The First Hour: Dead Rising 2

Welcome to First Hour: Dead Rising 2 edition where I give my first impressions about Dead Rising 2 after having only played it for an hour ! 
The game starts off by asking you if you want to import your svae from Case Zero which is great since this lets you start off with a level 5 character and all your combo cards. The game has a similar title screen to the first game, with several zombies walking around in front of a casino. I hit start game and here we go again for some good old fashion zombie killin'. After some cutscenes and exposure about the characters, including an intro where I kill many undead with my motorcycle, I'munleashed into Fortune City with the simple task of finding some zombrex... wait what's this on the right side of the screen ?.... a time limit ?... What the fu (mauled by zombie). 
After playing for a half an hour, you come to realize that Dead Rising 2 is more Dead Rising. Not in the sense that Crackdown 2 was more of the same Crackdown. The game looks better and plays better. The game lets you inact all your sadistic fantasies on the poor zombies (shower heads are back) and everything you do has a time limit. If you liked the original Dead Rising than you'll love this. But if you didn't this game is very hard to recommend. Think of it this way, I died and had to start over after not even an hour. 
Another thing I got to briefly play is the competitive multiplayer that has you partaking in a game show where you have to kill zombies. It's good gory fun and has a great presentation that I won't spoil here (think ESPN and wrestling). I haven't tried the co op yet but the servers seem to hold up just fine so I expect to have a great experience. 
Keep your eyes peeled for my early review. Oh and what last thing, a Mega Man reference is thrown at you about 45 minutes into the story and you can put a Blanka mask onto the walking dead. 

Top 5 moments in Halo: Reach campaign.

Halo: Reach has a damn good campaign, short and sweet with tons of memorable moments. Here are the ones I think were the best. Note that I will try to avoid all spoilers by replacing the names of members of Noble Team by "Noble". 

Number 5: Elites Attack !

At the end of the second level, Noble Team makes it to a relay station that has gone offline and start reparing it. They discover that (almost) all the inhabitants have been killed by energy swords. The camera switches to what I call CG first person, putting you behind the eyes of Noble 6 when suddenly an Elite jumps on him, giving you a great "in your face moment" that 6 barely survives. 
Than our hero gets up, shaky cam and all, the music tenses up and Noble Team give chase. This scene is awesome and will get at least one "hell yeah !" from anyone who watches it. It really gets you pumped and excited to see what happens next. 

Number 4: Sacrifice

After an epic space mission, Noble Team destroys a covenant super cruiser. But this heroic feat didn't come without a heavy sacrifice. After setting the bomb, Noble discovers that the detonator has been damaged and that he'll have to manually detonate the bomb. Because Bungie decided that an epic cutscene must be experienced in first person, Noble picks you up, in first person at which point you can admire the nice facial animation, and Noble throws you into space so you can "finish the fight" before detonating the bomb. 
This scene is epic as it is the first time you really see a Spartan die and you realize that all has gone to hell. The fact that Noble cherishes his mission more than his life is awesome and epic. The scene is well put together and tragic. 

Number 3: All has gone to hell

What becomes more apparent more and more during the campaign is that Reach is lost. Noble Team may be kick ass, but they're up against an entire Covenant army. After the evil aliens basically wipe out an entire city, Kat asks if they're losing or if they've already lost. This is a tragic moment and differs from other Halo games. In other games, Master Chief would always figure out a way to make the tides turn but here, no hope is left.  
This scene is very dark and moody. Noble are seen as the last line of defense against impossible odds at which point you tell yourself that this can not end well. Seeing Spartans at a loss had never really been explored in the Halo franchise and is pretty refreshing to watch. 

Number 2: In the face

Shortly after entry number 3, the Covenant glass the city and Noble escapes. But tragically one of their own gets killed in one of the most shocking and unexpected ways. He "just" gets shot in the head. A Spartan dies from a plasma shot to the helmet which seems impossible when you look at how strong Spartans are. You don't expect it, it comes out of nowhere and shocks. You're left to wonder if Spartans are really superior warriors or just soldiers like many others. 
Of course this death gets drammatic closure to it, with rain and sad music but it's still one of the most surprisng moments in the game. 

Number 1: The end

I won't discuss this too much, just that it's epic and a logical conclusion to the story. It's well done and tragic, fitting the epic epic tragedy that is Reach. 

