and a more realistic hockey experience.

Anticipation A.I.



NHL 12 Full Contacts Physics Engine
Improving upon NHL 11’s physics system is this year’s full contact physics engine. Prepare for players to be checked through the glass, hit into the benches, goalies knocked over, and nets knocked off their moorings. Size and strength will be major factors in a lot of these interactions and bigger, stronger players will be able to dominate other smaller opponents in the physical game. Puck physics have also improved which will create a more realistic experience.


Dynamic Goalies

For the first time this year, goalies will be live just as players. Goalies can now be knocked over and will react with players on the ice such as battling through screens to make saves. How many times as a goalie have you wanted to thrown down like an enforcer? Prepare for battle this year as goalie verse goalie and goalie verse player fights have been introduced.
Signature Traits
In addition to Anticipation A.I., players will also play as their real life counter parts. Ranging from dump & chase grinders to one time specialists to net agitators, prepare for the most realistic experience playing with or against your favorite players. Tomas Holmstrom will crowd the crease, Steven Stamkos will go down to one knee on one-timers, and the Sedin’s will play a cycle game to set up scoring chances. Goalie personalities will also be noticeable with goalies such as Tim Thomas & Martin Brodeur coming out of the crease to play the angles while more conservative goalies like Henrik Lundqvist will play further back in the net and rely on reaction speed.
New Presentation/ Action Tracker

Presentation has been overhauled in NHL 12 and the new Action Tracker is a major integration. Recording everything from where you shoot to what your face off percentage is in your defensive zone, the new Action Tracker has got you covered. Replay any moment from the game by accessing this feature & reliving a quick clip of the moment.
Winter Classic

The NHL Winter Classic is finally here. Experience the thrill one of the most exciting games of the year by participating in the Winter Classic.



By Andy Nighthorse



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Quick Review: Fallout: New Vegas DLC - Old World Blues

Gameplay - 9.0
Old World Blues brings some new elements to the table such as the Sneaking suit and the emitter gun, but for the most part it is the same gameplay found in Fallout: New Vegas - which isn’t a bad thing! Players will find themselves scavenging, picking locks, hacking computers, and fighting a few new enemies unique to the Big MT. There are some new simulation type activities that require you to use some of the equipment found for your mission, but nothing as tedious as the radio collars found in the Dead Money DLC. You will also be attacked by some new enemies, such as skeletons in space suits, robotic scorpions, cybernetic dogs, and more. If you explore enough of the Big MT you may even find some interesting holotapes which give some insight on the Big MT as well as it’s aggressive inhabitants.

Story – 9.0
Old World Blues begins much like most Fallout DLCs of the past, a radio transmission is intercepted, the courier finds the source location, and something crazy happens to only the courier while the companions AIs get away without a scratch. This time the courier is led to a creepy drive-in theater where, at 12 o’clock each night, a movie of an eyeball plays on its screen. Of course the courier ends up tinkering with something that shouldn’t have been tinkered with and ends up passing out, and waking up in a new area - The Big MT. Here the courier is surrounded by robots unlike any others in the Mojave. These robots make up “The Think Tank” and are former scientists of the Big MT that have long ago replaced their bodies with SCIENCE! Unfortunately, these robot scientists have also taken the liberty to replace some of the couriers body parts with mechanics as well, one such body part being the brain. Unfortunately the couriers brain has been stolen by an evil robot scientist, Dr. Mobius! This places the courier in the middle of a war between The Think Tank and Dr. Mobious. To retrieve the brain the courier needs to explore the Big MTs many scientific labs to collect three pieces of equipment, a sneaking suit with an AI built in, an antenna, and a emitter gun, to take down Dr. Mobious, get his brain back, and have the Think Tank re-attach it to his body. Though the story of this DLC slightly resembles the helplessness start of Dead Money, it is definitely fun, full of twists, and contains more character development which the first two Fallout: New Vegas DLCs were lacking in. The developers really chose a great style of story telling that reminiscences films from Sci-Fi’s beginning.

