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Dustin's Quick Thoughts - 2013

December 18, 2013

Killer is Dead (Xbox 360)

Dreadful. Everything seems determined by random number/string generation: character names, tropes fulfilled by characters, plot, and setting. Killer 7 was cool and mysterious. KiD is what happens when you take “Katamari Damacy” levels of randomness and try to make something serious from it. Bad combat and even worse camera angles plague this game. And don’t get me started on the non-fun, creepy mini-game that may (or may not) actually be a statement about the disposable nature of love interests in long-running movie franchises.

I finally stopped playing at a boss battle that uses a second-person perspective that places the player character behind giant rocks.

At least it looks sorta cool (though not as cool as DmC’s best bits), and the music is great and fits the overall mood very well.

Shadow Warrior (2013) (PC) - Excellent, entertaining first-person shooter that eclipses both the original Shadow Warrior and the developers’ previous game (Hard Reset). Highly recommended. Read the full review here: Shadow Warrior Review

December 15, 2013

Pikmin 3 (Wii U) - Pikmin 3 has numerous, weird control problems. I had difficulty getting my Pikmin to do what I want them to do, and selecting specific Pikmin to take with you is an almost impossible task. There are also significant path finding issues, so Pikmin will often be stuck somewhere and require hand holding.

November 17, 2013

Alpha Protocol (PC) - It’s as interesting as it is buggy and flawed. The dialogue choices are compelling, affect gameplay, and are timed. Can’t sit around all day contemplating a choice. That’s a great thing, really forces you to make a decision on the spot that might not actually be good. I like AP so much that I’m working on a full review for it.

Gran Turismo 5 (PS3) - I find this to be a bizarre game. You pay money for car washes and oil changes. You don’t receive free cars, you get vouchers that must be redeemed. The license tests are short compared to their long load times. The game is constantly installing data (and telling you about it). Vehicles cannot get damaged (at least at the start). The default controls don’t use the trigger buttons for accelerate & brake. But the racing itself is great.

November 8, 2013

Persona 4 Arena (Xbox 360) - Worth a try if you like the Guilty Gear or BlazBlue series. I know fairly little about Persona 4 (or any of the other games in that series), but it did not hinder my enjoyment of the game. P4A has a feature to make it more enjoyable for novice players: keep pressing Standing A to do an auto-combo that ends in a super. And you can’t disable it because the auto-combo has some unique moves that can be used in non-auto combos.

eXceed Collection (PC) - It’s a digital-only compilation of three bullet-hell shooters:

October 28, 2013

Hard Reset: Extended Edition (PC)

At its core, Hard Reset is a throwback first-person shooter that seems most similar to Painkiller. But the developers made numerous bad design decisions that ruined the game for me.

For these reasons and more, Hard Reset is a huge mess of a game.

Game and Wario (Wii U) - Single players need not apply. Game and Wario was meant to be played by a group. There’s a mode called Pirates that has a “match the pose” section that makes absolutely no sense when you’re playing by yourself. There are some bright spots (like the Taxi game), but not enough for me to recommend this game for most people.

Miami Connection (movie) - This movie lives up to the hype and more. The whole premise is fantastic: taekwondo orphan rockers take on rednecks and biker ninjas who steal cocaine. Most of the movie takes place in Orlando. Yes, Miami Connection is something special.

October 15, 2013

DmC: Devil May Cry (PC) - Absolutely not recommended under any circumstances. It’s a triple threat of terrible dialogue, slow game play sequences exposing you to dialogue, and mediocre combat. Full Review of DmC

DmC: Vergil’s Downfall (PC) - DmC’s DLC missions fix most of the problems present with the main game. The dialogue is not terrible, it lacks walk-and-talk sequences, and the combat is a major improvement. Too bad Vergil’s Downfall isn’t stand-alone, because then I wouldn’t have any difficulty with recommending it.

Shantae (Game Boy Color, played on 3DS VC) - I don’t like Shantae. I’m currently at a section where every jump requires memorization to not get hit or insta-killed by a bottomless pit. This part is near the beginning of the game. What were they thinking?

