Shank 2 – Bust, or Buy?

This isn’t going to be a typical review flooded without too much detail; instead, it’ll be just my own opinion on whether or not I would personally recommend someone to purchase this game.  Would I recommend someone to buy this game?  Yes, but only if they like side-scroller beat-em ups.

Overall, Shank 2 is $10 (XBLA) and incredibly improved over Shank 1.  The story is meh but the controls are much tighter, and Shank moves and jumps around like a toad on Ritalin.

Generally, the combat is the same combo-maniac gameplay as before, except, this time it’s not frustratingly difficult and it’s better.  Beyond that, the new additions are the 2-player survival mode, a new playable character, and new enemies.

In survival mode, you go through 30 waves of enemies and bosses while also defending weapon caches, and you can buy things like Decoys and Mini-guns to help yourself out.  The new playable character (blanking out on the name right now) is a woman armed with a Scythe and Revolver, and it’s pretty rad even though you can only use her in Survival Mode and in one Story level.

The only thing I despise about Shank 2, compared to Shank 1, is that you don’t get the large amount of weapons from the previous game.  As Shank, you get the Dual-Machetes, Chainsaw, and Sledgehammer (it sucks); and Throwing Knives, Dual-Pistols, and Shotgun.  As [insert additional character’s name here], you get to use a Scythe, Katana; and Revolver, and Uzi.

It’s a fun game and your $10 worth of Shank can last a long time.  But!  If you don’t like the idea of a survival mode (like from Gears of War 3, or Saint’s Row The Third), OR if you don’t like side-scroller beat-em ups, you won’t like Shank 2.

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Ninja Gaiden 3 – No Gore, No Good

Seriously.  If Ninja Gaiden 3’s gameplay can not make up for the loss of dismemberment and gore, I can’t purchase it.  Ninja Gaiden introduced some really fast gameplay action, which is similar to Devil May Cry 3 but with ninja’s and extremely advanced difficulty.  Among Ninja Gaiden’s awesome gameplay was the dismemberment.

Sometimes, when you perform the Flying Swallow technique, you can chop off a head or two, which was insanely awesome at the time.  When Ninja Gaiden 2 came out, the gore factor was multiplied exponentially.  Rather than just splitting heads from shoulders, you can chop off arms and legs, and perform brutal finishers.  I had a PlayStation 3 at the time so I could never experience the awesome gore action, but I still bought Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.  It’s still a really fun game but seeing little blood and no body parts (or bodies) lying around made it feel kind of bland.

Why I thought the gore was necessary was because when I finished off a group of enemies, with limbs, corpses, and blood splattered everywhere, it made me think, “I did that.”  Basically, displaying body parts of corpses everywhere gave a look of a brutal aftermath that I committed.  And, yeah, seeing blood spraying all over the place is awesome, too, not going to lie.

The kind of sad thing is that Ninja Gaiden 3 is going to follow the same approach except it will not even involve any dismemberment.  If you haven’t seen the brutal moves yet, you really need to check it out.  Some of the moves you perform beg to have a leg or arm severed and, yet, you don’t see any dismemberment.  Well, apparently, a developer at Team Ninja said that, “We don’t think people want to see that anymore…  They’ve already seen it.”  Sorry, what?  I played God of War, and I played God of War 2 and 3, and ripping off the head of a god is just awesome.

Still, as long as the gameplay can make up for the loss of gore I think it’ll still be just as good as its predecessors.

P.S.  There’s going to be multiplayer in Ninja Gaiden 3, too…  It doesn’t look fun.

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No Used Games Anymore – Xbox 720

The next-generation is going to be pretty sad.  Kotaku wrote an article saying that the next-gen Xbox 720 is not going to be able to play used games.  That’s fucked up.  I do understand that developers do not make money off of used games.  I even know a guy who’s actually against buying used games, for the sake of developers.

I’ve found one post on a developer’s blog saying how he supports Microsoft’s vision of voiding used games.  Quite a few people completely disagree with the developer, and others think there should be an alternative solution to voiding used games.  Even the very first reply, from “Jonah Falcon,” puts up a great argument.  He basically says that consumer’s won’t just simply buy and play new games just because they can’t buy and play used games.  In short, quoting Jonah Falcon, “That’s the same as assuming pirates would buy games if they couldn’t steal them.”

It’s a very bewildering topic for me.  Is it better to help the people making the games or to help the people buying the games?

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The Thousand Year War – PlayStation 3 v. Xbox 360

Spoiler: PS3 Wins

Based on the consoles of present day, between the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3: PS3 wins.

