The Doctor's Prognosis: Batman Hands-On + MORE~!!

The Doctor's Prognosis: Batman - Arkham Asylum Hands-On Impressions! + MORE~!!

After my long hiatus, it is finally time for the return of another hotly anticipated Doctor's Prognosis!

I have been soooooooo busy with cinema stuff which is why I have scarcely been on here. I am in a cla.ss all about the business aspects of film. We form a group of four and must work on preproduction of a script of our choosing. A lot of work but a lot of fun.

I also have a directing cla.ss which was taking up much of my time. I had to choose a scene from a script or play and then cast it, rehearse, and present it live to the cla.ss. So it required a lot of work to set up but it estventually came together.

On top of that, I am taking a cinematography cla.ss which requires taking photos and makng short videos. The hard part is making sure the lighting is correct. Pretty difficult when you don't even want to do lighting work. But it is always good to know every aspect as well as you can.

I have been trying to read everyone's blogs as much as I can and keeping my eye on certain games. We all know which one... more on that later.

As for my gaming habits, I have been neglecting Final Fantasy XII. It's a great game but I guess I find it too involved. Maybe I just don't have time to finish RPGs anymore? Yet I let a close friend of mine talk me into playing Pokemon Platinum. He hooks me up all the time so I am playing it just so he has someone to trade with. Though I doubt he needs me, it's still a fun game to play even today.

Anyway, I have been mostly playing with my 360. Street Fighter IV was awesome and recently finished playing Resident Evil 5 as well so I got reviews for those two. Also downloaded the two map packs for Gears 2. They are much better than I thought they'd be. I really like the level design and playing Horde Mode is a blast with my friends. I highly recommend downloading them if you have Gears 2 and still play it.

Also got some movies I want to review but will have to leave them for next blog because my video game writing is going to take up my blog well enough.

So let's start with some news!

Batman News

Before getting to the Hands-On, I thought I'd share some news in case you haven't been following this game like I have.

First off is the Collector's Edition. Oh man. I can't wait. Love the look of the Batarang and the Doctor's Journal. Plus I like that if you preorder it with Gamestop, you get an exclusive "Villain Challenge Map." Not really clear what that is exactly but extras are always welcome.

Since I work at Best Buy, I will likely buy the CE with some kind of discount at my store. However, I would rather get it with Gamestop if my friend that works there can hook me up with his discount plus the exclusive download. If not, I will just have to settle for the Best Buy release since I refuse to pay so much. If I didn't get a discount, I probably would end up just getting it with Gamestop though.

Also recently revealed is that Bane is confirmed! Just click on the second pic down. Pretty cool huh?

Anyway, there are some cool videos around and you are missing some cool footage if you haven't checked them out. I guess it's up to me.

Here is the Predator Mode Video. Old video now but figure it's worth revisiting.

And here it is in High Definition.

And the newest video is the Extended Silent Knight Demo. Awesome video that shows off the stealthy gameplay. Can't wait until I can try it out too.

And once again in High Definition.

I had to watch that one several times. Really makes me want this game now.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Hands-On Impressions

You read that right. I got to try out this game. How? Well apparently, the demo has been very quietly sneaking into Targets, Best Buys, and Gamestops provided the Sony rep has been in the store to update the PS3 kiosk. Well my Best Buy did not have it but I kept reading in the forums about this and even saw some pictures. I went to the Target above my Best Buy and sure enough, Arkham Asylum Challenge Room demo!

Unfortunately, the way the demo is set up, you cannot try the Silent Knight demo or a similar stealth demo. Instead, it's a demo to show the player how to fight. It's very simple. Batman is smack dab in the middle of a room and is attacked by a few thugs. Square is for striking, Triangle for counters, Circle for stunning, and X was for dodging (I think). Should have paid a little more attention to that one.

You have access to Batarangs but they are not very effective in this mode. They are fun to throw nonetheless. You can also bring up the Detective Mode HUD but it's kind of useless in this mode. But these things are there to play around with so it makes it feel more complete.

The first wave of thugs were very easy, as I used regular strikes mostly. The addictive part comes when thugs try to attack. A blue lightning bolt appears above their head and you must react with a counter. Batman will catch and counter these attacks even as his back is turned. The whole thing looks very fluid and makes you feel like a real bada$$ as you take down your enemies.

There are 4 rounds of thugs that come at you and each one has more enemies, some with weapons. Getting hit makes Batman stagger as the screen goes somewhat black and white. At the same time, getting hit brings up double vision to make you feel the effects of getting hit. This forces the player to make sure to connect with counters more often.

When more thugs begin appearing, using stun is a good idea so you don't have to deal with so many at once. Because the enemies will surround you and try to beat on you all at once. You can also use the X button to roll out of harm's way and, while I'm not certain it was because I pressed X, I was able to vault over an enemy's back and land a strong kick on another thug behind him. Furthermore, fighting is done somewhat in slow-motion to help you get the timing correctly. Sometimes, the camera would get in very close to give you a better look at some of Batman's bone-crunching moves. Really cool, cinematic stuff.

The demo definitely wasn't perfect either as the camera kind of got into some weird postitions. But this was few and far between. And it only happened when it got up close while I was in the middle of a move in slow-mo so it didn't affect my fighting. Hopefully it doesn't get in the way in the real game either.

I am cautiously optimistic as I really liked what I played. however it is important to know that it was only one gameplay aspect and one fraction of the entire game. It's like trying to judge a Zelda game based on fighting waves of Octorocks. It's just not enough. Hopefully Rocksteady can add more difficulty and variety to the finished game. I'm hoping they release a stealth demo next. Hopefully on XBL and PSN so I can try it many times in my own home. So far I am impressed and look forward to more.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is currently expected for a June release for $59.99 with the Collector's Edition going for $99.99. No official date has been given but keep your eyes peeled.

Street Fighter IV Review

After so much time, Capcom can finally count to 4! And I bet some people did not even know there was a 3.

Taking place between Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III, Street Fighter IV features the cla.ssic characters so many grew to love from SF2, stereotypes and all.