Game Modes/Presentation - 9.5
Big MT is, well, BIG. Players will find many new areas to explore for hours of Fallout gameplay. Though most of these areas are scientific labs. If you loved the environments of Fallout: New Vegas, you will not be disappointed. The story is presented brilliantly as well with robots and appliances actually talking and giving side quests that add, not only more game-time but also, backstories for each individual character.

Graphics – 7.0
As expected from a DLC, the graphics of Old World Blues are entirely working off the engine already put in place in Fallout: New Vegas, though I am extremely happy to say that the game did run smoothly with no real clipping or glitches.

Sound - 9.0
Though most of the sound space of the Fallout universe is wind blowing through the wastes, one can not ignore the voice acting for Old World Blues which is nothing short of fantastic. Most of the characters you interact with are robots, but their voices definitely breath life into their mechanical bodies. Each robot has their own personality and the comical way they interact with the courier, and each other, is very entertaining.

Online - N/A

Final Score: 9.0
Old World Blues is definitely worth the $10 for hours of added fun in the wastes.



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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quick Review: NCAA Football 12'

Gameplay - 9.0
The controls for NCAA Football 12 are pretty much exactly the same as in the previous titles, which isn't a bad thing.  The controls are simple and intuitive and should be able to be picked up easily by newcomers to the series.  Suction tackling is a thing of the past which is a big step forward.  Blocking, running, tackling, receiving, etc all look and feel great.  The defensive A.I. is a lot more competent this year and on higher difficulties can be a real pain - but this is a good thing; I haven't had one game yet where I won 74-0.  The offensive A.I., however, makes some questionable decisions from time to time.  I've seen multiple instances where quarterbacks throw the ball away while under minimal to no pressure and I've had coaches in Road to Glory call running plays while we were down by a touchdown in our own territory with no timeouts left and less than a minute remaining.  These minor issues aside, the overall gameplay is superb.

Game Modes/Presentation - 9.0
There is no shortage of things to do in NCAA Football 12, although most are just different ways of enjoying the core football gameplay (obviously).  Coach Mode, which lets you choose which plays the team of your choice will run while you watch the end result, is fun but would be better if you could coach against a friend instead of the A.I.  The two main returning modes are pretty much the same as in the past but offer some new additions.  Dynasty introduces the new Coaching Carousel which allows you to step in as an offensive or defensive coordinator and control one side of the game in hopes of eventually landing a job as a head coach.  Road to Glory now allows you to play both sides of the field during an entire high school season while you get recruited separately based on your performance of both.  There is definitely fun to be had regardless of which mode(s) you choose to play.  

NCAA really stepped up the presentation this year by incorporating the unique, real-life pre-game traditions and entrances for certain teams.  The pre-game presentations for Bowl Games are also well done, which is more than I can say about the post-game celebrations.  The replays are awesome at first but quickly become annoying since they pretty much pop up after every first down.

Graphics - 8.5
The graphics look great this year and especially shine through in the replays, where the 'broadcast camera' captures the character models and new 3-D grass perfectly.  Crowds & background objects (such as trees), however, seem static and lifeless.  The crowd can be heard cheering and chanting but almost appear to be standing motionless pre-snap.    

Sound - 8.0
Kirk Herbstreit and Brad Nessler are back in the booth again and although the commentary feels stale and outdated they get the job done.  The sounds of the cheering from the crowd are pretty good but not excellent.  The on-the-field sounds have little variation and most hits, regardless of how hard, sound the same. 

