King’s Quest Chapter 2: Rubble Without a Cause Review

In King’s Quest Chapter 2, King Graham (Christopher Lloyd) continues to recount the adventures of his younger self to his grandchild(ren). In chapter 1, he was simply an adventurer hoping to become a knight to the king, but in Rubble Without a Cause, he himself is now the King of Daventry. That doesn’t mean his adventuring days are behind him, though. After a quick intro showing that Graham was actually not that good of a king in his younger years, he and his friends who work in the town square are promptly kidnapped by goblins and taken into a secret cave illuminated by bioluminescent lizards and held as prisoners. For some reason, Graham is chosen by the goblins to perform their chores for them which means he is the only prisoner able to wander the caverns unsupervised. This of course means that he takes it upon himself to figure out how to break everyone out and get back to Daventry. Continue reading

Review: NBA 2K16 for PlayStation 3

Throughout my life I’ve always been a basketball fan. It’s a love affair that started when I was young and playing ball with friends everyday after school and eventually on real teams. At some point, though, I stopped paying attention to basketball, really only giving it any attention during March Madness each year. This year, though, I decided I missed the game, and want to really follow the NBA because to me it’s one of the most entertaining sports both on the court and off. Sports games have always been a great way to keep up with who is on what team when I’ve been out of the loop and helps me get back up to speed on the sport in some ways.

I played 2K16 on a PS3, which differs greatly from the current gen version. Firstly, it doesn’t include the new Spike Lee story for MyCareer is absent, which is a good thing from what I’ve seen of it. Other game modes are absent as well but all of the important things are there as well. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in every game mode available and I can definitely say this is the most fun I’ve had in a sports game in quite some time.

Gameplay on the court is fantastic. For a long time now, NBA 2K has been the best playing sports game to me personally, and this year doesn’t change. Gameplay is easy to pickup, and very difficult to master. The right stick can be used to perform very precise moves that really make it feel like performing an impressive move compared to just hitting a button and watching an animation. In fact, there is really no time when the player is locked into an animation and doesn’t have control like in many other great sports games (looking at you MLB: The Show). The AI feels like a real team, performing smart plays and properly adapting to pretty much any situation. In fact, I think I enjoy playing against the AI more than another human player.

Franchise/association modes have always been the main attraction to me in sports games as I love being able to control every aspect of a team and not be confined to a single role during gameplay. NBA 2K16 does not disappoint. The Association game mode is fantastic as always. Having a good team feels good, and there are real moves that can be made to help out lesser teams to really build up the franchise even if it takes a season or two. Commentators do a good job of really sounding like people who are watching the game, and not just piling on repetitive cookie cutter comments like many games.

Even though I rarely enjoy career modes (aka create a player and play as him), I actually find it the most engaging mode in 2K16. On the floor, playing is fun and kept interesting by a “teammate” rating that constantly updates on screen as you perform actions on the court. The use of fake social media, press conferences and meetings with the GM make it really feel like a career and not just controlling one guy instead of a whole team like most other games’ career mode. Even as a bench player the game does a great job of making the player feel like they are filling an important role on the team.

Online, as always, was broken at release because the 2K servers are never able to handle the load on release day. Now that things have calmed down though, online works fine and is fun. The main attraction to online gameplay is MyTeam, a mode that is trying to recreate the success EA Sports games have found with their Ultimate Team mode. MyTeam doesn’t feel as refined as Ultimate Team, though. Building a team feels like a chore simply due to how long one has to play with a terrible team before building anything resembling a real team. Sadly, this is probably on purpose because one can simply buy virtual currency in NBA 2K16 via micro-transactions. Other online modes are fun, though, especially when playing against someone who knows what they’re doing. The problem is, of course, finding those people, because otherwise you might want to just thrown your controller at the screen while playing someone who things it’s NBA JAM in an arcade.

NBA 2K16 has helped me rekindle my love for basketball simply from how well every aspect is handled. Even the soundtrack is great and probably in my all time top 5 favorite soundtracks. I can only hope the upcoming NBA season will be as captivating as the virtual one has been. Go Clippers!


The Quick Save: This Week in Gaming September 18th

quick save #1 9-17-15

Nintendo names new president Tatsumi Kimishima

The week started with a bang Monday when Nintendo announced that Tatsumi Kimishima would be taking over the presidential position after the passing of Satoru Iwata in July. Kimishima has a long track record with Nintendo, starting as the representative director of The Pokémon Company in 200 and quickly moving up the ladder to director of Nintendo of America, inc. in 2002. Since then he has taken over more roles in addition to director and was by most accounts the man best poised to replace Iwata. The choice of Kimishima is a bit of a surprise, though, as Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda have been serving as presidents in the interim and would be more well known names to place in the position, Kimishima being a bit of an unknown variable in the public eye.