October 7, 2013

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U) - This game is very disappointing. I really enjoyed the demo, but I’m finding little fun in the full game. It constantly throws enemies at you that have to be dispatched in a specific, slow way. It offers very poor tutorials, has an absolutely terrible, never-ending boss battle (Vorkken), and has a ramp-up in difficulty (Operation 002-C) so steep that it basically killed any enthusiasm I had about the game. I cannot currently recommend this game to anyone, not even to people who enjoyed previous Platinum games like Anarchy Reigns (Max Anarchy) and Vanquish. I’m willing to give it another shot in a few months.

Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death (PC, Demo) - This seems like a very fun game, and I really look forward to buying it in the near future.

September 13, 2013

Lollipop Chainsaw (Xbox 360)

Lollipop Chainsaw is an okay game. Game mechanics are fun: stun zombies and kill 3+ in a single blow for a point bonus. The humor is okay: it’s no Portal 2, but it made me chuckle a few times.

This game is built for ‘score attack’ but there are plenty of lengthy cutscenes that can’t be skipped. Some cutscenes can be skipped, but there are plenty of unskippable ones that occur shortly after checkpoints.

Lollipop Chainsaw has sexual content! Honestly, other than the DOA-esque bits at the beginning, I had little issue with it.

September 5, 2013

Starting today, this page will feature quick thoughts on movies and other stuff!

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (movie) - Not one of my favorite Godzilla films. It’s a little too goofy at times, reminding me (in some ways) of movies like Son of Godzilla. A young boy prominently features into the plot, and these two things combined make me think that Godzilla vs. Megaguirus was aimed at kids more than the usual Godzilla film made around this time. There’s a scene that sticks-out in my mind where Godzilla jumps and hits Megaguirus with a belly flop. Sure, it sounds awesome. It was pretty awesome. But it is somewhat silly and would feel very out-of-place in other Godzilla movies. Avoid it unless you want to see Godzilla body press a giant insect. In writing this ‘quick thought,’ I’ve actually come around on the movie. Because Godzilla body presses a giant insect in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.

Godzilla: Final Wars (movie) - This movie is absolutely incredible. You like Godzilla? You need this movie in your life right now.

August 30, 2013

LEGO City Undercover (Wii U) - It’s an open-world game for the whole family! Most of those games are T- or M-rated, and usually contain crazy protagonists. This game features the nicest protagonist that you will ever find in an open-world “crime” game. Sometimes, when you hit someone, he actually offers to come back later and give them his insurance info! He’s just that darn nice! There are only two things to dislike about it: the game nags you to do missions, and some of the tutorials are a little slow because this game’s for the children.

Cut the Rope (iOS) - I like this game. That’s all that I have to say.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (PC) - Hard platformer with some annoying voice work. I honestly don’t recommend it unless you’re specifically looking for a challenge. I played on Normal, and I assume Easy is easier.

August 19, 2013

Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3) - If you’re crazy enough to look for a review for Injustice on a site as small as mine, you should probably buy the game already. It’s good!

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3) - I didn’t like this game. Play-wise, it’s a halfway point between Super Smash Bros. (a party/fighting game) and a straight-forward modern fighting game. But PSASBR absolutely gets it wrong by not emulating SSB’s “eliminate opponents by ring-out” mechanic and having no typical lifebar. Instead, you can only eliminate opponents by using a Super Move. I feel that this sucked most of the fun out of the game because Super Moves are the only ones that do something other than build meter. The only moments that matter in a match are when someone uses a Super Move. This leads to every match feeling boring.

August 12, 2013

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U, Demo) - Cool game, and I’m looking forward to playing the full game when it comes out next month. The demo uses the GamePad exceptionally well, and the game does not require using the GamePad.

Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3) - Fighting games require a lengthy amount of time to properly get into and enjoy, and I haven’t put enough time into this game to really talk about it. I will say that it has the weird input thing (not really a bug) from Mortal Kombat 9 where you can press a button THEN the directional input for it to get a special move. This seems to be how you can combo normals into specials, but Street Fighter 4 (the only game I bothered to check) lacks this weird quirk and you can easily combo normals to specials in that game.

August 1, 2013

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition (PC, Demo) - (reposting from Twitter) Just played the PC demo for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow UE. It has a magic talking horse. Looking forward to playing more.