Online - 7.5*
EA has, for the umpteenth time, released a video game with mode-crippling bugs & issues still prevalent.  We have been forced to abandon multiple Online Dynasties due to freezing that has prevented us from advancing.  The first few nights also saw us literally waiting in line to upload our dynasty information to the server.  EA has acknowledged the issue and confirmed they are working on fixing it.  The hours spent during which we were actually able to play the online dynasty were enjoyable; importing a created team and duking it out with your friend and his/her created team is a load of fun, as is battling against each other and cpu-controlled teams for prospects.  Being able to create & save up to five highlights per game for your friends to see is also a nice touch.  There was noticeable lag (mainly during kickoffs, punts, and field goals) but it varied from game to game.  The Online Dynasty is infinitely more intriguing than the Madden counterpart, which EA recently confirmed has not been touched in Madden 12 and will still lack trade & free-agent logic.  If the sole reason for buying either one is to play in an online dynasty with your buddies than you may want to pick up NCAA 12.  Outside of Online Dynasty you can also play both ranked and unranked matches against other members of the online community.    

Final Score:  8.5

*Please note that this score was given during a time when the developer acknowledged they were at work on correcting some of the issues with the online play modes.  This score may be revisited and changed accordingly once all issues have been ironed out.


By Mahervin Slick



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Monday, July 18, 2011

Catherine Demo Gameplay





Mahervin Slick joins Dave for a play through of the Catherine demo! Catherine will be released on July 26, 2011 for PS3 and Xbox 360!


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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Multiplayer Beta



Dave and Mondo take a look at the new Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Multiplayer Beta! Beta free for all and running until July 17, 2011!


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Review: Nyko Intercooler STS for Xbox 360s



Dave takes a look at the Nyko intercooler STS for the Xbox 360s!


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Friday, July 1, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Video Games Are a Beneficial Art Form

