Top 5

Top 5: Haunted Places in Video Games

It feels like forever since I last threw one of these lists together. Well, with it being Halloween and all I figured no time like the present. This list started as the top 5 haunted mansions, but that’s thinking too small, so I’ll just go for haunted in general. So let’s get Spooky with the top 5 haunted places in gaming.

5. Luigi’s Mansionluigis_mansion_location

While it may not be particularly “scary,” the house inherited by Mario’s dimwitted brother in one of my favorite Gamecube titles is absolutely haunted. The titular mansion is great for a few reasons, it’s full ghosts looking to scare the pants off an unsuspecting Toad, It’s where Mario is being held captive for a nice change of pace, oh and it finally gave Luigi a chance at the spotlight. Let’s face it we all know he’s the superior character. Luigi’s Mansion is number 5.

4. Blackwood Pines ( Until Dawn)maxresdefault4

Good old Blackwood Pines has everything you want in a Horror setting, fresh mountain air, deranged psychopath, it’s abandoned sanatorium adjacent, and it also might be on some kind of ancient Indian burial ground. Couple that with the mysterious death of years past and the group of horny teenagers staying there and you’ve got the makings of an 80’s slasher classic. Maybe I’m a little biased as I am currently doing an endurance run of the game. Either way, Blackwood Pines is number 4.

3. The USG Ishimura (Dead Space)usg_ishimura_full_profile

2008’s Dead Space spun the horror setting on its head, by setting it not in a creepy old mansion but aboard a “Planet Cracker” class space vessel, The USG Ishimura, aptly dubbed a planet cracker because, well, it cracks planets. The ship, however, became host to an alien artifact called  “The Marker” which spread a horrible alien virus throughout the ships crew turning most of them into vicious Necromorphs. So things were left to our space engineer protagonist Isacc to sever some limbs and fight for survival. The Ishimura is number 3.

2. Castle Dracula (Castlevania Series)

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While not so much a horror game the Castlevania games do play host to one of the most haunted settings in movies and games alike, Castle Dracula. Over the years Drac’s castle has played host to many a Bellmont as well as his own son Alucard. In that time everyone’s favorite vampire lord has had plenty of practice at the placement of mermen, skeleton soldiers, and hidden wall meat. For all his hard work, Castle Dracula is number 2.

1. The Spencer Mansion (Resident Evil)maxresdefault5

Ah, the Spencer Mansion. When horror gaming classics come to mind, I always think Resident Evil, and no setting in the series is more memorable than the home of Oswell E. Spencer. When S.T.A.R.S. agents arrived at the mansion, during the t-virus outbreak in Resident Evil, it was already filled with zombies and monsters. On top of the zombies it had one crazy floor plan, and the locking mechanisms of a deranged lunatic, how many god damn cranks do you want me to carry around!? The Mansion of one Oswell E. Spencer is number 1.

Thanks for hanging around for the list, follow me to keep up with news, reviews, and more nonsense like this. Happy Halloween!

 

 

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News

Was Hello Games Hacked?

This morning a series of likely fake Tweets were sent from a Hello Games Twitter account. The initial tweet only said, “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.”mwqnaobeunbw8xttasak

Not only is this not something a game developer would tweet out about their own game, but it’s also interesting because Hello Games has been mostly silent on all of the issues surrounding their would be groundbreaking exploration game.maxresdefault3

Adding to the confusion, large news outlets Kotaku and Polygon were given very diffrent information. While Kotaku received emails from a supposed Hello Games employee stating it was indeed a hack, Polygon was informed by someone claiming to be No Man’s Sky developer Sean Murray that he himself posted the tweet and it was deleted by a disgruntled employee.

Since this morning the account has tweeted out saying that the hacking is over and things are “100% ok” it remains to be seen if this is the case. ivjfkgozlsftsbhjhy7n

For those unfamiliar with No Man’s Sky, it released back in August after multiple delays. Fans were incredibly displeased as many of the key features shown off in the game didn’t make it to the final release, including multiplayer aspects.

For now, we have no real way of knowing what was, and possibly still is going with Hello Game’s Twitter account. Hopefully, Sean Murray himself will break his silence and clear things up.

 

 

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News

Pokémon Sun and Moon to Feature Fully Grown Red and Blue

It’s been 20 years since we first fired up the original Pokémon Red and Blue. So if you’re like me, you lay awake in agony every night wondering what the original games protagonist Red and his rival Blue have been up to since then. Well, it looks like the latest installment in the series, Sun and Moon are finally going to show us just that.

