why do you have Batman right smack in the middle of your page?
Anonymous

cause i love batman.

Snake’s Top 20 Games of 2012

2012 was a very strange but still a good year in gaming. There were lots of disappointing AAA games but it was the year of the indie games and that more than made up for a somewhat lackluster year in gaming so here are the games that impressed me the most and that I had the most fun with. 


1.Hotline Miami

2.Mark of the Ninja

3.Journey

4.Mass Effect 3

5.Halo 4

6.Far Cry 3

7.Walking Dead

8.NBA 2k13

9.Borderlands 2

10.Max Payne 3

11.Torchlight 2

12.Dishonored

13.Sleeping Dogs

14.Assassin’s Creed III

15.Dust: An Elysian Tale

16.Trials Evolution

17.Resident Evil Revelations

18.Uncharted: Golden Abyss

19.Spec Ops: The Line

20.Kingdoms of Amular

Honorable Mentions:

Lone Survivor

Tokyo Jungle

Fez

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

The Darkness II

Darksiders II

Retro City Rampage

Sound Shapes

Closure

Datura

World Gone Sour

I Am Alive

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

X-Com: Enemy Unknown 

Deadlight

My first concert

So just days before the big Rush concert, I was getting real excited and just wanted to see my heroes already in person and boy they rocked the whole arena. It was a Saturday night and me and my dad pull up into the parking lot and see the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ and it was huge. It was very cool to see the retired jerseys of Scott Stevens, Ken Danyeko and Scott Niedermayer hanging in the rafters and I do like the NJ Devils alot so it was great to see that but with no hockey going on right now, we had Rush to entertain us for the whole night. Now before I went to see Rush at NJ, I went on the internet and checked out the setlist of what they did in Montreal which was their last show in Canada before coming into the New York, New Jersey area. They played exactly what I read and heres what they played- 

Subdivisons, The Big Money,  Force Ten, Grand Designs, Middletown Dreams, Territories, Analog Kid, The Pass, Wheres My Thing?(instrumental), Far Cry then it was intermission.

Then they played 9 songs off their new album Clockwork Angels which is a good, solid album and really loud.

Caravan, Clockwork Angels, The Anarchist, Carnies, The Wreckers, Headlong Flight, Halo Effect, Wish Them Well and The Garden. Then it was time to go old school Rush but they did play with the string section on a few classic songs and then it was just RUSH. 

Dreamline, Drum Solo (Neil Armstrong Tribute), Red Sector A, YYZ, Spirit of Radio  and then they said goodnight and the curtains closed but a few minutes later they rocked out an awesome encore: Tom Sawyer, 2112 Part 1: Overture, 2112 Part 2: Temples of Syrinx and 2112 Part VII: Grand Finale. 

It was an amazing show and even though I am kinda sad that they didn’t play no Fly By Night or Closer To The Heart but it was great nonetheless. The light show was also great and they even set off 2 or 3 firecrackers and it was loud trust me. Rush knows how to keep you entertained. Geddy Alex and Neil are back and louder than ever and Rush is just like fine wine, keep on getting better with age. I’ll remember this for the rest of my life and I hope they do an old school Rush tour later on with stuff from Hemispheres and A Farewell to Kings and maybe some Caress of Steel as well but right now I’m very happy and if you wanna see Rush, now is the time guys.

4.5/5

Sleeping Dogs Review by Marc Andretta

Sleeping Dogs is the latest game to come back from the gaming graveyard and it has been resurrected by Square Enix after Activision canned it from its lineup and so the Dogs has found it’s home now but is Sleeping Dogs a game that is good to play while you wait for GTA V or does it take the next step in carjacking mayhem?

Sleeping Dogs is pretty much your regular story of an undercover cop going through emotions and getting too attached to the people who he is supposed to bring down. You play as Wei Shen who is Chinese but he’s also an American and lived in San Francisco when he was younger and he is hired by Pendrew who is in charge of bringing down the powerful crime family, the Sun On Yee and that’s where you come in.