New to the series are Rufus, a stereotypical nerdy American male that also taught himself Kung Fu through correspondence mail; Crimson Viper, the kind of girl I see a lot around my town (Hollywood) where she resembles a hard-working business lady but still tries to be girly (but she's really a butt-kicking agent); Abel, a French mixed martial artist; and El Fuerte, a Mexican luchador who also happens to be a cook. Even Gouken, Ryu and Ken's long-lost master and brother to Akuma (correct me if I am wrong) is included this time. And after years of EGM messing with our minds.

All the new characters are actually fun to use but can be difficult to master. Viper has a lot of fakes that are difficult to pull off but is extremely deadly in the right hands.

El Fuerte is also difficult to use. Fuerte is extremely fast but can't dish out damage so well. You will have to fake out your opponent and mix up your attacks to beat them. Furthermore, his Ultra is very difficult to land.

Ultras are a new staple to the series as well. As you take damage, the Ultra Meter fills up. Once you have enough energy in the Ultra Meter, you can unleash a powerful attack similar to a Super. Ultras usually do a lot of damage though, and the trade-off is leaving yourself wide open if you miss.

Another new edition are Focus Attacks. This new move takes place of Parries which were a staple of SF3. Focus Attacks act a lot like parries. Using a FA lets you block an attack and immediately counter with your own. If you charge it long enough by holding down the MK and MP buttons, your attack becomes unblockable. Theya re much easier to execute than parries were. Parries required precise timing and execution depending on when you got hit and from where. But FAs only need to be held down until you are hit. You simply let go of MK+MP after getting hit to counterattack.

FA also can't be abused as much as parries were in SF3 because each successful FA takes away a little health. Your health does regenerate as long as you don't get hit. But if you do, you will lose extra health along with the health lost from using the FA. So it forces the player to use it more strategically.

Focus Attacks are also more versatile than just using them as a replacement for parries. You can dash out of them by double tapping forward or backward. This is great for baiting your opponent to attack and to set up combos. It's also a nice escape in case you guess wrong and try to FA an attack that never came. So Focus Attacks are a welcome addition as they help alleviate the problems players had with parries as they are much easier to execute and are versatile enough for the hardcore players to get a kick out of them.

As for what else is returning, Supers and EX attacks are back again. The Super Meter is divided into segments. The whole meter can be used to execute the Super while the segments can be used for EX attacks (beefed up versions of special attacks). Part of the strategy will involve when to use Supers, EX attacks, and combining these old aspects with the new Focus Attacks and Ultras.

Also returning are a select group of characters from older Street Fighter games. Rose, Cammy, and Dan (among others) are welcome additions to roster, though you must unlock them.

The game definitely feels like Street Fighter, however, it feels a bit slower than previous games in the series. Despite that, it feels great and the controls are responsive. I had little trouble playing using only my 360 d-pad, to my surprise. Joysticks will give you an edge but skill will always win. My Balrog can attest to that. Just ask the myriad Ken players.

One of the only negatives is the final boss, Seth. He is actually quite easy once you know his patterns and understand how the CPU uses him. However, Seth can be very cheap and frustrating to the new player. He is extremely quick, has Dhalsim's stretch arms, Guile's Sonic Boom, Dragon Punches, Zangief's SPD, and an easy-to-jump-into Ultra that will annoy the heck out of you. He can teleport too. When he knocks you down, he teleports several times and will either dragon punch you (if you jump near him) or SPD you (if you are on teh ground near him). It is difficult to get away from him once you are knocked down. If there is any silver lining, it's that he can't resurrect like Gill could. Thank God!

Of course there is online play. You can play ranked or player matches. It can sometimes be difficult to find someone to play with. And ranked matches can be frustrating if losers keep disconnecting. I never had anyone disconnect from me but I played Balrog in my ranked matches. I think playing as a shoto like Akuma or Ken will get more DCs but that's just an educated guess. Ranked matches do seem to have mostly shotos. Overall, play the player matches instead. You will get more variety and you can try out different characters without worrying about losing matches and points.

Many are asking for matches similar to older XBL SF games. Before, you could have a room with a few players and the loser would get replaced with another player in the room. The point was to emulate the arcade feel where players watch and quarter up. However, lag probably would prevent this from taking place in this newest game. Especially since the game is more graphic intensive than previous SF games.

One glaring omission, however, is anykind of tournament mode. So many fighting games have a mode like this. It is true though that you can have plenty of fun just playing online but the lack of a tournament mode does hurt since it's such a staple of the genre. Hopefully Capcom remedies this in the future.

Also adding to replayability is the challenge mode. You have survival matches where you must defeat a certain amount of enemies sometimes with various stipulations (such as no super moves or being unable to see the opponent's health bar), and time trials where you must defeat a certain amount of enemies in a time limit (also sometimes with stipulations). Also available are Trial Modes for each character. If you are up to the challenge, and maybe a masochist, you can try out your hand at these challenging trials. The first few are always easy as you just need to execute special moves and basic combos. But the later ones require some extremely precise timing. Great for hardcore players but prepare to be frustrated with some of these challenges.

Street Fighter has come a long way since the days of Street Fighter II. Street Fighter IV, despite it's negatives, is a deep and engaging fighting game that will keep you busy for a long time. If this is a sign of things to come from Capcom then sign me up. I give Street Fighter IV a 9 out of 10.

Resident Evil Review

Resident Evil is series that has come a long way since its inception on the first PlayStation. RE4 was a groundbreaking game in the series and took the series in a new direction. The question was, could Capcom strike gold again with RE5?

It keeps the same over-the-shoulder gameplay that RE4 had the controls are also largely the same, though you do have some options on how you prefer to play. But RE5 does try some new things. What's new is the co-op nature of the gameplay. Furthermore, it has become more of a run-and-gun type of game. Something similar to Gears of War.

Now I know some people don't like the comparison to Gears of War. But it is difficult to escape that comparison because RE5 is so adamant about using gameplay elements from that series. Late in the game there is even a cover system. It works pretty well, but the gameplay just isn't as fast and intuitive as Gears of War. But one thing they did right was keeping Chris and Sheva together where Gears 2 was so adamant about splitting you up and putting you in so many vehicles.