By David Tadros

For years a debate has been brewing in several state court systems on whether video games should be regulated, starting with a law restricting the sales of violent video games to minors.  These propositions for regulation have always been deemed unconstitutional and have always been thrown out of court, until recently when California decided to escalate this concern to the United States Supreme Court.  At first glance, this would truly seem as though it would be a great thing.  Who would want minors to play violent video games?  The concern here is deeper than the regulation of video games; it would mark as our nation’s first regulation of an art form.  This argument has left the Supreme Court with the some concerns such as; what is art?  What sets video games apart from movies, books, and music?  What values do video games offer to society?  Why should video games continue to be protected?
When debating if video games are a legitimate art form one must first consider what “art” is – imaginative and creative expression.  By general art standards, video games undoubtedly fall within this criteria, which leaves the question, are video games of a worthy value or are they a waste of time?  The answer is video games are as much a waste of time as literature, movies, or music. Some video games will leave you emotionally connected; some will leave you wondering why you played them in the first place. These examples parallel the same chances anyone takes when reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to a piece of music.  In short, video games are an artful experience that one can learn from, become immersed in, form emotional bonds with, and, most importantly, enjoy, and therefore, video games should continue to be protected by the first amendment.
According to a New York Times article written by Adam Liptek, California is petitioning a law that would charge one-thousand dollar fines to stores for every “violent video game” sold to a minor.  The article defines violent games as “those in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being’ in a way that is ‘patently offensive,’ appeals to minors’ ‘deviant or morbid interests’ and lacks ‘serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value (Liptak, “Justices Debate Video Game Ban”).  Who has the right to deem something as having serious artistic value?
Currently there is no nationwide laws against minors purchasing tickets to see a movie that is rated R, purchasing a CD with explicit lyrics, or purchasing books depicting violence.  Romeo and Juliet, the famous Shakespearian story taught in high schools across the nation, is an example of what is arguably a violent book as it depicts two teenagers committing suicide, yet this literature is considered art.  The way the sale of media has been regulated is not on a government level, but rather at the industrial level.  Distributers have theater companies sign legal documents that hold their theaters liable to following the MPAA’s, Motion Picture Association of America, rating system.  If theaters violate this contract they place themselves in danger of losing the rights to show certain movies (Motion Picture Association of America). Video games are not unlike movies in the sense that they too have a rating system by the ESRB, Entertainment Software Rating Board.  Stores like GameStop must follow these ratings when selling video games to minors, or they would be in danger of losing the rights to sell the media.
The usefulness and artistic nature of video games has been questioned since the creation of the technology.  Since the days of the “Atari 2600,” when indie game developers started creating pornographic video games, to the controversial release of “Mortal Kombat,” which led to the ESRB rating system that is in place today, video games are constantly being attacked.   As the technology grew, more video games entered the realm of realism and incorporated 3D rendering (Kent, 117).  This new technology led to more interactive game experiences, but also led to more realistic violent and sexual acts.  “Grand Theft Auto IV” was one of the handfuls of games in recent history that led to more controversy, and some even say that it influenced California’s proposed law.  Video games are often described as violent, distracting, and a negative effect on children.  The media has painted the picture of the negative effects of video games, but hardly do they ever talk about the positives of using video games. 
One of the many misconceptions of video games is that it “rots your brain,” basically meaning that playing video games uses up brain cells for no substantial purpose.  Some people may not realize that video games stimulate the mind and have benefits beyond their entertainment value.  An article recently written by Michelle Trudeau for NPR.org describes some of the positive effects that video games have on gamers.  Trudeau’s article talks about a study conducted by brain and cognitive professor, Daphne Bavelier, which showed the effects of game play on a subject’s vision.  Bavelier recruited non-gamers and trained them for weeks in gaming.  At the end of the experiment, her subjects were told to return home and stop game interaction.   This specific experiment proved useful since they found that the eyesight of subjects had strengthened.  Subjects were now capable of seeing sharper shades of gray and also smaller print sizes than non-gamers.  These effects, Bavelier stated, “last up to two years” (Trudeau, “Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills”).  In situations where improved eyesight would prove useful, this aspect of being a gamer may actually save lives.  Imagine a gamer becoming a military trained sniper.  In dark lighting situations, due to his past with gaming, his eyesight may be improved so significantly that it may save his life.  This is one of the many benefits of playing video games.