The graphics in Sleeping Dogs is probably one of the game’s strongest points. From the flickering neon lit lights to the rainy and dark streets and back alleyways of Hong Kong, United Front did a very good job in capturing the feel and look of Hong Kong, China. The characters also look very good and there is a lot of detail in the npcs’ faces and the animations are also really smooth. Sleeping Dogs gets even better though when you are driving through the rainy streets of Hong Kong at night and listening to The Who’s Eminence Front, it just fits perfectly to the tone of the game and it feels authentic. 

Now the gameplay in Sleeping Dogs is actually pretty good but there are some weak points to be found here. Lets start with the driving, which is probably the best driving I have seen in a GTA clone in quite a while. Driving feels a bit similar to Saints Row 3 but it has a little more substance and flair to it and all of the vehicles feel just right and they don’t move slow like in GTA IV which is nice. Driving in Sleeping Dogs is like half arcadey and half realistic but it’s really fun to drive around with a fast car and just flooring it. There are races that you can do, there kinda cool and its your typical drive through the checkpoints similar to GTA or Midnight Club. 

Now Sleeping Dog’s weakest point is not surprisingly the gun play. Even GTA 3 or 4 couldn’t really nail it down but shooting in Sleeping Dogs sometimes feels a bit forced and you won’t even get to fire a gun until the latter part of the game. When you do get to shoot up thugs though, the controls are solid and you can take cover behind walls and objects but I feel there could have been a lot more done with the shooting to make it feel more visceral rather than it just being average. Shooting isn’t the focus here though, the main focus besides the driving in Sleeping Dogs is of course the hand to hand combat and we are in Hong Kong after all. 

The fighting is just like Batman: Arkham City  and the controls are even the same as Batman but that’s not a bad thing. You can counter just like in Batman games and it does work good in Sleeping Dogs but it’s not as smooth as it was in Batman but still nonetheless, the fighting really feels solid and it’s actually quite challenging when you first begin the game. The animations also look really good and everything feels fluid and seeing a bunch of Triad thugs fly into the air after you roundhouse kick them is a pretty cool thing to do. You can also grab enemies and do environment executions similar to The Punisher video game on Xbox and much like in Punisher, it’s very violent and bloody, especially when you’re throwing a guy into a ice chipper. I just wish they would have done more with this and maybe do more interactive interrogation scenes but doing kung fu moves is still fun though.

The mission structure is simple and is exactly like what you would find in a GTA or Saints Row game. There are lots of driving and fighting missions but there are some shooting missions as well but they just feel rather average and it’s nothing you haven’t seen or played before. Much like in GTA IV, Sleeping Dogs also has some social things that you can do with certain npcs a well, such as going to a karaoke bar with your date and playing a mini-game as Wei Shen sings to tunes from The Clash, Pat Benetar and Air Supply or even dancing for a bit in the club. There are also side missions or “favors” that you can do as well. These are optional and are just some random odd jobs to do for people who need your help. Doing these will increase your “face” experience and the more “face” xp you get, you are rewarded with certain clothes that you can wear or gaining a passive ability such as taking less damage from melee combat and etc. One of the more interesting things that I liked was the case missions that you can do. These are pretty cool because you have to investigate leads and you have to find the killer or kidnapper. When you complete police related missions, you get police xp which you can unlock new police abilities. The same thing applies for all of the Triad Missions that you do as well. 

There are only 30 main story mission that you need to complete in order to beat the game and it will take you around 12-13 hours if you just do the story missions and cases. If you do lots of side missions and racing missions and take the time to find hidden statues to unlock new combos for melee combat, you’re looking at a good 16 hours of gameplay. The missions are ok but after playing through the whole game, they are pretty forgettable except maybe like one or two missions. I would have liked to see more stealth missions and more variety in there. The story is simple with some plot twists but there wasn’t enough character development for me to really care about most of the people you encounter and Wei Shen is your average guy that doesn’t really have a personality and is just your average run of the mill undercover cop that kicks guys in the face and and asks questions later.