Getting back to controls, RE5 is steadfast in keeping things status quo. The truth is, RE4 was revolutionary for its time. But after games like Gears of War have taken that formula and improved it so much, RE5 fails to keep up with the times. It was like playing a clunkier version of Gears. You still can't shoot while you move and ammo can still be a problem at times.

Furthermore, the story just doesn't impress as well as previous games. I have never played a RE game where I wouldn't watch the game being played just to see the story. They always drew me in. This time it just falls a little flat.

Now this game is not horrible. It can be a blast playing with a friend. I played the whole game with friends because trying to play alone got boring very quickly. It has lots of cool, large bosses to kill and a lot of varied environments (though they do seem random).

Another big positive is its replayability. Collecting money to unlock better weapons and upgrade them is a great gameplay element. Unlocking unlimited ammo for one of the magnums can make it easier to take on the task of finishing the game on hard mode. If you're a masochist, you can try the hardest mode which kills you if you get attacked just once. Talk about insane!

RE5 also has a Mercenaries mode where you have a limited amount of time to kill as many enemies as possible. Racking up combos and attaining more time is part of the challenge. It can get hectic and is a fun addition.

RE5 also has tons of unlockables. Lots of figurines to unlock which are a lot like the trophies from Smash Bros., except a lot scarier. As mentioned, tons of weapons to unlock and completists may want to attempt to get the unlimited rocket launcher. Of course, there are cool outfits to buy for our heroes as well as visual filters so the game looks like some old scary movie. RE fans will have their hands full unlocking everything so it definitely has longevity.

Resident Evil 5 definitely isn't perfect. But it is fun enough for fans to waste time away with some friends. The question is, will you find it fun enough to go through unlocking everything after you finish the story mode? I give Resident Evil 5 a 7.5 out of 10.

Cosplayer of the Blog

Will not be seen tonight because I am tired and a little under the weather. Blah! I finally get some more free time and I feel sick. Sorry but I am too tired to find something to post today. It will return next time though. I promise.

Oh what the heck. Here's an oldie to tide you over.

I love her too.

Anyway I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend and Spring Break.

See you next time!

2 Comments

The Doctor's Prognosis: RE5 Demo + NEW Batman Trailer + MORE~!!

Hello and welcome to another edition of The Doctor's Prognosis! I am your humble host, Dr. C-LOS!

Recently started playing Final Fantasy XII (finally!) after buying it on day one. Geez I don't think I need to buy any games for some time with my backlog. But I really want Street Fighter IV and one of those MaCatz Fight Sticks. What to do?

Anyway, finished Marvel: Ultimate Alliance so I got a review for that. But I got a few other things I wanted to talk about as well so let's get to it. And not all game related either...

Gran Torino Review

Ok so many of you may have heard about this film. It focuses on a bigot that somehow develops a close relationship with a young boy of Hmong culture. I thought it was good but I do have one complaint... And this is probably the biggest complaint you will hear about this film: the acting, for the most part, is atrocious.

Almost every person in this film comes off as never being in a film before. I swear that I got better performances out of my brother and his girlfriend for my student film than Clint Eastwood did out of his actors. In fact, I think every bad actor in almost any bad student film I have seen has been on par or better than Gran Torino. Well maybe not Clint Eastwood himself.

Also, many might be put off by what appears to be a very racist main character. Almost every line Clint's character spouts is derogatory in some way.

But despite the bad acting, racist remarks, and a story that is a little familiar, it must be saying something about Clint Eastwood that I was entertained greatly by this film. Somehow, I ended up laughing a lot and caring about some of the characters. By the end of the film, Clint's character didn't even seem racist anymore.

So despite its flaws, Gran Torino is an entertaining film with great character development. Big thumbs up.

Resident Evil 5 Demo Impressions

This is the talk of the town right now and I should admit that I wasn't very excited to try it out. But I did want to see how good the game was going to be so I downloaded it the day it was out and I was enjoying what I got to try.

I should point out that the demo was pretty short but sweet. You get to choose out of two scenarios and can play by yourself or with a partner (online or offline). I played by myself and I found the controls to be just fine. Pretty much the same as RE4 but now you can trade items with a partner. I took my partner's machine gun letting her fend for herself with just her pistol.

The action was pretty hectic being bombarded by enemies from all sides. But I never found myself running out of ammo. Especially since all you needed to do was shoot them in the face and press the X button to give them a good hook or straight punch. My partner even did a good job making sure I was healed.

Each scenario plays a little differently and even had its own big baddy to take care of. One has a large hooded guy with a big heavy axe and the other a scary chainsaw maniac with a one-hit kill attack. I learned about the instant kill attack the hard way.

Also, the first scenario is more about survival in a large open area. A great area to play back to back with a buddy. The second area was more about seperating but helping each other out. You get to try out a sniper rifle and pick off enemies attacking Sheva from across buildings. So hopefully the final game tries to keep it varied like this throughout.

So far, Resident Evil 5 looks a lot like Resident Evil 4 with amazing graphics and co-op play. This is kind of a double-edged sword as they haven't really improved much but the addition of co-op could make this a great game to play with a friend.

My prognosis: Resident Evil 5 probably won't be groundbreaking stuff like Resident Evil 4 was, but it will be a great addition to your library if you're looking for a fun action game to play with a friend. I will probably skip it at release though because I have little extra spending money lately. Maybe next year.

What's that? I could have saved money for the game switching to Geico? Noooooooo!

This guy just found that out too.

I feel for you buddy. We're in the same boat. But it doesn't mean you got to keep following me.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Review

Finally finished this game for the 360 and I really enjoyed it.

For the most part, I feel that the game has a great difficulty curve in the main story. Since this game has RPG elements, the enemies get stronger as you advance in the game and so do you! So you could overpower your characters if you want to by using the simulator missions. It's a great way to practice and learn what abilities you want to use and how you want to customize your characters.

And there are a lot of characters to utilize in this game. You can distribute points on abilities when you level up but thankfully you can redistribute those points if you decide you don't like how you spent them. It can be overbearing for some if you just want to get in there and beat people up so you can set point distribution to automatic.

