Grand Theft Auto IV Vault Review – A Gritty Masterpiece

I originally wrote this review when I was working as an editor for my college newspaper. It is an interesting look at a game that, now five years later, still has a lot of stories to tell. While Grand Theft Auto IV has not remained the pinnacle of gaming that it was heralded as in 2008, the game still offers a unique turning point for how Rockstar Games would handle their games. GTA4 marks a shift to narrative and realism, not in the sense that the game is a crime simulator, but in that the worlds they create teem with life. GTA4 not only provides a glimpse of the direction of next week’s GTA5 but also provides evidence of the maturation of Rockstar. Simply looking at the games that followed GTA4 show that while gameplay still favors over-the-top theatrics, the worlds of Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire and Max Payne all have influence from GTA4.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Over the years, Grand Theft Auto has been both loved and criticized for its edgy open-world gameplay that lets players take on the role of a gun for hire as they climb the ranks of the criminal underworld. The new Grand Theft Auto IV, the first true numbered sequel since 2001’s GTA3, sheds much of the baggage that defined the previous generations of GTA titles. There is still plot-driven missions and the ability for the player to run amok on a crime wave across the city, but what is different about the game is how truly alive it feels. Continue reading

Because…Japan – Japan World Cup 3

I’ll just leave this here.

While traipsing about the Interwebs, I came across this gem from the brilliant minds over at Achievement Hunters. It’s hard to describe precisely what is going on in this game that starts as an innocuous horse racing game. Only that horse racing game features barrel horses, hind-legged prancing horses, elongated horses and a yeti.

The game in question is called Japan World Cup 3 and is less of a game but more of a scripted algorithm that chooses the outcome of races in “randomly” generated fashion. Random might be the best way to describe the onslaught of hilarity that ensues with Japan World Cup, whose roots lie in a simple web browsing based betting game. The premise is simple enough, you place a bet on your horse (for fun lets bet on the prancing pony) and as soon as the horses enter the home stretch, all hell breaks loose.

Japan World Cup 2 Continue reading

Xbox One to Launch in North America and Europe on November 22

Xbox One

Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have our dates. Earlier today through their Xbox Wire, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Yusuf Mehdi announced that the Xbox One will launch in North America and Europe on November 22, 2013. The date puts the Xbox One a week behind Sony’s Playstation 4 launch day of November 15, but in an interesting twist, a week earlier than the PS4’s European launch on November 29.

The tight launch window feasibly creates a hectic holiday season with the United States’ Black Friday on November 29. While early word was that launch day systems had been “sold-out” for both systems prior to both companies announcing launch days, Microsoft also revealed that they were adding additional Day-One units of their Xbox One, specifically through their Microsoft Store. Continue reading

Keiji Inafune’s Kickstarter, Mighty No. 9, Looks Glorious

On Saturday, former Capcom producer Keiji Inafune started a Kickstarter campaign for a bold action shooter in the mold of Mega Man. Inafune, after all, was an illustrator for the Rockman project and is credited as the co-designer of Capcom’s legendary Blue Bomber. He had his hands in every major Mega Man project spanning 1987 through 2008 and worked as a producer for the Resident Evil, Onimusha, Lost Planet and Dead Rising series’. When it comes to games, Inafune is clearly dedicated to his craft.

Mighty No. 9

Its fair to assess Capcom’s treatment of the Mega Man/Rockman franchise as disappointing and underwhelming. What emerged as one of the penultimate franchises in the late 80s and 90s became Capcom’s go-to to pad their sales figures and churn out mediocre action/rpg hybrids aimed at younger, less discerning audiences. While the Blue Bomber still had a bit of magic left in core series spin-offs like X in the 90s, and later in the Zero and ZX series’, gamers pined for a bit of love in the form of classic Mega Man gameplay, brought up to speed with modern hardware. Continue reading