You will not often see me writing up reviews of video games for the simple fact that I am of that breed of casual gamers whose last video game related purchase was the second super smash brothers (brawl? royale? gangbang? mosh pit? the game cube one.) I generally just play video games when with other people in a social setting. So I leave such opinions to my far more qualified colleague.

But at Comic Con I was able to play video games that have not yet been released and as such I will offer up what thoughts I have based on the less than five minutes of game play I was afforded by the sweaty, throbbing mass of body parts that is San Diego once a year.

Dante’s Inferno

Okay, so this was the game that I had the most fun playing. I was a fan of the original Devil May Cry back in the day, and this game reminded me of DMC on acid. In the tiny part that I played, I used a giant scythe to cut down skeletons, then performed a combo on a dude riding a three-story minotaur so I could use the minotaur to rip the head off of the skeleton barge that I was using to fly through whatever God-forsaken part of hell that I was in (yeah, at no given point did I really understand why I was doing what I was doing, not that it mattered). The action was crisp and the attacks, thanks to the scythe, were new and interesting. It was easily accessible and, if I still bought video games, I would probably be waiting for this one to come out.

Dead Space: Extraction

I have never been a fan of rail shooters, whether it was Time Cops 2 at Chucky Cheese’s or this Wii bullshit they’re pulling out now. We have the technology, allow me to move on my own accord. The fact that there is a co-op for DS:E at least means that I could see myself having fun playing this with somebody else. But that’s the only context.

Uncharted 2: Amongst Thieves

Man, I don’t even know the last time I tried shooting something with a playstation controller that didn’t involve materia and at least one talking animal. While it had smooth gameplay when watching other people play, I was sort of spastic with the whole thing. Still, there seemed to be smooth transition from shooting to hand-to-hand combat when in close with the enemies, including from-behind spine breaks, always a crowd pleaser. Got to play this alongside a guy dressed like Francis from Left 4 Dead who couldn’t figure out until the round was over that he was on the same side as the other players and supposed to be shooting the NPCs.

Left 4 Dead: 2

Really, what else do you need to know about this besides the title? The only new hand weapon I got to play with was what looked like a cricket paddle (?) in a Louisiana swamp, and it had the same sort of awkwardness as when you’re carrying around fire-extinguisher or gas cannister in preperation for when you might need it. But the new guns were fun, and it was nice to have a completely fresh map where you have no clue where you need to go or what the fuck might jump at you when. And we were either playing very easy or else both the tank and the witch have been made much easier to kill.

And that is a summation of my VG experience. There will probably a recap of the webcomics people I hit up soon, and another two-man wolfpack review in honor of Mystery Team, which we also got to see at Comic-Con (Spoiler: It’s goddamn hilarious).

signing off//

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I make Wolverine cry

I make Wolverine cry

Prototype is a free roaming action game from Radical Entertainment, makers of The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and it shows. The two games are similar in that they give you a large city to roam around in as an incredibly powerful being. In this game, you’re Alex Mercer. You wake up in a morgue with super powers, and everything gets out of control shortly afterwords.

Prototype revolves around a series of 31 missions. They are punctuated by cut scenes that move the story forward, but lets face it, the cut scenes aren’t that great and the narrative suffers as a result. Luckily, there is more to the story than just whats going on in the here an now. The back story resolves around a government conspiracy that stretches all they back to the 1960’s and is revealed through the web of intrigue. To unveil pieces of the web you have to consume people with knowledge of what’s going on, and there are 130 of them wandering around. Each of them gives you a different cut scene that reveals a new tidbit of information. When I beat the game I only found a 97 of them and you better believe I’m not going to stop until I absorb every last one. It’s that good.

Besides the main story and the web of intrigue, there are side missions you can complete for evolution points, such as consuming a certain number of people in a set time, racing around the city, or blowing stuff up. They’re pretty fun for the most part and help to break up the main story.

Speaking of evolution points, Alex can unlock a lot of powers. I mean A LOT. So many that I didn’t even use all of them. One of the most most useful power sets is the movement powers. Moving around New York is fast and furious. Alex hops over cars, runs up buildings, and glides through the air. You can get from one side of the island to the next very rapidly. One of the other powers I really enjoyed was the sword arm. What else needs to be said? Your arm is a giant organic blade.

One of the things I didn’t enjoy about Prototype were the weird difficulty spikes. One minute you’ll be slaying hundreds of people, the next you’ll be wrecked by a boss battle. There were a few missions that had me spewing expletives, which is a rarity for me. It’s mad frustrating when you’re doing a mission or fighting a boss for the fifth or sixth time. Luckily, most missions do have checkpoints throughout, so death doesn’t mean you’ll have to restart from the beginning. Radical gets a few points for that smart move.

Another negative I hear brought up is the graphics in Prototype aren’t great. They’re not, but it’s OK. There are soldiers, infected, civilians, tanks, cars, and helicopters all on screen at once. Not to mention the explosions. With so much going on something had to take a hit, and it wasn’t the frame rate. You can be in the middle of a huge battle between the infected and the military and the frame rate is still rock solid. Even though this game isn’t much to look at, it is still technically impressive.

In game advertising. If not done well, it can be like nails on a chalkboard (lookin at you Axe body spray in Rainbow Six: Vegas). I saw a few posters for GameStop, the musical Jersey Boys, and even one for Panasonic. As the game rolled forward, I forgot all about them. Why? Because they all get covered up by military propaganda. “Support the Quarantine”, “We Are All Soldiers”, “A Cure is Coming”, and “America is Behind Us” are just a few. I thought this was pretty cool when I realized they did it.

I had a lot fun with Prototype. It’s got slick action, the web of intrigue, and a version of New York City under military quarantine. If you want a game that doesn’t hesitate to make you feel like the ultimate bad ass at every chance it can, then this should be right up your alley.