However, it is important to note that not every character is meant to be used to just run in and start punching. That's a great way to kill off Doctor Strange, who has a lot of great magical abilities. And I really liked that about this game.

There is a lot of depth to each character. Each character has at least 3 outfits (most have 4) to use that all add different stats depeding on how you want to customize them. And they each have several abilities to use that range from boosting your team's defense to destroying any enemies within range.

Unfortunately, some characters are more powerful than others. For some reason, I could not keep Elektra alive. But Hulk never had any problem laying the smack down. He was super strong and had a boosting ability that made him bigger, stronger, and faster. Hulk was a killing machine and it didn't hurt that he regenerated health.

Some of the best characters have to be unlocked and that's also where some of the best challenges in the game come. To unlock Silver Surfer, who can heal your entire team, you have to get at least a bronze rating on every simulator mission in the game. But you have to find each simulator disc in the game first. And some can only be found once. So if you miss it you have to start all over.

And sim missions are more challenging than the main story because the sim mission enemies level up with your characters. And most sim missions are solo missions where you can only play as one character so that you can unlock that character's 4th outfit. So you need to upgrade every character's outfits and abilities if you want to survive and unlock Silver Surfer. Some will definitely be harder than others though. It took me one try for The Thing's mission while it took a couple for Elektra's mission. And good luck trying to get Gold ratings on all the missions.

One thing I did not like was the system for gear/eqipment. Defeating bosses or finding treasure coffers would often net you gear to equip on your heroes so that they get boosts to defense or abilities and such. Most of the time, I felt like they didnt really add much. I think they helped for some of the solo sim missions with the added defense or damage. But usually I found it best helped if I just spent the money on boosting my characters' outfits and abilities.

Another thing was the graphics were a bit uneven. The game looks like a PS2 game in HD which isn't too bad. But the framerate was inconsistent. And some of the cutscenes looked worse than the gameplay graphics. Basically like PS2 graphics used for a cutscene. But some of the other cutscenes looked amazing. The opening one looked awesome as did the one with Galactus.

Regardless of the negatives, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a lot of fun and had a great story that served to get you all over the Marvel Universe. The gameplay is fun playing alone or with a friend. I definitely recommend it to any Marvel fan or anyone looking for a fun action game to play alone or with friends. You can find it on the cheap now too. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

NEW Batman: Arkham Asylum Trailer

You must be living under a rock if you haven't seen this yet. But it's good enough to visit again (in HD).

All I can say is, "WOW!" The animation looked great as the fighting looked fluid. I cannot wait to see more on this game. As a huge Batman fan, I really like what I have read and seen so far. I love that Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy are in it. I just wish other voice actors from the old animated series would reprise their roles. But my biggest hope is that the game is good.

Well they now have a release window as Summer 2009 so I guess we will find out somewhere between the beginning of June and the end of August. I hope they release a demo beforehand too.

Cosplayer of the Blog

This girl is apparently a character named Dizzy. Though I know not where from. Nor do I care.

Good God woman! She's not nude but... I mean... she might as well be! Want to see more?

Gee I wonder why there are so many guys around her?

Ok now for the ladies. I now realize that you don't like the bad boys. You like men with jobs!

Yeah! Captain of his own ship he is! Can't snub your nose at that can you? Nor to any pilot for that matter.

Why he could take you up to romantic getaways in the sky. Dreamy huh?

And if you like a bad boy with a paying job then how about this?

A bounty hunter! I think! Well he is a man in uniform and that's sexy right? Right?

Anyway, thanks again for making another appointment with The Doctor's Prognosis!

For I am the doctor changing blogs everywhere for the better. Change we can believe in!

See you next time!

8 Comments

The Doctor's Prognosis: Banjo and Gears 2 Reviews + MORE~!!

Hello everybody! Merry Belated Christmas and Happy Belated New Year! And welcome to another edition of The Doctor's Prognosis!

Meant to write this sooner but when the fall semester ended, I suddenly realized I had all these other responsibilities too. Isn't life just grand? Well at least I got to go out quite a bit though.

Went to this 80's club with some friends and I only remember parts of the night because I had one drink too many. Well at least I remember making out with this cute blonde girl on stage but I never got her name (too loud) and didn't even try to get her number (too drunk).

We are going back this weekend as a going away party for my good friend so here's to meeting even more random girls!

Anyway, started playing Marvel: Ultimate Alliance again. Great game and I should finish it before the end of the month. Finished some other games too so I thought I'd share my thoughts on those...

Banjo-Kazooie Review

Well I finally got to see what all the fuss was about with the original Banjo-Kazooie being released on XBox Live Arcade and it is definitely worth the purchase.

Banjo-Kazooie plays a lot like Mario64 except that the worlds feel more open-ended. While Mario64 levels always throw different challenges at you each time you play the level to collect different stars, BK lets you do everything all at once if you'd like. Go around collecting notes or rescuing Jingos. And go find Jiggies (BK's version of Mario's stars) while you're at it. The control is tight so finding Jiggies and notes is lots of fun and addicting.

The music is catchy and the graphics are what you'd expect from an N64 port. But the graphics do look cleaner than what I remember from the old console.

The levels feel huge. And this is one of the game's downfalls too. Do you like climbing a giant tree only to get hit by a bird, falling all the way down, and losing most of your life in the process? I know I don't. And sometimes I had trouble figuring out where to go next to find the next Jiggy. Some of them are a little too well hidden or tricky to find. But I do think it says a lot that I kept getting back up and climbing that tree again. And exploring the levels and uncovering secrets really feels rewarding.

Another thing I didn't like was the trivia game. But it did lead to a great surprise after I finished it. I would even say it was one of the best surprises in any game. I'm not going to spoil it other than to say that it was something that ended up being surprisingly challenging.

And one last thing... Can all developers creating platforming games please not make any more swimming levels? Swimming levels just aren't all that great.

Anyway, despite my nitpicking, BK is loads of fun and is highly recommended to platformer fans.

I give Banjo-Kazooie an 8.5 out of 10.

Gears of War 2 Review

Here is a game many were looking forward to and with good reason. The first Gears had an innovative cover system, a challenging campaign mode, and a multiplayer mode with longevity.