I'm calling it: the Giant Bomb app for iPhone is now dead.

"It's a website about videogames...on your iPhone !" These kind words greet you after launching the official GB app on your iPhone. From there you could view news, videos, review, new releases and wiki pages. It was well made and easy to navigate, despite the video quality being horrible and some bugs with parsing your data. But people still loved it, the app letting you enjoy GB's dailey shenanigans on the go.  
Sadly though, the app is now dead. Sure, you can still read news and look for wiki pages. But the video player seems to have been killed off. But we should have seen this coming. Jeff himself stated that the app was becoming pretty useless due to new technology, not bringing in any new income. Then the app went free (it used to be 2$) and started crashing often, especially during E3. Bugs started to appear, the app would often crash while you scrolled down to older videos. The release feature was also sort of messed up. All in all, it became more and more janky. 
And thenthe news about a mobile site ( for members only) hit and that was the death sentence, my most used app became obsolete. The video player decided to die on me and the app lost all its appeal. But when you think about, this had to happen. What's one of the best features of the membership ? The mobile site ! The only way Giant Bomb could push everyone towards the membership is by killing off the app. Why pay for a membership when you can download a free app that gives you all the videos and wiki pages you could want on the go ? So I say is goodbye app, you'll be missed and hello awesome mobile site !

My hidden love for Stunman: Ignition.

What makes a game a classic ? One that you can go back to after several years and still have fun with, is probably what you'd call the right answer. And usually following such an answer are the names "Metroid", "Mario", "Sonic", "Final Fantasy" and "Hello Kitty". 
But what happens when the game you love isn't exactly what you'd call "great" and probably one that everyone has already forgotten ? I've discovered Stuntman: Ignition recently and my God am I having fun with it. 
Where to begin. Stuntman is by no means a classic. It's sorta broken in some places (I love it when trees grab my car and won't let me go) and for those who love repeatition. Alot of repeatition. You'll find yourself doing the same scene over and over and over again until you've graved into your brain when exactly you need to hit that jump and at which angle you need to drift through a turn. Sound fun right ? Did I forget to mention that the car phisics aren't exactly what you'd call realistic ? Oh and that the game's music plays on a loop each and every time you restart. 
So why do I (and so should you) love it ? Because it's addicting, fun, crazy, and sort of old school with the whole "no pain no gain" mentality it has going for it. Believe it or not, repeating scenes multiple times and "stringing" them perfectly is very rewarding and the fact that your a stunt driver for epic, high budget fims makes the whole experience fun. Who's never wanted to drive the batmobile and do awesome stunts with it ? And the game still looks great even three years after its original release.  
So yes you should go buy Stuntman. Last time I checked it was at 7$ at Gamestop so you have no reason not to.

Halo: Reach and why playing it on Legendary breaks the game.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Halo: Reach. Read Jeff's review (or mine) and you'll find out that it's a brilliant way for Bungie to bid farewell to Halo.  
My first campaign playthrough was done on normal despite the fact that the game recommends Heroic. I had a nice time, dying from time to time but never finding that the odds were stocked against me. After finishing the story I began feeling that weird feeling in my gut, the feeling you get when you want to get all the achievements for a game and have your S rank stand high on GB, showing that you're the official game master of said game. 
So naturally, I decide to play Reach on Legendary and it all goes downhill from there. 
I beat the second level (the first is all cutscenes) and start the 3rd called Sword Base. And my God do I begin to want to slit my wrists. The opening of said level is impossible, or almost. The game first pits you against some easy Covenant midgets which you kill LIKE A BOSS. Then five Elites show up, including one with a rocket launcher and things get complicated.  
Here are the main problems. First, your team mate does nothing in the way of trying to shoot the baddies, instead repeating the same lines of dialogue and faking combat. This wouldn't be a problem if the computer could attract enemy AI, which it doesn't. 
Second, the checkpointing breaks down and hides in a corner. As you may expect when playing a game on its hardest difficulty, you're gonna want the game to save alot so you don't have to start the damn thing from the very beginning. Halo: Reach does not do this. At the beginning of this level, you'll have to go through three waves of enemies including two waves of Elites before reaching your first checkpoint. My favorite part is each time you restart, Kat says the same exact line of dialogue: "We're gonna cream them." Yeah, as if.  
My final argument is my problem with shields. You shoot an Elite tons of times in the head and he does'nt die, that's because of his shield. Fair enough. You get rid of his shield, which is no easy task, and right when this happens he runs off and hides so it can recharge. Realistic ? Yes. Funner than smashing your Xbox against the wall ? Good question. 