Narco Terror (PS3, Demo) - It’s a twin-stick shooter, but it seems like you can skip most of the twin-stick shooting by just dodging everywhere. Narco Terror shows signs of wanting to be Total Carnage for 2013, but I think that it takes itself too seriously and reminds me of Rogue Warrior in that regard (a very, very bad thing).

July 23, 2013

God of War III (PS3)

This is the first God of War game that I’ve put a few hours into (I’m currently 3 hours into the game on normal difficulty). I partially understand the appeal of the franchise, but this game fails to meet my expectations. I came in expecting a top-shelf hack-and-slash action game with excellent combat. It has excellent production values, and the game looks, feels, and sounds like much effort went into it. The gameplay is disappointing.

GoW III’s gameplay comes in three parts: quick time events, combat, and traversal. Some games do quick-time events right (like Resident Evil 4 and Vanquish), but I don’t think that GoW3 is one of those games. The QTEs are far too constant to be enjoyable. The combat feels very shallow compared to something like Devil May Cry 4. Sure, GoW III’s combat system gives you options, but there is really no penalty to mashing the ‘light attack’ button and dodging when necessary. Traversal is OK, I guess.

July 18, 2013

Angry Birds Star Wars (iOS) - To me, this is the best Angry Birds game. I have actual fun while playing it. There’s a cutscene reenacting the classic Han/Greedo shootout. Han shoots first in this game’s version of the scene. No joke!

Where’s My Water? (iOS) - Good, clean fun.

Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3) - This contains the following:

The updated visuals look nice, and I noticed no major glitches.

July 11, 2013

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3) - The title of this game is incredible. REVENGEANCE! Equally impressive is the game itself. It’s a must play if you like games such as the Devil May Cry series and Bayonneta. I know some people out there still hate Raiden as a character, but he’s actually funny in this game. His voice actor tries his hardest to be ‘Christian Bale as Batman’ gritty, and that gets quite ridiculous.

Sonic and All-Stars Racing: Transformed (PC) - If you like kart racers (especially Diddy Kong Racing), you need to play this game. If you don’t like kart racers, Sega and All-Stars Racing: Transformed might change your opinion of the genre. The levels are exceptional, drawing inspiration from Sega classics like After Burner and OutRun and obscure games like Burning Rangers. Check it out, I highly recommend it.

Infinity Blade II (iOS) - Except for longer load times, I cannot tell the difference between this game and the original Infinity Blade. I still don’t like it.

July 4, 2013

Project X Zone (Demo B) (3DS) - Demo B didn’t change my mind about the game, and I will likely never buy it. I actually finished this demo and got the “Thanks for Playing” screen, and now I can say that I gave Project X Zone a fair shot before dismissing it.

GT Academy 2013 (Gran Turismo 6 demo) (PS3) - I’m familiar with Forza (because I received Forza 3 with my 360) and other sim-style racing games, but this is my first experience playing a Gran Turismo game. GT Academy 2013 did not impress me. The races I went through were way too easy, but the easy difficulty might be a trait of this demo and not the franchise. I also dislike the lack of vehicle damage, and this seems to be a defining characteristic of the franchise. It’s supposed to be a simulation game, but without the threat of damaging my car, I’m compelled to play it an arcade-style way where I push competing vehicles. I’ll be giving the GT franchise another shot in the near future.

June 27, 2013

Project X Zone (Demo A) (3DS) - You’d think that I’d be all over this game. It’s a turn-based RPG with Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega characters. But I didn’t have much fun playing this. Character assortment and non-sensical plot aside, the combat is so off-putting that I had to turn the demo off. No thanks.

June 23, 2013

My copy of Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 (PS2) - It’s been a while since I played it, but that doesn’t matter because these aren’t thoughts about the game itself. Rather, they are thoughts about my (current) copy of the game. I bought it at a movie rental place for dirt cheap, and it is messed-up in so many magical ways. Some levels wouldn’t load, some music won’t load, and the gameplay is atrociously choppy. The best part is that my copy is so messed-up that “Deadly Sinners” by 3 Inches of Blood gets turned into a crazy remix of the song. Score: 85/100 Recommended

Snapshot (PC) and Adventures of Shuggy (PC) - Two quick reviews for the price of one! Both these games are puzzle-platformers (more emphasis on puzzle-solving than platforming), and both games are okay! I didn’t get that much enjoyment out of either of these games, but maybe you will!