Red from the original games alongside his updated artwork from Fire Red and Leaf Green

For those who are unfamiliar or simply don’t remember the original games, Red was the silent protagonist of the originals who would go on to defeat the elite four and become the greatest trainer in the Kanto region. Blue was his fast talking rival who looked to make his journey more difficult at every turn. Blue actually beat Red to challenging the elite four but would lose in the end. On a side note, you and your friends more than likely changed Blue’s name to Asshole.

Blue as he appeared in the original games alongside his updated art from Fire Red and Leaf Green

It’ll be particularly exciting to see what Red has been up to since the original games considering he seems to have basically gone dark. While Blue on the other hand we did see one more time as the Gym leader of Viridian City in Pokémon Gold and Silver and again in their remakes Heart Gold and Soul Silver.

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Here’s how the guys look all grown up in Sun and Moon. Blue actually looks like he’s calmed down since earning the name Asshole on all our Gameboy carts, while Red looks weirdly grumpy. Guess there’s not a lot of work out there for an ageing Pokémon champion.

We’ll have to wait to see what the guys have been up to when the game drops on November 18th. See you guys then.

 

 

 

 

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Review

Review: Job Simulator Is The Most Complete VR Experience Available

Game: Job Simulator

Developer(s): Owlchemy Labs

Publisher(s): Owlchemy Labs

Platform(s): Windows PC, PlayStation 4 with PSVR (reviewed)

Release Date(s): Windows PC April 5, 2016, PlayStation 4 October 13th, 2016

MSRP: $29.99

Job Simulator is probably one of the most talked about games for any of the three main VR platforms.It was the first game announced for the HTC Vive, and the headset included it at launch. However, the Vive was a bit out of my price range, so I had to wait for the PSVR version which launched just last week. I haven’t had many VR experiences since the launch of PSVR but of what I have played Job Simulator is without a doubt the most complete and entertaining VR game.

The premise of Job Simulator is a simple one. In the year 2050, the world is controlled by robots, so humans like us get to use the simulator over at the Job Museum to see what it was like to work one of four jobs, office worker, gourmet chef, convenience store clerk, and auto mechanic. A group of robots that look like floating CRT computer monitors with faces guide you through each simulation and act as your co-workers as well as customers.

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I can fix this

 

The gameplay isn’t anything too remarkable. You use the PSVR headset with two move controllers to manipulate objects within each simulation. Office worker has you performing tasks like making coffee, shredding documents and making presentations on the computer in your cubicle, while in auto mechanic you’ll find yourself changing tires or repainting vehicles all while racking up huge bills for the customers. It’s the level of interaction in Job simulator that makes it stand out from other VR games. Almost everything in the simulated space can be picked up and manipulated. There’s something strangely satisfying about picking up a bottle of wine in the gourmet chef simulator and pulling the cork out. Simple interactions like tossing an object from one hand to another also feel weighted and satisfying. Every interaction feels real, and nothing is more important than that when trying to engross a player in a virtual space.

Job Simulator features a spectator mode in which the player in the headset can place virtual cameras throughout the 3D space that affects what players outside the headset can see on the TV or computer monitor the game signal is being sent to; I would hope this idea becomes a standard in VR games going forward. It allows for a unique way to observe VR gameplay as an outsider.

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Check your headlight fluid regularly 

 

Job Simulators well-polished VR experience isn’t all that makes it stand out. The games humorous writing stand out in a big way which isn’t terribly surprising once you realize the game was worked on by Community and Rick and Morty co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the two even lent some voice work for Job Simulator. Some of the more witty dialogue has the museum curator Job bot, pointing out on more than one occasion how human jobs were constantly at odds with the efficiency of machines. At one point he even makes reference to an event called “the human uprising of 2027”. For those who want some extra laughs, turn on the boom box in the auto mechanic simulation. It features a few diffrent stations, one of which is a talk show featuring Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon that fans of Rick and Morty may find similar to the Intergalactic cable episodes of the show.

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Order up!

 

For those that have already dropped the hefty buy-in price required of and VR headset, Job Simulator is one of the funniest and most polished and complete feeling pieces of software available and at its very reasonable thirty dollar price point is worth every penny. As of writing, this Jb Simulator is the only VR experience I would call must buy. I can’t wait to see what other ideas the team at Owlchemy Labs cooks up for virtual reality.

Score: 9 out of 10

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Review: Batman Arkham VR Feels Like A Theme Park Ride

Game: Batman Arkham VR

Developer(s): Rocksteady Studios

Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive

Platform(s): PlayStation 4 with PSVR

Release Date: October 2016

MSRP: $19.99

With the recent launch of the PSVR, it would seem virtual reality is finally affordable enough to be a mass market product. I finally got my hands on PlayStations slightly lower end and far more reasonably priced headset and started my dive into VR with a familiar world, that of the Dark Knight. Like most of these early VR titles are bound to be Batman Arkham VR is less of a game and more of an experience lasting about an hour or two. It’s pretty amazing to stand in the Batcave in the boots of the Caped Crusader, but Arkham VR is far from perfect.

