Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect Review

Game Reviews, Games

Red Bull Crashed Ice Box Art

Typically, when I see a brand name like Red Bull used for a game license, I roll my eyes and set my brain to dismiss.  But Crashed Ice isn’t just some marketing cash in, Red Bull actually sponsors and runs the event every year.  So the inclusion of Red Bull in the title of the game is actually appropriate, and short of the occasional Red Bull powerup in game, there isn’t any cheesy, forced product placement.  Crashed Ice is a solid game that happens to have Red Bull cans floating high in the air at various points in each course.  But to understand the game, it’s best to have a little background on the event on which it is based.

Red Bull Crashed Ice is an extreme winter sport that takes 4 dudes in ice hockey gear (sans sticks) and sends them jamming down an ice course laden with hills, jumps, dips, and curves in a race to first.  I just learned all that myself, so forgive me for not being an expert.  I am here to review the game, not the sport.

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He-Man: The Most Powerful Game (Review) In The Universe

Game Reviews, Games

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I am quite the He-Man fan.  I enjoyed the old series as well as the new.  I love the corny, sometimes self-contradicting messages at the end of the episodes.  I had many of the toys as a youth.  Though I must confess I only had Battle Armor Skeletor and not the original.  I do however have an Orko shirt that my loving wife purchased for me knowing how much of a fan that I am.  So it should come as no surprise that when “He-Man: The Most Powerful Game In The Universe” was announced, this 33 year old shell of a man became temporarily possessed by a six year old boy.

Here are the words of a 33 year old man, tempered by the thoughts of that six year old boy. Continue reading

Zombie Driver HD Review

Game Reviews, Games

zombie driver title

Zombie Driver HD giveaway details:  Follow @Fizmarble on twitter and Retweet our post on this review to be entered to win one of 4 Xbox avatar award codes (skull shirt) or a full version of Zombie Driver HD for XBLA.

There may be some time in the future (whether near or far, no one knows for sure) where it will be boring to face wave after wave of various types of zombies, smashing them into pieces with your car and watching their mangled torsos roll off of the hood of your car.  Now is not that time.

While many gamers people may be bothered by use of zombies in…everything, driving your car into innocents isn’t as accepted as it may have been when video games were less mainstream.  Most folks are ok with killing zombies, so we won’t likely see the end of the zombie killing simulator soon.  And that’s ok, because it means we get fun, if flawed, diversions like EXOR Studios’ Zombie Driver HD.

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Ravaged Review

Game Reviews, Games

2 Dawn Games has a fine lineage.  They bring experience from Battlefield and Frontlines.  They know how to make things go “bang” and “boom”.  Ravaged is the culmination of that experience and then some.  If it isn’t already on your radar, get it there now!

Gameplay

Ravaged pits you and your rough-necked marauders against a band of equally rough-necked marauders.  Teams square off for some good old fashioned killing and stealing. The game mode available to me at the time of review was Capture The Resource.  In this mode, players must travel from their spawn point, moving across the map and capturing bases and eventually, resources that are held in the enemy camp.  Capturing bases grants your team the ability to spawn there, while capturing resources nets your team points.  Kills don’t count towards your team’s score, but it’s still important to take out those rascals trying to steal your team’s resources.

While on foot, game can be played in either first person or third person perspectives and is swappable at the press of a button.  I preferred the first person view, so that’s how I played.

There are five playable classes, and each class has a Primary weapon, a secondary weapon, some type of grenade, and a melee weapon.  The classes and their primary weapons are Bandit (SMG), Warrior (Assault Rifle), Bodyguard (RPG), Assassin (Sniper Rifle), Grunt (Heavy Machine Gun).

You start on foot, but like in Battlefield, you don’t need to stay that way.  Players spawn with several mobility options including quads, jeeps, pickup trucks, and helicopters, most of which allow you to buddy up with a teammate or two while one drives and the others do the shooting.  While you are not completely harmless against opponents who are in vehicles, you are mostly defenseless, so if you find yourself in the middle of the wasteland without a ride, you have a fair chance of ending up as someone’s hood ornament.

Both player movement speed and vehicle speed seemed right on and balanced.  Turning in the vehicles with the WASD is a little unnatural, but functional.  The vehicle physics have a nice balance of arcade and realistic behavior.  Crashing into another vehicle at high speeds doesn’t result in both vehicles crushed into unrecognizable masses.  Instead, you get a some thrilling spins and flips as both drivers struggle to be the first to regain control.