I know there are fanboys who argue all the time that the Xbox is better or that the PlayStation is better.  Well, you’d be right to say that the Xbox is better than the PS2 but the PS3 is just better than the Xbox 360.  I’m not here to say which console has better graphics or a more ergonomic controller.  I’m also not here to determine, finally, which console has better graphics.  If you want to buy a video-game-playing machine that has great ergonomics and graphics, buy a PC, no joke.  You can hook up an Xbox 360 or PS3 controller and play games in DirectX 11 in 1080P, even on a TV.  But that’s beside the point.  The point, I think, of a console nowadays is to use it as a media entertainment device without having to bust the bank.  In other words, what has more value: the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3?


To start off, the looks of both consoles are awesome.  Personally, I like the new look of the 360 much more than the PS3.  It’s very compact and even when you stand it up vertically it looks neat and thin; and, yes, the PlayStation 3 is a fatty.  On a side note, I wish Microsoft kept the gloss finish.  I really hate matte finishes.

Noise?  I don’t know why critics and other people compare the noise of consoles, and which is quieter because it really doesn’t matter.  Since I’m already comparing the two: they’re both quiet, but the 360 can become literally dead silent if you install a game to a hard drive.

Graphics and exclusive games is all on the consumer.  If you like Gears of War or Halo, get the 360.  If you like Metal Gear Solid or Uncharted, get the PS3.  Simple as that.  It’s to the point where there are very few exclusive games so you can pick either console, in terms of exclusive titles.

As far as the 360 and PS3 User Interfaces (UI) go, I prefer the 360’s over the PS3.  The Metro UI on the 360 is very sexy, very clean, and completely awesome.  The PS3’s XMB (cross-media bar) UI is also nice because you can customize it with live wallpapers and change the overall look of the icons and notifications.  For me, though, the interface confuses me because it seems like every time there is a firmware update, Sony changes all the settings around and I can’t find what I want.  On top of that, the XMB is just plain slow, sometimes.

SEXY beast!

Moving on to my favorite part of this blog post:  VALUE! 

First off, the controllers.  Why the flying fuck would I need to buy AA batteries for a vital piece of my console?  And don’t tell me I can buy a battery pack.  All the reviews I read say the charge dies so fast and to the point where you get a mere few hours of play time.  Fuck that shit.  I’d rather buy a small pack of batteries when I’m at the gas station filling up my car.  Either way, the PS3 controller (DualShock 3/SIXAXIS) is rechargeable and convenient.  To put it simply, I would rather have a controller that is rechargeable (PS3) than buy batteries or battery packs (360.)

Online play is another of my favorites, only because I have to pay for shit.  I’m going to end this quickly and say that the PS3’s online play system (PSN) is much better.  I don’t have to pay anything and I can still use their online and talk to friends.  360?  You pay exactly what you get for free on PS3’s PSN.  Of course, you don’t get dedicated servers on the PS3.  Then again, how many games use dedicated servers on the Xbox 360?  Not very many, especially for a high profile game like Modern Warfare 3.  When you instill logic and critical thinking into this, paying for an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership gives you access to pay for more shit that you may or may not need, along with more advertisements.  On the bright side, you don’t get too many of the niceties on the PS3, like cross-game voice chatting and creating parties.  Well, you can do that on the PS3, but it’s very sluggish and you need PSN Home (lol, what a joke.)


Moving on to accessories!  Unfortunately, I can’t say much on accessories because I don’t buy accessories, and I don’t care for the PlayStation Move or Kinect.  However, I will say that not being able to use a Bluetooth headset/mic on the 360 is a bummer but not a huge problem; supposedly, you can plug in a Bluetooth via USB cable into the 360 and it’ll work.  It doesn’t matter much about Bluetooth connectivity because some really good headsets (Turtlebeach, for example) use an USB connection, else they’ll otherwise use an USB Bluetooth adapter.

Now for the third-party applications.  If you haven’t been paying attention (which costs a lot, I understand, no sarcasm intended), the PS3 and 360 allow you to watch Netflix and Hulu.  The big boner kill to this, and I briefly went through this, you need to have an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership if you want to watch Netflix, Hulu, or even YouTube.  While Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube work better on the 360, and you get more video services, I shouldn’t have to pay extra to watch it, especially if I’m already paying for those video services.  In which case, fuck that, go with the PS3; assuming you still don’t have to pay to use your video services.  Many people have instant streaming Netflix for $8 per month and paying $60 per year, or $10 per month, is overkill.  Netflix isn’t worth $156, $216, a year (360), but it sure is worth $96 a year (PS3.)  So if I’m going to use my gaming console as an entertainment console as well, should I really have to pay extra for another membership just to use my video services?