The voice acting is actually very good and features some Hollywood talent as well such as Emma Stone, Tom Wilkinson and Lucy Liu. There are also lots of Cantonese spoken in cutscenes and it feels very authentic to setting and it makes you feel like you are almost in Hong Kong, China. The soundtrack is also very good and has a good variety of music from Thin Lizzy to Pat Benatar to Deep Purple, there is some cool songs in here but nowhere near as many as you find in a GTA title.

Overall, Sleeping Dogs is a good, solid game that you will have fun with in the beginning but I felt the second half of the game was lacking and when you finish the game, you won’t have a oh shit that was awesome feeling but more like of a ok, that was pretty cool but I’ve seen this before. Sleeping Dogs is worth checking out and it does have its moments but it doesn’t break new ground in the sandbox style of game.

 Final Score- 3.5/5

What Is Snake Doing?

Hey peeps, this is just a quick overview of what games I am working on to review and reviews will be up on either www.bgbureau.com or on my blog here. Now the new games are starting to roll out and pretty heavily at least for a few weeks so heres what you can expect to see in the coming days and weeks. I will try to find some time to do a short podcast but I am not sure when I’m gonna do one so in the meantime just check out my reviews if you haven’t already and follow me on twitter @marcandretta  Usually I will say if a game is good or bad on twitter and some hands on impressions as well.

Downloadable Games (Steam, PSN, XBLA)

CounterStrike: Global Offensive(beta starts tomorrow, will tweet some things about it)

Dust: An Elysian Tale (currently playing and will be reviewed in a few days)

Sound Shapes (beaten, starting on review)

Papo & Yo (releases tomorrow on psn and will def. talk about it on twitter)

Retail Games(XBOX 360, PS3)

Darksiders II (might be a while with this one)

Sleeping Dogs (same as Darksiders II but will try to finish it quickly)

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron(gameflying and might review it, not sure yet)

Madden 13 (if it somehow surprises me and offers something new, might review it otherwise just tweets about it)

Thats about it for now but sometimes, there are games that pop up on Steam or other places so you never know what I might stumble onto next. Thanks for following and catch you real soon, now back to writing some reviews and I am still going through an enormous backlog of PS2 games, will keep you posted soon. See ya!

This is my whole entire PS2 collection. I am not done yet though, I still have some hidden gems to track down. Here are the PS2 games that are not seen in the pictures:

Second Sight

Shinobi

Nightshade

Ratchet Deadlocked

I-Ninja

Final Fight: Streetwise

Jet Li Rise To Honor

Onimusha: Warlords

The Suffering: Ties That Bind

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

Silent Hill 3

Champions of Norrath: Realms of Everquest

Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

Rainbow Six: Lockdown

Timesplitters: Future Perfect(to arrive by mail soon)

Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance(to arrive by mail soon)

Temple of Mankind (random short poem #2)

I live in the temple of man and I see his ways, his thoughts and way of life. I am a mere shadow looking up at the gaze of his eyes, wondering what he might be thinking. I know he cant see me but what I would do to get his attention. For if he can see me, he can see the evil inside him but it is futile for he will never know when to stop his evil ways. I yell out to him to make him see the lives he has shattered  but he is deaf. His mind is deaf from what is good in this world. I tell him to open his mind, but he shakes his head for he is scared of the knowledge he might gain. When he touches something, it shatters the dream that our founding fathers had. For I know that for every evil there’s a hope. A hope that’s just waiting to be found by man. Until that happens, man will never see and will always be blind for as long as he lives.

Far Away (random short poem)

One who preaches peace must also be aware of the existence of man.

Trapped in this dark place. I think of what might be and what I could have done different. I think about the people who I have hurt and the people who I have healed. Could I have been better? Better than the human race? No. For I am not a machine but an individual whose thoughts carry them away to a better place than this world. I hope to find that place someday but I am unsure if that will ever happen. That place must be covered in the clouds, higher than the man himself and it must be the place where goodness lays tucked away. Away from the humans. It is too high to reach, too far to see, and too nice to be tainted by the evil of man.