So how does Gears 2 shape up? Well they pretty much did what you would expect, gave us a bigger and better campaign. The best thing about the new campaign is that the story is much improved. Dom has a side story with him worrying about his girl. And Marcus' past plays a big role in the story as well. The only thing I would critique is that the story isn't finished. It leaves you wanting more and really raises more questions then it answers.

Another bad point to the campaign are the vehicles. Some of them are kind of cool and provide some great visuals. But usually they feel like they run a little too long. And they are just not as fun as when you are on foot. I think it helps to break up the monotony to add some variety but the vehicle portions were a little overdone.

Not helping things was that Marcus and Dom get split up quite a bit during the game. Might as well be playing solo then. There were a couple times where it felt right like when one player has to turn off lasers so the other can pass. But other times it felt like they were splitting us up just to split us up. I hope they remedy this for the next Gears. And adding more people for co-op wouldn't hurt either. Four-player co-op campaign in huge battlefields sounds nice to me.

Now the multiplayer is the meat of the game of course and buying a new copy nets you improved maps from the first game. The new maps are great as well and now feature 5 on 5 battles. They changed the room system though. Now you have a matching system so they automatically match you with other players based on your preferred settings. This is a double-edged sword because they guarantee you can find someone to play with. But it can take really long to find a game. Especially if you need to find team members. If you have 9 friends with Gears 2 then you're set! Otherwise, go find some.

The best addition to Gears 2 is the all new Horde Mode. Now this is really challenging and will keep players coming back for more. Horde Mode pits up to 5 players against waves of Locust. Each wave gets more and more difficult as they require more hits to take down and need less hits to take you down. The Horde Mode will make you hate... no... abhor Blood Mounts.

I was able to finish all 50 waves of Horde Mode and get the achievement with 3 friends. But we had to do the last wave on Casual difficulty because we kept dying in like 20 seconds on Normal. Yeah it's that hard. Or we suck.

So despite the negatives, Gears 2 redeems itself with surprisingly improved graphics, refined gameplay, a great campaign with awesome boss fights, and a fun challenge with Horde Mode.

I give Gears of War 2 a 9 out of 10.

Cosplayer of the Blog

I have no idea who this girl is or who she is supposed to be but DAMN!

I don't know what she's selling. But I'll take twelve!

Now for the ladies! Here is Travis Touchdown!

Actually I have no clue if he's good-looking or not but pretty much every male cosplayer I find looks funny. This was the best I could find. Or was it?

You ladies like bad boys right? Well how about this bad boy?

Yeah you like that? Screaming for a light saber from the dark side are you?

Well it doesn't help that the best looking cosplay "guys" are usually girls pretending to be guys. Maybe I'll find something better for next time? We'll see.

Anyway, thanks for making another appointment with The Doctor's Prognosis! Here is a funny video as a token of my appreciation.

See you next time!

5 Comments

The Doctor's Prognosis: Batman Arkham Asylum Gameplay Vid + MORE!

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Doctor's Prognosis! The only blog too big to really be considered a blog!

Good news is I am almost done with the semester which means maybe I can start dating regularly again.... maybe!

Also, maybe I can catch up on my backlog of games to play/finish as well.

Been playing Gears 2 quite a bit. Will probably have a mini-review next time. Also borrowed MK vs. DC so I will have to mention that in my next blog after having more playtime with it. Anyway got some new game impressions so lets get into it.

Left 4 Dead Demo Impressions

Ok so this game has a lot of buzz but I have to admit I did not like the demo. It got boring after a while. But it was pretty cool to be surrounded by zombies and then spin around really fast while holding down on the trigger. Guess what? I actually survived and killed them off like that. I thought that was kind of lame.

Now to be fair, this was only single-player campaign and I have the feeling that the game is great fun with a group of people (living and undead) to play with. I could see myself doing that for a couple of days before getting bored with that too. Because shooting easy-to-kill zombies with more people is more fun, but in the end is still just shooting easy-to-kill zombies.

Eh, I know that my opinion probably won't be very popular but it wasn't my cup of tea. And I was looking forward to it too.

Naruto: Broken Bond Demo Impressions

Ok so some will think I invalidate my previous opinion with this one but I actually liked this demo.

The first part wasn't all that great. You run around as Naruto and it does mimic the way Naruto and the other ninjas run around in the anime. But the controls for the running didn't feel as tight as I would have liked. I did like the little jumping minigame where you keep going faster if you time your button pressing correctly.

The fighting wasn't anything revolutionary but good enough for Naruto fans. It is simple but can be repetitive. The cool thing was being able to do hand signs to perform jutsus and playing as the different Naruto characters. Some of the jutsus help you solve little puzzles on the field map too.

Anyway, I could see myself having some fun with this game as a rental for a week or two. Not good for anyone not familiar with Naruto. Check out the demo if you're a Naruto fan. It even includes Japanese audio!

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts Demo Impressions

Alright so I was looking forward to playing a Banjo game for the first time and hoping this would be good. Well I was hoping for a platformer and what I got was a vehicular game instead. Epic meh!

Anyway, this demo gives you an idea of how to build your own vehicles which is a cool idea. You get to try out one stage to get an idea of the gameplay. I was not impressed.

I took my box-mobile and tried exploring the first level to find something to do and ran into some mole that wanted me to take part in a race. I did and had to maneuver through some rings while trying to outrace some other challengers. Yawn.....

Yeah so I could see some kids liking this game but stay away if you want a good platformer. It's not really a bad game, just not what I wanted.

Banjo-Kazooie Trial Game Impressions

I finally got to try out the original Banjo (on XBox Live Arcade) to see what all the fuss was about and boy was I hooked! It plays a lot like a Mario game with it's own brand of humor. Kazooie and that Mole made me LOL poking fun at each other.

Normally I hate collecting stuff in a game but I actually got hooked wanting to keep looking for more Jiggies and notes and stuff. Now I know what the fuss was all about. Very fun gameplay with tight controls. Forget Nuts and Bolts! Buy this addictive game on XBox Live Arcade instead!