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Alfreds wakes a sleeping Bruce at the games start

 

You can play Arkham VR from a seated or standing position(the game recommends standing) using the PSVR headset and two motion controllers. If you have the room standing is the ideal way to play, I found it better suited the head and hand tracking. Also, you’ll have a bit of room to move around if you’re playing from a standing position. Game controls are limited and straightforward; you use the home button on your motion controllers to warp to multiple points in the environment to explore crime scenes and more. The triggers on your move controllers allow you to open and close Batman’s hands to interact with objects in the environment as well as Batmans Gadgets.

Batman has three gadgets from the Arkham series to make use of in this VR adventure. The grappling hook which can be used to interact some switches but for the most part is used for transition sequences between scenes. You also get use of the forensic scanner and batarangs. Batarang use is mainly for tripping switches in the environment, but the forensic scanner is by far the most used gadget in this game, as the bulk of the gameplay is crime scene analysis. The player will use it to examine bodies, check for fingerprints, all of your typical Dark Knight detective work.

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You know you want it

 

Without giving too much away, I’ll say that it’s a damn shame the plot of Arkham VR doesn’t come out particularly strong. For a little VR experience, an incredibly strong narrative is all that could’ve saved it. You play as Bruce in search of his missing sidekicks Robin and Nightwing, the premise while exciting at first ends up feeling realtivly throw away all for the sake of a wink and nod to the plot of Arkham Knight.

Arkham VR isn’t truly a game it’s a VR experience, and while there’s nothing wrong with that especially at only a twenty dollar price point, it’s sub par plot doesn’t do much to save it from how simple it is. As a huge fan of Batman, I’ll probably play this more than an average gamer would. Arkham VR shines simply in one place; it’s a marvel to look at, standing in the Batcave or above the Iceberg Lounge dangling the Penguin off the roof are sights that never fail to impress me.

 

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The ability to examine full-scale character models in VR was pretty impressive

 

In these early days of virtual reality with few games to pick from Arkham VR is an entertaining experience you’ll more than likley play once and then show off to friends a few times after. That being said if you can only afford one game after investing in this $500 piece of hardware your money is better spent on some of the most entertaing bits of software like Job Simulator or Rez Infinite.

Score: 6 out of 10

 

 

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NX Revealed, Say Hello To The Nintendo Switch

This morning we got our first look at Nintendo’s new console dropping in March. The NX codename is officially ditched, say hello to the Nintendo Switch.

 

Not only is it exciting to see the console unveiled as well as have a name, but it also appears most of the rumors surrounding the hardware are entirely accurate. Three months ago Eurogamer broke a story stating that the NX would be a home console and handheld hybrid that docked for tv play. They also detailed the way in which the controller would split in half to attach to the portable display. It looks like their sources were right on the money with this one.

In addition to the big hardware reveal we got a look at a few games running on the console. The Legend of Zelda Breath of The Wild, Skyrim, Splatoon, and even a brief glimpse of an unnamed Mario game.

Our first glimpse of the Switch looks promising, Nintendo’s idea to bridge the gap between the home console and handheld may just be perfect if they can get behind the Switch with great hardware. Hopefully, in the coming months, we’ll learn a whole lot more. The Nintendo Switch drops in March of 2017.

 

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Hi-Rez Is Making A Smite Tactics Game

Hey, remember Smite, the MOBA from the studio behind Paladins? I do, if only because it was the game that really made me want to like MOBA’s. For those unfamiliar with the term a MOBA or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, traditionally refers to top-down team-based arena games like League of Legends. Smite was different though it was third-person for one and it also had a theme I genuinely liked, Battle Ground of the Gods. Try as I might, in the end, Smite only confirmed that MOBA’s were simply not my kind of game. However, it seems Hi-Rez is taking the characters and lore of Smite into a genre that is very much in my wheelhouse, a tactics game.smite_604x423

Smite Tactic will be a turn based strategy game using characters from mythology like Thor and Zeus. Smite Tactics seems to be taking a page from Hearthstone in that many of the character abilities seem to stem from cards in the player’s hand. Hopefully, the game will bring some ideas in from other great tactics games like Tactics Ogre and Fire Emblem.

Smite Tactics has no release date as of yet but it’s currently in full development, and you can register to play in the beta here. With any luck, we’ll know a whole lot more before the year is out. Until then Check out the Trailer Below.

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