June 7, 2013

Hotline Miami (PC) - I only played Hotline Miami for an hour before giving up. It’s quite a stylish game with excellent music, but the gameplay aspect wasn’t enjoyable enough for me to keep playing it. It seems like a stealth kinda game, but there seems to be a lack of clear rules to the stealth, and I brute-forced my way through every encounter because I wasn’t certain about what would cause enemies to be alerted.

Proteus (PC) - Not my kind of game, and you should watch a video or two before considering a purchase. There doesn’t seem to be any real gameplay aspects, so what you see is what you get.

Thomas Was Alone (PC) - It’s a standard puzzle-platformer game with unique narration and art style. Before buying it, you should make absolutely certain that the narration isn’t grating for you: this game is like Bastion in that narration is constant.

Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers (PC) - I want to like this game, but where you need to go is very unclear. And even though you can cut almost anything, you probably shouldn’t cut more than absolutely necessary because you can easily get into situations where you have to restart a level. Gameplay aside, it’s a pretty cool game with excellent music and some funny writing.

Dear Esther (PC, full game) - This is a polarizing game, but I’m fairly neutral on it. Do you like atmospheric, narration-heavy games with very little in the way of gameplay? You’ll probably dig this one. It’s kinda like Proteus in the “what you see is really what you get” sort of way.

May 21, 2013

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (PS2 Classic on PS3) - You will want this game if you’re really into pro wrestling. The gameplay itself is great, but learning how to play requires dedication as you have to learn it by trial-and-error. The game has off-name versions of actual pro wrestlers, so you need to track-down a save file if you want to see real names.

The built-in roster is massive, and the amount of created wrestlers you can have is staggering. The CAW mode itself is a little disappointing. I was able to make a decent version of Wolf from Virtua Fighter with most of his moves, but I could not make Clark from King of Fighters because there is no option for sunglasses.

May 12, 2013

Bleed (PC) - This is a run ‘n’ gun game, but it reminds me more of Devil May Cry than Metal Slug. It has DMC’s weapon switching, emphasis on mobility, and style system. There’s even a “duel boss,” and that’s something that rarely occurs in run ‘n’ gun games. There are a few minor technical problems, and some sections certainly feel unfair (my playthrough was on normal), but Bleed is an enjoyable game. I do have one complaint: dual pistols are extremely powerful, and they make the rest of the weapons feel “situationally better” at best and “completely useless” at worst.

April 27, 2013

Wizorb (PC) - I don’t recommend Wizorb to anyone. It’s an Arkanoid clone, but Wizorb has magic that you can’t really use because it drains your non-regenerating magic meter too quickly. So you’re left with a plain Arkanoid clone with poor, inaccurate controls.

AlphaBounce (DSi/3DS) - This is a great Arkanoid / brick breaker game. You control the paddle using the DS’s bottom screen, and this approach allows for very precise movement. The d-pad is used to fire lasers, missiles, and such. And this game provides the perfect solution to the ‘1 brick left’ problem that faces most of these games: just blow it away with your laser. There are many levels. Many, many levels.

April 22, 2013

eversion (PC) - It’s an indie platformer where you have to shift dimensions in certain locations to solve puzzles. It’s only a few hours long, but I recommend checking it out the next time it goes on sale. I wouldn’t recommend looking at YouTube for gameplay video because random videos tend to spoil puzzles.

Thirty Flights of Loving (PC) - Play Gravity Bone first. Thirty Flights of Loving is kinda like Gravity Bone, but TFoL costs money. I personally enjoyed both games, even if TFoL is more of an interactive short film than it is a game.

The Blocks Cometh (iOS) - Oh boy, it’s another DustinLeavins.Info quick review of an iOS game! You know the drill, I don’t like it! It’s a very basic game similar to that one part of Yoshi’s Island where the blocks are falling down and you have to get Yoshi to the top without squishing him. The ‘virtual buttons’ suit the game better than they did Super Crate Box, but the tilt controls are absurdly poor.

Here are some iOS games that I actually like: Dungeon Raid (want to get the full version soon), Run Roo Run, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.