Batman: Arkham Asylum Trailer

Just revealed! New trailer featuring actual gameplay footage and a brief look at some of the villains. Recognizable villains include Joker and Killer Croc. There is also some not so recognizable characters. One looks like it could be the obscure Amygdala, and another one could be the equally obscure Zsasz... maybe? Anyway check it out in Hi-Res!

(BTW... Anyone know how to embed video here?)

Cosplayer of the Blog

Keeping in theme somewhat, here is the lovely Catwoman!

Ok so that's not THE Catwoman. But I don't hear anyone complaining.

Ok now one for the women. Reno of the Turks!

Hmmmm.... Actually, that one might BE a woman. Or just an effeminate man. Sometimes it's hard to tell. But that's the way Final Fantasy characters are supposed to look anyway right?

Thanks for making another appointment with The Doctor's Prognosis! I hope next time I won't wait another whole month. Maybe that way it won't be so long. Well, at least my writing is good quality with mostly correct spelling and grammar!

See you next time!

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The Doctor's Prognosis: Bioshock Beat + Gears 2 + MORE~!!

Hello all and welcome to another long overdue edition of The Doctor's Prognosis! I keep putting these off and they get bigger than I really want them to be. Maybe because I'm too lazy to always be finding new cosplayers.

Anyway, still been too busy with my editing c|ass. I don't think I'm as good at it as I'd like to be but it's necessary to know even if it's not my career goal to become an editor. You have to know every aspect of film/television if you want to succeed. At least I think it's important. Plus I can't get my degree without it.

Anyway, moving on to some reviews and game impressions.

Bioshock Beat

Yes you read that correctly. After more than a year, I have finally finished Bioshock and what a game. I decided to give it a 9 out of 10 and here are the pros and cons...

For one, the game can get very easy using only the electric plasmid and the wrench. I am the type that is hesitant to use his ammo because he is afraid he will be low on it soon. I call it "Resident Evil Syndrome." As a result, I played the game almost entirely this way. I only used my other weapons when fighting Big Daddies which weren't as hard once I figured out a cool method that took about 3 hits: plant 3 mines on an explosive canister and use your telekinesis to lob it at the Big Daddy. This does so much damage that you only need like 2 Electric Buck shots from your shotgun to put him down. Yawn.

Anyway, that's kind of my fault since I chose to play that way. So really this game can be as fun as you make it. It's fun setting enemies on fire or sniping them with the crossbow or making them fight each other or making them commit suicide by attacking a Big Daddy. And once I got to the final boss, I got to unload all my awesome powers and weapons and it was a blast.

Bioshock has some graphical and sound glitches but for the most part, it is quite amazing in both aspects. The music and ambience, as well as the art design, are awesome. They really come together to create this whole other world.

Some cons however, are that aiming isn't as easy as some FPS games but this is really more an RPG as you can spec your character with different abilities and plasmid powers help out with this weakness as well. Also, it's kind of annoying to have to hack so many security cameras and such throughout the game. But plasmids help with this too as they can make it easier to hack, though automatic hacking tools make it even easier by skipping the whole minigame altogether. I wish they made it so you could skip the minigame everytime without havig to worry about hacking tools.

Anyway, despite the cons, Bioshock is an amazing game that everyone should give a try. The story is great and I can't wait for the next one. Actually, with all the great games coming out, I CAN wait but you know what I mean. Big thumbs up for Bioshock.

Lego Batman

I bought and finished this game really quickly. Even getting all the achievements.

I found it to be really fun (being a huge Batman fan) being able to play as all the heroes and villains from the comics. I felt they added a nice variety to the game with all the puzzles and vehicle levels. Plus, once you beat a stage, you can go back replay them with your newer unlocked characters so you can find hidden items and such.

So the game is quite a bit of fun but very short. And pretty easy too. So I give it a 7.5 out of 10. I recommend it for Batman fans for a rental maybe. I would say a buy for kids since they could probably get more playtime out of it and such. Not a great game but very good and worth checking out. Just know that multiplayer is offline only.

LittleBigPlanet Impressions

My first real PS3 game, and probably my last! I just don't see much else coming out for it. I have a 360 so any multiplatform games will be bought for that since all my friends have a 360 as well.

LittleBigPlanet is a very fun game. I can see myself playing this off and on for a long time simply because some of the user-created levels out there are brilliant. Seriously, there are some really awesome level designers out there. I played this great Batman level based on Arkham Asylum and it had some cool challenges like solving a riddle by the Riddler. I answered wrong at first and fell to my death.

Anyone with a PS3 should have this game. You just can't escape its charm. It also has an amazing soundtrack that I could listen to for hours.

My only gripe, and this is really just me, is that the creating levels is a great task. Maybe it's because I don't have as much free time as I'd like but I am having trouble making my first level. It's like I don't know where to start even though I know what I want. But I think this isn't because of how the game is designed. I just don't really have the time to figure out how to make the things I want. I wish I could just will it to appear. I am determined to make something eventually thoug. Even if it's a brick at a time.

Anyway, you can have a blast even if you create nothing. You can be lazy and just play what others are making. It's great either way.

Gears of War 2 Impressions

Of course I picked up the sequel to my favorite game on the 360. I got the limited edition with the cool artbook and code for the golden lancer. Eh they're not that great but since I work at Best Buy, the price difference between the regular and limited editions is only 4 bucks. Not bad at all.

I stayed up playing coop with my friend last night for about 4-5 hours. We were having a blast and got near the end of Act 2 on Hardcore. The story so far is great and the graphics have been improved. Which is amazing considering how great the last one looked.

I hope to try out the new Horde Mode and some multiplayer matches soon. But so far, I am just impressed with the campaign. Some really great looking levels and they are bigger too. They don't feel as linear as before either as you can take different branching paths though they lead to the same locations. It's mostly due to it just being bigger stages.

Bigger stages also lend themselves to more epic battles and there are some crazy looking ones in this game. It feels like they put a lot of thought into it and took advantage of the technology they're using in this game.

So far, I am enjoying my time with Gears 2 and I am excited to continue playing throught the campaign. Big thumbs up.

Cosplayer of the Blog

More of the same can't be too bad right? Here is one the more popular cosplayers on my blog now as Princess Peach! Love how she uses props.