My Reviews/Lost Reviews (Evolution of a Game Review)

So I just thought to put my old game reviews that I did before on my Tumblr page and some reviews on that list have been on a website that I used to write for but since I am no longer with them, I decided to put those reviews on Tumblr and there are some great games there that I did review and I had fun with them too. Some reviews were just in my cheapassgamer.com blog and nowhere else so I thought this is the best place to share them with you, whoever is reading this. Some of the game reviews I did earlier are a bit raw and unpolished but as you can see, the more I wrote, the more comfortable I became and instead of copying a basic template, I did do lots of different things in my early reviews but now I know that this is the evolution of my writing skills and when I look back on it now, it is very interesting to see how raw my first review is and how polished my later ones are.

All of the reviews are 100% by me and these were the drafts that I did and some reviews I did have to or was edited by my former editor who I did not get along with because of creative differences so this what I like to call a “behind the scenes” look at how reviews are done pretty much. There are no fancy pictures or witty banter, just me telling you about the game and letting you (the gamer) know if it’s worth playing or not. That is why I started doing this, to help fellow gamers like me decide if they should spend their hard earned money or not. When I look back on it now, I was probably too generous to Ninja Gaiden 3 but when you write a review of a game that has just come out, of course your going to feel like its pretty good but when you look back on it a few months later, you say to yourself man what did I do? This is only natural to other game reviewers and when you look back on it all you can do is just laugh about it and move on and review the next game.

I have not written a review in some time but I want to get back to it really soon, I’m just not sure if I’m gonna use Tumblr as my main source yet but we’ll see. In the meantime, you can check out my reviews on bgbureau.com  I hope to write another game review real soon so stay tuned and follow me on  

twitter-@marcandretta

Neverdead Review (my 1st “official” review)

So on Tuesday I picked up Neverdead on Xbox 360 and it looked kinda good. It has an interesting concept but its more tedious and annoying than it is fun. It took me 2 days to beat on normal and I unlocked 19 of 42 achievements with a total score of 390.

The game has a single-player campaign and it has online modes, they are called “Multiplayer challenges” and I have not tried it online but from what I looked at, they are just stuff like kill waves of enemies and there are competitive challenges also like checkpoint races. I believe this game was delayed several times and was shown at E3 back in 2006 or 2007 and it looked cool but noone really knew what it was about.

You play as an immortal demon hunter who cant die but you have an ally with u pretty much all the time named Arcadia. For some reason you need to keep her alive but its not an escort mission game like Ico or Enslaved. She can shoot demons also but she is not immortal like you. The story plays out like a campy B movie/comic book/anime style. I think this game wanted to be bigger than what it is and was maybe trying a little too hard with the wierd story. The demons you fight in the game look kind of wierd and dont really look good at all. They also bleed blue not red for some wierd reason. I thought this game had zombies in it or some cool creatures but thats not here. In the beginning of the game you fight a wierd chicken/demonid that wears pink clothing and talks like he is homosexual.

The guy you play as (Bryce) is kinda cool looking with the scruffy voice and cool looking leather overcoat. He has two guns which you can fire at the same time or one at a time. The controls are ok but to zoom in on enemies you have to click the right thumbstick down. It becomes a problem because there are so many enemies to kill that you just get so tired of quickly. Neverdead has a cool idea and some clever puzzles which require you to throw your head off in vents and then grow your limbs back on the other side of the door.

Later on in the game you can even throw your arms off and then they explode like grenades but honestly I only used that ability like once.You get xp which you collect throughout the level and you can unlock some cool abilities. The soundtrack is pretty good also. Megadeth provides the music for Neverdead but its just the same guitar riff over and over as you fight through endless amounts of enemies.

The ony cool thing about the combat would be how you control the sword, you control it by holding left trigger and then moving the right thumbstick left, right, up or down. It works better than the guns and is kinda fun. So my final word on this game is do not buy it for $60 its just another bad Devil May Cry ripoff with an interesting idea that just never pans out. Just wait till its like $20 which will probably be soon.

If u have Gamefly then rent it but thats it. There was some potential to this game but it the repetitve gameplay only makes it fun for 10 minutes and then it gets stale but at least its something to play untill The Darkness II and Kingdoms of Amular come out.

Final Score- 5.5/10