Shank 2 (PC) - They give you the overpowered weapon (this time, a sledgehammer) at the end of the game! This automatically makes it better than Shank 1. Level settings are varied. You get to watch Shank have fun with a helicopter and a shark! The bad side? It’s a little tough in the ‘game may be busted’ way. Death by stunlock is more frequent than it should be. The dodge move is nearly useless. It’s a little too easy to fall to your death. You get the picture.

Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) - It’s a Donkey Kong Country game, but with a few modern tweaks (like motion controls, checkpoints, health, and floating jumps if you have Diddy). Speaking of motion controls, they are terrible in this game. Gotta shake the Wiimote to roll. That gets old very fast.

I have heard much about DKCR’s difficulty. I only used the super guide once (after losing 20+ lives), and I later completed that level with few problem. That was the last non-boss level of the game. I never saw a Game Over screen, and I usually had plenty of lives. Sure, DKCR is a hard game. But I don’t think that it’s extremely difficult.

March 17, 2013

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (PS3, Demo) - The camera is this game gave me a severe headache. It constantly zoomed and panned everywhere. There were a whole slew of other problems too, but I’m not going to go into detail about any of that!

Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (PS3, Demo) - I really don’t like this game, and I find it to be devoid of any personality. This game reminds me of Bodycount. Remember Bodycount? It was a bland first-person shooter released all the way back in 2011. Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel even has the same basic ‘bonus points for kills’ system that Bodycount has. Bleughck.

Rayman Origins (Xbox 360) - I like this game! It’s very enjoyable, the difficulty is ‘just right’ for me, and everything about it is top-notch. This game even has shoot-em-up levels that aren’t bad. Most games that have occasional shoot-em-up levels do them poorly, but Rayman Origins does it well. I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes video games.

March 13, 2013

Angry Birds (iOS, played on iPod Touch) - I played the Google Chrome version (named Angry Birds Chrome), and I did not enjoy it for long. The gameplay was entirely trial and error, but I was playing with a mouse instead of a touchscreen. After playing it on my iPod Touch, I can safely say that the game doesn’t change when you go from a mouse to a touchscreen.

Infinity Blade (iOS, played on iPod Touch) - This is yet another iOS game that I don’t get the appeal of. It’s like Punch-Out, only you play by swiping the screen and there are RPG-lite mechanics that don’t interest me.

The Cave (360) - There’s this whole narrator spiel at the end of the demo that ends with you being selfish for not buying the game. It’s meant as a joke, but I didn’t laugh.

Double Fine has never made a game with great gameplay, but The Cave has to be their absolute worst in this regard. Please, do not blindly purchase this game because it’s a Double Fine game.

March 3, 2013

Demon’s Souls (PS3) - It has been a while since I played this game, so these thoughts aren’t exactly fresh. This is a good game, but I do not find it that enjoyable. The game forces you to backtrack (and grind) constantly, and many of the mechanics do not seem that well explained in-game. It’s certainly a game for people who are into it. My recommendation is to rent it and play it for a few hours with an open mind.

Dark Souls (Xbox 360) - My thoughts on Dark Souls are exactly the same as my thoughts on Demon’s Souls.

Under Defeat HD (Playstation 3) - I’ve played it some more, and I’m getting back to you on it. New Order Mode is weird! It feels like G.rev took a game meant for a 3:4 aspect ratio and shoehorned it into being playable at 16:9 (rather than re-making the game to be 16:9). Arcade Mode feels & looks a much better, and Arcade Mode also seems easier than New Order Mode. New Order Mode’s music is way better, but you can play Arcade w/ the New Order music.

January 26, 2013

Devil May Cry 4 (PC) - This is a fun game with a few problems. There are two parts of the game: Nero’s and Dante’s. Dante’s part re-uses levels and bosses from Nero’s section of the game. At the end of the game, you fight all of the bosses again, and this means that some bosses are re-used thrice. The gameplay as still good, and Dante is incredibly goofy throughout. DMC4 is easy to get into if you’re new to the Devil May Cry series or played Ninja Theory’s new game and want to see what all the fuss is about.

January 9, 2013

Trials Evolution (Xbox 360) - I liked Trials HD, but my enjoyment of it was severely limited because I could not get good at it. Trials Evolution is an improvement over Trials HD in every possible way, and I highly recommend Trials Evolution to anyone.

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