Graphics

While “post apocalyptic wasteland” doesn’t usually beg for beautiful vistas, if you’ve got the video card, Ravaged has the pretty.  I loved the details in the vehicles, and the look of the rocky terrain (I know it’s just rocks, but I am a sucker for geology).

Explosions are satisfying  Shooting and running animations are natural and realistic, and the look of choppers and land vehicles in motion was glassy smooth.

The level design is also impressive.  Hills and long inclines are present where many other games settle for flat maps.  This adds to the visual aspect of Ravaged, as well as the playability of the maps.  Enemy targets are harder to hit when cresting and falling over the dunes, but it just looks more interesting because of the rolling hills and natural structures that populate the game worlds.

The man-made structures vary from simple, small, single floor buildings to large ramshackle fortresses.  All of this fits the mood and setting of Ravaged nicely.

Sound

There isn’t much to say about the audio work here.  Gun and vehicle sounds are well sampled and executed, and there is some cool echoing and occlusion with the sounds seemingly acting like their real life counterparts would.

There is no epic score here, it’s kind of a “bring your own jams” occasion, but we don’t think you’ll mind the scarcity of tunes, what with all of the ‘shooting and dying’ going on.

This Means War

The nature of a multiplayer-only game means that it’s only as strong as it’s community.  Ravaged has the potential to take off and build a strong community.  The folks I played with were helpful and generally good sports.  A good start indeed.

Since this is a multiplayer-only game, there is no vast campaign to play through and there is no leveling up, meaning everyone is on the same footing from the start.  The only thing that will get your team the win is the skill and teamwork you bring.  This is a pro/con feature.  On the plus side, you won’t get worked by some level 50 that has unlocked the super sniper or some insanely overpowered killing machine.  Unfortunately, this means there is no carrot-on-a-stick dangling in front of those who may come from Call of Duty backgrounds and love their perks and unlocks.

But regardless of what camp you honed your shooting skills at, Ravaged brings a surprisingly fresh take (given the wasteland setting) on the multiplayer shooter genre and is worth a look.

Four out of Five

Preorder/Buy Ravaged here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/96308/

Hell Yeah! Review – Hell, Maybe

Game Reviews, Games

title

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit.  Simply based on the title alone, it sounds like we are going to have a good time.  We’ve got an enthusiastic name, some anger, and a dead leporid.  Throw them all together and it seems like you’ve got party central.  Unfortunately, the sum of the parts doesn’t quite add up.  While there are some fantastic elements to Hell Yeah! (HY!), a few persistent issues subtract from what could have been a brilliant package.

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Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy – A Fizmarble Review

Game Reviews, Games

In 2009 it stormed on to the PSP. In 2011 it burst on to Xbox Live Arcade & The Playstation Network. Now Half Minute Hero sets its sights on the PC via Steam with its Super Mega Neo Climax ULTIMATE BOY edition. Who knew such sudden and instant action could have such a long lasting effect. Be prepared for all manner of temporal cliche on my part.

A lot of people would be hard pressed to call this an RPG. Maybe ADDRPG is more appropriate. So many RPG’s that came before drag in their vastness and desire to be “epic” and end up parodies of the genre or just empty of digital heart & soul. Half Minute Hero is an RPG completely aware of those tired traits and yawn inspiring facets of confusingly named past entries and spat out sequels of title’s which once held former glory. This game has cut the frivolous fat and is streamlined, breaking it down to the simplicity of speedy fight or flight.

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Realms of Ancient War (RAW) Review

Game Reviews, Games

RAW cover

Realms of Ancient War (RAW) is a hack n’ slash/action RPG from French developer Wizarbox.  It borrows elements of Diablo, Torchlight, and basically every other dungeon crawler ever made.  We don’t expect these types of games to break new ground, it’s pretty much entirely iterative now, and that’s ok.  But we do expect that if you are going make a dungeon crawler, you meet the standard set before us.  It is unfortunate that I must tell you that RAW doesn’t meet the standard.  I will however tell you where and how RAW fails to comply with the aforementioned standards.

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Dust: An Elysian Tail Review – Art in motion

Game Reviews, Games

I don’t want to wait until the end of the review to tell you I think this game is amazing and that you should buy it.  I feel like it almost does an injustice to the efforts of it’s creators to pick it apart and tell you what I think of it’s elements.  But I was selected to inform you, based on my opinion, if this game is worth your time and money.  It is, and because it’s my job, I will tell you why.

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