Verdict: the PS3 is better, in terms of value.  You don’t have to pay for online services to either play online or watch Netflix, you don’t need to buy battery packs or batteries for your controller, and it already comes with a large-space hard drive that you can hot swap for another hard drive or even a solid-state drive.

In the end, if someone were to ask me which console I’d recommend, I’d tell people to get a PlayStation 3 because  you can get the exact same services from the Xbox 360 but with better value.  Now, if you were to ask me 5 years ago which console I’d recommend…

New CEO Kaz Hirai Dealing With Sony’s $2.03 Billion Loss

If you haven’t heard already, Kazuo Hirai is going to become Sony’s new CEO on April 1 (lol.)  Good luck Kaz, you’re in a shit storm.  IGN UK posted an article saying that Sony lost $2.03 billion.  This doesn’t mean that the entire Sony corp is in the shit but it does mean they’re going to have to haul it for the next quarter.  Luckily, and we’ll see how luck Sony will be, Kaz Hirai has got some plans to up the revenue and get some profit.  One of his plans is to step it up with they’re TV’s.

I know Sony’s got a large foot in the consumer television business but their competitors are making TV’s that are much better for their worth.  Other than that, Kaz says he wants to cut costs and drop products that are bringing in the money.  I like that idea, because their Sony PlayStation 3D TV sucked.  He also wants Sony to step in other markets for business, which I can’t see that as a bad thing as Sony started off as a company making cassette tape players.

Besides R&D and investments, ever since they took down GeoHot, implicitly said that they still own any PlayStation they sell, and had failed to prevent their customers’ information from being stolen, a lot of opposition has been gathered against them.  I don’t think it’s just the business portfolio you need to fix Kazuo.

Still, I think they’ll do well in the long run, but they may need to smarten up in their investments because new technology (Sandy Bridge E, Windows 8, Android ICS) is coming out real soon.

Xbox 720 – The Death of Our Current-Generation Consoles?

Now with Blu-Ray!

My quick guess:  The Xbox 720 will be released in 2014.

Here’s the thing: there are still plenty of great games being released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 for developers to make money off of.  You have Syndicate, Prototype 2, The Darkness 2, BioShock Infinite, Max Payne 3, Kingdoms of Amalur, Halo 4, and even indie games.  Video games look graphically better every year, so I think that once developers begin to hit the ceiling of what’s technically feasible, then the Xbox 720 will be shortly released thereafter.

(Side Note: it’s looking like developers are hitting the ceiling.)

Aside from all of that, no matter when the Xbox 720, or PlayStation 3 gets released, it will still be supported by developers for at least another year or two, or more.  Take God of War 2 for example.  The PlayStation 3 was released in 2006 but Sony still kicked God of War 2 out onto the PlayStation 2.  Even still, The Matrix Path of Neo (horrible on PS2, not as bad on Xbox) was released in 2005 for the Xbox and the PS2, and yet the 360 was already out and about in 2005.  The reason?  I suspect it could be that developers need the time to develop for a next-generation console that they’re developing for for the first time.  On top of that, making a large budget game for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 could take 3 or more years.  Assuming developers have not had a chance to work with the next-gen Xbox, it may be at least 2 to 3 years before we hear or see an Xbox 720/PlayStation 4.

Until then, keep on going at it with Battlefield and Call of Duty.

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The Elder Scrolls of Bugs

Fus-Ro-Is that dragon flying backwards?

I fucking love Skyrim.  What I don’t like about Skyrim are the fucking bugs.  Every time I am in Markarth, a guard stops me and says I committed crimes and need to be taken to jail.  I concur, but right after he says, “No one escapes Cidnha Mine,” I don’t get taken to jail and get stuck in a loop of him stopping me.  So, rather than getting taken to jail, I have to say that I don’t want to go and start getting attacked by every single guard in and around Markarth.  Even further than that, all the bounties I complete and collect in Dawnstar do not get wiped off my quest logs and stay there.  Skyrim is just littered with bugs like trash in a landfill.  It doesn’t harm my gameplay, sure, but it’s annoying when things are way out of place like that (OCD.)  For Playstation 3 owners, it’s a ton worse.  I don’t have a PS3 so I don’t know how precisely to comment on the slow-down issues, but from what I have read I think that’s just a liiiiiitle bit sad.  There is hope, though!  Bethesda’s blog shows that they’re working on the slow-downs, along with other bug/quest fixes; it’s a long list.  Hopefully, they’ll keep pumping out more updates to fix bugs and quests, and it seems like they’ll fix that damn Cidnha mine glitch.  It’s a good thing for me at least because committing genocide on those Markarth guards is getting tiring.