Renting games is illegal in my country.

I live in France. A beautiful country with good food, good wine and fine women. Sounds great right ? Not when your a gamer. 
France has some really weird, dumb laws. For example, a certain number of french songs must play on the radio every hour, because American music is so dominant that the french music industry couldn't survive without the government forcing us to listen to dumb french rap (trust me it's awful). France also has another law, one that's clearly written on the back of every game box: in no case can this game be rented. 
Why does this suck so hard ? First of all, renting is like a prolonged demo. Reviews can only tell you so much about a game, you still need to play it to find out if you like it. If I had only rented Naughty Bear, I could've known that It wasn't all that great. 
Second reason why no renting sucks is the price of the games. We pay about 10 to 20 dollars more than americains do. This means, like in most cases, buying a game is an investment. And when I finish a game in less than 5 hours, that's what I call a rip off. Now if I had rented it, I'd feel a hell of a lot less cheated and wouldn't cry everynight thinking of my empty wallet. 
My final reason is a much more personal one. I'm fluent in booth French and English and I like my games in Shakespear's tongue. "Remember... No Russian" sounds alot cooler in English than in French and since the language isn't written anywhere on the box, you can only hope for the best. My favorite example of this weird trend is Halo: Reach. The menus are in English but the game is dubbed in French with English subtitles.   

Super Street Fighter 4 or why I suck.

So I Iike fighting games, alot. The way they play, how their whole system works. Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Soul Cal, and finally Street Fighter. Man I love Street Fighter, especially when I get my ass kicked all day long online.  
Why do I suck and why do I still love the game ? This love/hate relationship is ridiculous. I traded in Street Fighter 4, telling myself I'd never ever touch it again. But then I watch that really long GB QL of SSF 4 and I feel this urge in my gut that maybe I wasn't getting something, like how to do Ultra Combos (as I said, I sucked). So I give in to my primal urges and buy the game. And you'll never guess, I suck hard. I can't beat arcade mode on easy and despite trainig Sakura out her ass, good luck seeing an Ultra from me in the heat of battle. This doesn't happen in MK or any other game. I feel like I can't get the moves out quick enough in SF (yes i play with a controller) and its just the most frustrating that I love. 
So if you want me to boost your bp, I challenge YOU sir online ! 


Quick thought about time

So imagine this: You're in GTA 4, you just got finished with the opening level and your pumped about being unleashed into Liberty City and going completely mental. Suddenly your cousin comes up to you and tells you "Cousine ! In 72 hours we must go look at tities ! meet me at apartment or game over !" This is what GTA would be like if it incorporated Dead Rising 2's time system. 
Now don't get me wrong Dead Rising is an awesome franchise (except on Wii) but has one inherent flaw: the time. The game is an open world game with a damn time limit. Part of the fun is killing zombies but instead you have to always keep in mind that in 13 real minutes, you'll have to be doing such thing or its back to the beginning for you. Stop for two minutes and think: does it give the game a sense of real urgency ? Nope. It just pisses people off.

Halo: Reach and my week end demise

I live in France, a pretty awesome country that sometimes doesn't give a crap about street dates. For example, you could get Alan Wake a week before release in any big hardware shop or game store around the country. I'd also gotten the prestige edition of MW2 4 days before its worldwide "OMG biggest launch in entertainment history BOOM BOOM BOOM" happened. So when last friday, my local video game shop calls me to tell me that that they've received Reach, I stopped playing Stuntman: Ignition and ran to the shop. 
Then I got back, called friends over, said F U to Microsoft and their whole ban policy, and played the living daylights out of that game, beating the campaigne in co-op in a single sitting. Played it until 6 AM before passing out in a lobby. Woke up at 10 AM played it until 6 PM then went to a party, that I couldn't have cared less about, all i wanted was Reach. Didn't sleep that night, got home at 1 PM and you'll never guess what I did: played Reach late into the night. 
So bottom line is that I spent my week end on planet Reach, before everyone else and eventhough I now feel like crap because of lack of sleep and proper nourishment, I still feel pretty awesome. :) 
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