Awww... Look at the little Goombas.

The Princess is saved by.... Racoon Mario?

Thanks for making another appointment with The Doctor's Prognosis!

See you next time!

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The Doctor's Prognosis: My Medieval Birthday + MORE~!!

Hello my peeps! Welcome back to the Doctor's Prognosis! I am your host, Dr. C-LOS.

Been a litte over a month since my last blog and yes I am still alive. I have been really busy with work and school. Especially school. I am taking a film editing course and our first task is to take an unedited film and create a short movie with it. That's right... cutting and splicing film ourselves. Many of us were hesitant to begin cutting. Anyway, whatever we have left after the first film will be used to create another film. So really we have to create two films.

I spent a lot of time in the editing lab doing some hard work making sure the edits were good but in a way it was also fun. I guess the challenge actually kept me interested as I rarely feel challenged in school.

Now that you know why I have been scarce around here, I will get into some stuff I wanted to talk about.....

My Birthday

Yeah so I just turned 28 recently and my mom decided she wanted to take me and my brother (I have a fraternal twin which means we don't look alike) to Medieval Times near her place. I thought it might be boring but it was really fun. They had a bar there so I decided to have a few drinks.

They give you crowns which represent the knight you will be cheering for during the dinner show. What made it so fun was the drunken loud people in my area, the yellow area. Our area was the most vocal and even my grandmother got into it and was waving her flag for our knight. She even had a drink or two.

After the dinner show, the knights gathered around the bar to relax. The rest of us got to go talk to them and take pictures. Not to mention the drinks and they actually had a sort of dance floor along with some music though it was just for a short time.

We all had a lot of fun and now my bro and I are interested in renaissance festivals. Well we were always interested but this just gave us a reminder. Hopefully we will be able to visit one of these festivals soon.

I have a picture I wanted to show you but I need to figure out how to scan it on this computer. Also my bro took it to his girl's house and forgot it. Next time for sure.

I instead leave you with the Knights that put on the show for us instead.

Go Yellow Knight! Or as the drunken guys behind me were yelling... "Yeeeeeeelloooooowww!!!"

Lego Batman

Yes I bought it. And yes I still haven't finished Bioshock after a whole year. I wanted to buy Too Human first but I have little money at the moment and this game is cheaper. With my Best Buy discount it's only slightly above $40.

I am glad I got this game. Very simple gameplay but very fun. Even my bro picked up the other controller and played some two-player with me for awhile.

After you finish the levels in Story Mode, you can return and play in Free Play Mode where you can switch on the fly with any characters you've unlocked. This makes it much easier to get whatever you missed the first time through. I hope Batman: Arkham Asylum is at least as good as this. It's not perfect by any means but fun for Batman fans. That's a thumbs up from me.

Shazam!

Ok so one last thing. I recently bought hardcover graphic novel Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith. Yes... Jeff Smith of Bone fame. I only recently found out about this book and I loved it. It has that great art and simple but engaging story that is suitable for all ages. Just like Bone. It's got magic, humor, and political subtexts. Good stuff.

If you are a Jeff Smith/Bone fan like me then I highly recommend this book. It introduced me to Captain Marvel for the first time in comic form and I really liked it.

I can now see why Captain Marvel was more popular than Superman in the past. I think the character is more relatable as Captain Marvel inhabits a little boy which fulfills many a man's dream as a kid. Makes me wonder why Warner Bros. and DC wouldn't make a film based on this franchise. It appeals to kids and adults. This book certainly made a fan out of me.

Cosplayer of the Blog

Since it's been some time I reward you with more than one pic this time. Some of my readers were very enthusiatic about the cute girl dressed like Samus so I decided for more of her. I found some pics of the same girl.... in Samus' Zero Suit. Very nice.

Thanks for making another appointment with The Doctor's Prgonosis! Hopefully they won't be so far between for the following blogs.

See you next time!

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Lobo

I like most of the choices for this game except for Lex Luthor and Baraka.
Lobo would have fit in so well with the game. He's vulgar and extremely violent. In fact he fits better than almost everyone else on the roster from the DC Universe.
I'm surprised that Deathstroke made it in. I was really hoping for him and Lobo to make it. One of two isn't too bad.

I'm hoping for Lobo and Reptile to be hidden/secret characters. Or at least DLC.

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Sticking with my Wii...

Wait did that sound wrong? :P

Anyway, if I had only a Wii it might be a problem. But the Wii does have great core games to keep you occupied along with all the great VC games available.
Since I also own a 360 and PS3, I have lots of games to keep me occupied while I wait for more Zelda, Mario, Metroid, or whatever else they got cooking. I already don't have much time to play all the 360 games coming out this year alone, so Nintendo's core games coming out in 2-3 years actually works out for me.

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The Doctor's Prognosis: A Serious Blog on Serious Earth

Welcome to another edition of the Doctor's Prognosis! I am your host Dr. C-LOS.

I meant to do this blog sooner but I have been sick for like 2 weeks. It's my fault though because I was feeling better and went out with friends even though I wasn't 100%. So I got worse again.

Anyway, let's get on with the show! Random stuff today with novels, movies, and games...

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

Another graphic novel I read recently. It's VERY dark stuff. Even for Batman. It's more like a psychological horror story than anything else. Joker and the other inmates get loose and have only one demand: to meet with the Batman. Very good read and part of the inspiration for the new Batman game that was recently announced. The artwork is amazing. Very surreal and portrays the insanity of the story and characters very well. Highly recommended.

V for Vendetta

I just saw this movie for the first time and I thought it was amazing. Poetic at times and I was surprised how well it fits with what is going on with the U.S. political climate at this time. Especially with what many are afraid of where the country might end up. We may one day pray for a masked man to fight for our liberties. Now I really want to read the original graphic novel which was written by Alan Moore, who also wrote Watchmen. Big thumbs up.

Lego Batman

OK so after the grim Dark Knight film and the creepy Arkham Asylum, we are soon getting the upbeat Lego Batman. And believe it or not, I am excited for this game. It may not be very gritty but it has most of your favorite Batman characters and the gameplay has been consistently good in these Lego games. I will probably be picking this one up. Look for it on Sept. 23rd. Just two days before my birthday!