Many people see the current youth generation as the “multitask generation,” and video games have proved to be a contributing factor of the development of multitasking.  Every day gamers are put into situations where one wrong move will lead to losing the game.   Constantly gamers place the pressures of multitasking upon themselves, without even breaking a sweat.  Bavelier’s study showed that subjects had higher attention spans due to gaming and their multitasking skills had increased, leaving subjects more capable of jumping from task to task than non-gamers.  Bavelier described the results of the study stating, "we see that typically in people that don't play action games, their reaction time lengthened by 200 milliseconds, which is something like 30 percent, but in gamers, it lengthened only by 10 percent,” (Trudeau, “Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills”).  This same NPR article also went on to talk about gamers having an increase of brain activity over non-gamers.  Lauren Sergio, neuroscientist of York University, conducted a study that showed that non-gamers would have to use more of their brain for certain skills where gamers would only use a small percent.  This study also showed higher hand eye coordination in gamers (Trudeau, “Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills”).  These studies help support the idea of children playing video games more often in hopes of developing stronger brain activity and multitasking skills.  These benefits will not only help them while they are gaming, but in real world experiences where faster reaction times are vital.
Video games have also recently showed their value in the area of education.  Much like we use books, movies, and music in our classrooms, the future seems particularly bright on the prospect of the use of video games as educational tools.  Recently President Obama has also seen the significance of video games with the introduction of the national STEM education program, part of “Educate to Innovate.”  STEM, “promotes a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.”  Part of this program focused on rewarding game developers who took the initiative to create educational video games (National Stem Video Game Challenge).  This program not only gives developers a reason to create educational video games, but also proves that the government has a significant interest in the media and the idea of using it for education.  As classrooms grow more and more tech ready, video game consoles can lead to a whole new learning style and escalate interactivity and creativity to new levels.  Instead of simply reading or writing about a subject matter, video games would allow students to use what they learned and practice in real world situations, but in a safe and controlled virtual world.
Many video games consist of puzzles that stimulate the mind, and story narratives that parallel the real world.  Video games such as these prove that not every video game must be designed for educational purposes to be useful for classroom work.  Wabash College Professor, Michael Abbott, has proved this theory.  In an article written by Patrick Klepek for Giantbomb.com, Klepek interviewed Professor Abbott about his decision to add the video game “Portal” to his syllabus.   Portal is a video game in which players take part in the “portal gun” testing process.  These portals allow the player to solve puzzles by shooting an entrance portal on one wall, and an exit portal on another in an attempt to use these portals to navigate through the testing grounds.  Professor Abbott teaches the course “Enduring Questions” at Wabish College.  Part of the course discusses Dr. Erving Goffman’s theory on the different personality “faces” each human being has.  The two faces are described as, the face people want others to see, and the face that only the person themselves know about.  Abbott felt it was fitting to use “Portal” as a virtual demonstration since the games villain, GLaDOS, is a prime example of this theory (Klepek, “Intro to GLaDOS 101”).  Throughout the game play GLaDOS comes off as an emotionless computer program that treats the player as if the journey is a typical one that has an eventual ending.  Through the games progression, the player realizes that GLaDOS has developed a personality of her own and does not intend on letting you ever leave the testing facility.  Abbott describes the experience stating that the game “really provoked a lot of interesting connections between the Goffman text and GLaDOS as a character, as a personality, and the way that the environment is an extension of her and her personality” (Klepek, “Intro to GLaDOS 101”).  One of the most interesting parts of Klepeks article was how Abbott described his student’s initial hesitation to the assignment.  Just as many other people see video games, Abbott’s students felt that there would be no academic worth to playing a video game for class.  Abbott stated that his student’s outlook on “Portal” quickly changed after his students progressed deeper into the game (Klepek, “Intro to GLaDOS 101”).  This is proof that even those who are the most reluctant in inviting the thought of video games as an educational tool can in fact learn much from what video games have to offer humanity.
One of the biggest and most interesting things video games have to teach us are moral values.  Many role playing and open world games test your morals as a feature of the game.  One such game, “Fallout” – an open world game set in the wastelands of post-apocalyptic America – actually rewards or deducts points from your score depending on your moral choices.  These moral choices vary from picking a certain dialogue option to killing someone.  Throughout the game, the choices you make effect how other characters interact with you.  Henry Jerkins of PBS.org agrees with these points stating, “Many current games are designed to be ethical testing grounds; they allow players to navigate an expansive and open-ended world, make their own choices and witness their consequences,” (Jenkins, “Reality Bytes”).
At this point, the evidence stands quite firmly on the usefulness of video games, but that still leaves the other side of the argument, are video games art?  Art is a very loosely defined word, and what can be defined as art has been a topic of discussion since before the days of Leonardo Da Vinci.  The different types of art that most can agree on are visual arts, such as paintings, sculptures, and photography, movies, literature, and music.  The great thing about video games as an art form is it takes elements from each of these and creates a new media.  With each video game made a large amount of visual design is needed.  Game designers create the character models, backdrops, and environments.  Storywriters create the overall narrative and dialogue.  Composers create the musical themes of each part of the world.  After looking at the credits of a video game today you could deduce that, long gone are the days of small teams creating an 8bit game, production teams are as big, if not bigger, than some movie projects.  Between the world and character creation – visual art, the dialogue and story – literature, and the compositions – music, the only thing differentiating video games from movies is the interaction between the gamer and the game itself.  This aspect of gaming leads to an entirely different art form all together, one that we may let slip away if California’s law passes.