The official statement from Nintendo can be found here. It includes a quick briefing of Tatsumi Kimishima’s professional history and also some interesting changes concerning the changing of roles for some directors inside Nintendo including the new creative roles of both Miyamoto and Takeda, who both prefer creative roles to business ones. Changes were officially made on September 16th, framed as a “large-scale revision of the organizational structure of the Company”.

The Last of Us 2 Confirmed?

On Wednesday the 16th, during a live stream by Naughty Dog, writer Josh Scherr may have accidentally confirmed the existence of The Last of Us 2. Naughty Dog had said in the past they would like to do more with The Last of US. Scherr’s comment seemed to imply the development of a sequel, and of course a company like Naughty Dog would want to try to recreate the huge success of the original game. At this time Naughty Dog has made no official statement concerning Scherr’s comment or The Last of Us 2.

New PS4 Hardware from TGS

At the Tokyo Game Show this week, Sony showed off the new updated PlayStation hardware looks. When I say looks, that’s all there really is to it. Some new color schemes for both the PS4 and PSVita were shown, and while very pretty, weren’t anything all that impressive. The PS4 schemes likely coincide with the “lighter, quieter” hardware update announced in July. Also included in the booth was a new transparent Dual Shock 4 controller. While this is interesting to some, the sad thing is that new colored plastic is one of the biggest headlines out of this year’s TGS, a show having a harder time competing with other conventions this time of year.

Super Mario Maker a Critical Success

OK, turns out people like Mario. Who would’ve thought such a thing. Not only do they like Mario, but they seem to love making their own Mario levels. Super Mario Maker has reviewed extremely well, with scores like a 9/10 from IGN and a perfect score from Giant bomb. The interesting question now is if the game’s community will stay around, and more importantly does Super Mario Maker help the dismal sales of the Wii U?

Other News From TGS

Other smaller headlines from the 2015 Tokyo Game Show mainly come from Sony. On top of showing some new plastics, Sony continued showing off their VR headset “Project Morpheus”. They did something weird, though. The first part of the VR demo was DYNASTY WARRIORS. Yeah, you know, one of the worst possible games to show off virtual reality for the first time, but I’m no tech executive so what do I know. Turns out The Last Guardian still exists after it’s E3 appearance this year. Fan hype went through the roof when developers announced The Last Guardian would be at TGS in some new way, they just failed to mention that it was just a non-interactive video of Trico (the dog-bird-thing) in a cage looking kind of sad. But, hey! At least it didn’t disappear again…not yet at least.

Why Japan has become irrelevant to console gaming

Once upon a time, Japan was the absolute home of video games. Where’s the next big game coming from? Japan. Where are all of the best developers? Japan. Where are all the games with scantily clad women killing each other? Well, OK, that one hasn’t changed at least. Almost every great game franchise I can think of from the 20th century came from Japan. Metal Gear Solid, Mario, Zelda, Tekken and even Pokemon all originate from Japan. However in this decade, dominated by annualized games like Call of Duty and Assasin’s Creed, Japan has taken a back seat to the rest of the world. In fact, many great Japanese video game companies are moving away from console gaming altogether, but why?
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What is the next big genre?

Over time, several different genres have basically owned the video game industry, from platformers in the early days of consoles, to first person shooters since the release of Call of Duty 4 on last generation consoles. Every so often a game comes along that brings a differnent genre into the lime light. At this moment in gaming, however, there are several different types of games represented fairly equally within the industry. When will the next game be released that tips the scales to a particular type of game again. Is that even possible? Continue reading

A Short History of Indie Games, and a Look into the Future

Gzsf4R8Independent developers have brought us gamers some of the most original and exciting games of the last decade. From masterpieces like The Unfinished Swan and Limbo, to the crazy and quirky like Hotline Miami and even Goat Simulator, indie games have been some of the most noteworthy games in history, and phenoms like Minecraft will be remembered as a huge part of many childhoods. So how did such a huge part of the video game industry get started, and where does it go from here?
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Ubisoft, Child of Light, and the Push for Big Publishers to make “Indie-like” Games

Ubisoft_logoOver the last few years, indie games have seen a huge surge in popularity. Certain games like Minecraft have even managed to outsell some of the biggest franchises in history (Though Minecraft is no longer independent after being bought by Microsoft). So it’s no surprise that big publishers like Ubisoft want to know exactly how these developers are taking up such a large share of the market, and how they can compete in that space. Continue reading