Batman: Arkham Asylum

This was recently announced and looks amazing. Check out more shots here. The plot revolves around Batman turning the Joker into the asylum but he soon gets loose. Joker got caught on purpose in order to get his hands on a serum at the asylum that is supposed to cure people but has some nasty side effects. Now Batman has to fight his way out of the asylum.

The game runs on the Unreal 3 Engine which is why it looks so great. The gameplay is 3rd person combat but will involve stealth-like elements that the developers call "Predator gameplay." For example, you might run into some guards and you can take them out one at a time in various ways until maybe one is left. The great thing is there is a fear element too. The remaining thug will become scared and begin shooting at nothing. Making it easier for Batman to take him out.

Combat also yields experience points where you can level Batman up and then use skill points to spec Batman how you want. So there are some RPG elements as well.

Furthermore, Batman gets to use cool CSI type gadgets to look for clues like fingerprints so you can really act like the "World's Greatest Detective." Hopefully this element will be used well and will make you actually use your head.

The game also seems to work similar to Metroid, Zelda, and Castlevania in that you will run into areas that are inaccessible at first but that you will come back to later as you advance in the game.

There are also supposed to be cool boss fights that you must approach differently depending on yor enemies strengths and weaknesses. Some are even supposed to be as big as you see in Zelda. Killer Croc might be one of these bosses as he can be seen in the screen shots. And boy does he look scary. Huge and scaly, Croc looks similar to a Locust from Gears of War.

The game is being developed by Rocksteady who are largely unproven. Their only game is Urban Chaos which got a decent score from Gamespot. Since this game isn't being rushed to tie in to anything, and because what I have read and seen looks so good, I am cautiously optimistic about this. Keep an eye out for this game which is slated for next year. Make it good Rocksteady! I'm keeping my eye on you!

Cosplayer of the Blog

This time we get a trifecta of the same cute girl dressed as 3 different characters. I have no idea who they are but who cares?

The new semester begins for me next week so I will be on here much less. I will try to be on here as much as possible but please don't be upset if I am unable to read or comment your blogs as often. My blogs may be fewer and farther between as well... because they are so consistently posted now....

Anyway, see you on your next appointment with The Doctor's Prognosis!

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The Doctor's Prognosis: Batman + Bone + MORE!!

Welcome to another edition of the Doctor's Prognosis! I am your host Dr. C-LOS.

I haven't been very active lately for trying to finish Bioshock before the year anniversary for the game's release, and before Too Human comes out. I really want to give that game my full attention. I have also been a little under the weather so I haven't done a new blog as timely as I would have liked to.

Anyway, since watching the Dark Knight, my brother and I have been on a graphic novel kick. I recently read some great stuff so I thought I'd share them. They are mostly Batman but there are some other gems as well.

Batman: The Long Halloween

This is to many one of the best Batman stories. It's a detective story that focuses on Batman trying to determine the identity of a serial killer that only kills on one holiday for the month. The story begins and ends on Halloween so it's basically 13 chapters put together. This is one of the novels that Nolan based his characterizations of Batman, Gordon, and Dent on for his film so it's highly recommended.

Batman: Year One

This novel was written by Frank Miller of Sin City fame. It covers Bruce Wayne in his first amateur vigilante outing and when he first becomes the Batman. It also features Gordon when he shows up in Gotham City for the first time. Great story for those new to Batman. Interestingly, some elements were taken from this story for Nolan's Batman Begins including the budding friendship between Gordon and Batman, and the inclusion of the mobster Falcone.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Also by Frank Miller, this is Batman's omega as an aging Bruce Wayne returns to fight crime in an increasingly dangerous Gotham City. This is probably my favorite Batman graphic novel featuring older variations of the familiar Batman cast with a great appearance by Superman himself. Any Batman fan should check this out.

Batman: Hush

This is one of Batman's more recent graphic novels featuring many appearances by various villains as Batman tries to figure out who is manipulating them before he ends up dead. Quite a few surprises are in this one. You can find it in two volumes.

Bone: Out from Boneville

Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, this was quite a surprise. It has quite a cartoony look to it but I found it endearing. It was also hilarious at some points. I found it addicting and read the entire first volume in one night. It is very much set in a fantasy world with dragons, rat creatures, and odd little white men from a place called Boneville. The characters are what makes this so great. They all have their own personalities and their interactions make for some funny moments. Especially between cousins Fone Bone, Phony Bone, and Smiley Bone. I can't wait to finish this series. Highly recommended.

The Metabarons

This is an awesome series with great art. It's actually the art that attracted me to the novel in the first place. But the story kept me coming back for more. It's a science fantasy epic that chronicles the lives of the 5 generations of the dynasty of perfect warriors known as the Metabarons. I believe it was originally published in French but they have been available in English for a few years now so I highly recommend this if you're into science fiction fantasy type settings. It's like a space opera with Greek tragedy elements. Big thumbs up.

Watchmen

What can I say about this work of art? It's written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to win the Hugo award which is an award for excellence in science fiction or fantasy. It's also the only graphic novel to be featured in Time Magazine's 2005 "100 best English language novels." It's set in an alternate history 1985 where costumed vigilantes are real and nuclear war with the Soviet Union is an ever present danger. What further sets this novel apart is that the superheroes are presented as real people battling personal problems and ethical dilemnas. I highly recommend reading this soon. At least before the film comes out next year. Even if the film is good, I doubt it can be anywhere near as good as the novel. It was thought to be unfilmable because there is just so many layers to it. It really takes advantage of the graphic novel format in a way that would be difficult to reproduce in any other way. That would include film and non-graphic novel. I give it my highest possible recommendation.

Cosplayer of the Blog

I can see Mai winning a lot of matches based solely on the fact that her oufit is very distracting....

This is distracting but in the wrong way.....

Yikes....

Anyway, I hope you got something out of my graphic novel blog. I highly recommend checking those titles out.

You may see me less on here as school is rapidly approaching and my retail job gets more hectic as Christmas rears it's ugly head. I will try to get on here as much as possible.

So I will see you all on your next appointment with the Doctor's Prognosis!

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