Many others agree that video games are a legitimate art form.  In his article, “But Is It Art?” Jona Tres Kap cites multiple art museums with exhibits that focus on video games.  Kap argues the same subject, “Are video games art?”  Kap points out that art is any form of expression, he goes on to argue that video games convey emotions, “more strongly than other more traditional forms of media.”  Kap agrees with aforementioned points on video games as a “hybrid” of different medias, but argues that they are the strongest in the form of literature and “storytelling.”  He argues this point further stating that video games contain “more expressive” and “impressive” ways of storytelling than any other media.  He ends his article implying that he would not be surprised to see video games in more art museums in the future, (Kap, “But Is It Art?”).
Video games are becoming more and more recognized as an art form every day, although some may like to ignore it.  One great example of video games as an art form is the upcoming exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum entitled, “The Art of Video Games.”  The exhibit is said to demonstrate the history, evolution, art, and visual effects of video games from the 1970’s to present day (The Art Of Video Games).  This exhibit will show the world the artistic value that video games provide and will hopefully inspire more people to accept video games as a legitimate art form.
Many people do not believe video games have any considerable value or are a true form of art.  Some of these people believe that video games are only provoking violent behavior, especially in children and teenagers.  Violence is all around us, from the news to movies, but no such link to an increase in violence is due to video games.  In fact, recent studies show that there are no connections between video games and teenage violence.  These studies also show that video games promote a non-violent behavior showing that people take their aggression out on the video games rather than on others.  Henry Jenkins, an MIT professor, stated that, “90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls” play video games.  If video games cause such an increase in violent behavior, based on this statistic, the majority of children would show violent tendencies.  In fact, statistics prove otherwise.  Jenkins argues citing federal crime statistics showing that the rate of juvenile violence is “at a 30 year low,” (Jenkins, “Reality Bytes”).
Some would argue that video games promote anti-social behavior, but this just is not true.  For example, if a friend passes a level of a game that you are having difficulty with, you may communicate with each other to aid each other in the progression.  You may also share your experiences with the game and see how they differed.  Also, with such technologies as “Xbox live” and the “Playstation Network,” you have the ability to connect and play online with many different gamers from around the world.  Henry Jenkins also tackles this topic stating, “almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents,” (Jenkins, “Reality Bytes”).
  Many times video games are used as the blame for childhood obesity as no real physical activity is involved.  The video game industry has evolved so far that this may be a problem of the past.  With new technologies such as the Xbox 360 “Kinect,” the player becomes the controller.  No longer are gamers confined to the couch to play video games because the “Kinect” requires gamers to get off of the couch to utilize its game play.  This new technology senses entire body movements and uses these motions to control on screen avatars.  Games have been released utilizing this technology and some games aim the game play towards exercise programs that are both intense and fun.  Some games are even capable of measuring body weight.  This new technology helps keep everyone physically and mentally active while still enjoying the fun of video games.
            One of the most interesting arguments against video game play is the notion that it affects the mental growth patterns of adult males.  Kay Hymowitz uses this as an example in her essay, “Child-Man in the Promise Land.”  Hymowitz describes how many young adult males use video games to prolong their childhood.  She also states that young adult males who play video games may be crippling their likelihood of reaching their full potential (Hymowitz, 367).  This argument is proven incorrect by a study that shows video games actually prepare gamers for careers.  In a study posted on CQ Researcher by Sarah Glazer, evidence shows that video game simulations are useful for a large array of job training such as army training, pilot training, and surgery training.  Glazer’s article also shows how video games teach simple strategies for the work place such as, those who arrive win first, learning from mistakes, and always trying again.  The article also mentions, “A Federation of American Scientists” who are “urging government, industry and educators to take advantage of video-game features to help students and workers attain globally competitive skills,” (Glazer, “Do Video Games Prepare…”).  By playing video games, gamers are not prolonging their childhood, but are preparing for adulthood.
Before the Supreme Court makes their final decision on the future of video games, they must realize that video games are a worthy art form worth protecting.  Video games have so much to offer to the world, and as long as we continue to protect them the art form can continue to grow and develop more breakthroughs.  We run the risk of breaking down the entire video game industry if this California law passes.  The fear of stores being fined for improper sales of their merchandise may lead them to stop carrying certain games.  Game developers, in fear of losing their retail sales, would cease the creation of new, boundary pushing game experiences in fear of falling into the laws definition of “violence.”  This law not only affects the video game industry, but the very fiber of our nation’s foundation.  America continually proclaims that we are the “land of the free,” yet here we are in danger of losing a freedom that has been set in place since our nation’s creation.  If this law goes through, who is to say that the music or movie industries are not next on the list for regulations?  This would be a stepping-stone for the loss of more than just video games, but the government regulation of all media.











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