God of War Collection - PS3 Review

Awhile back, I needed a new controller and I noticed the God of War collection bundle was only $5 more so I figured "Why not?" I had thoroughly enjoyed the first God of War game years ago on my Playstation 2, but for whatever reason had never gotten around to playing any of the others. When I picked this bundle pack up, I decided to pick up the PSP game I reviewed a few days ago too. While God of War: Chains of Olympus came first from a storyline standpoint, these two titles were the first in the series in terms of when they were produced.

The games are a combination of combat, puzzle-solving and platforming on a bloody quest for Kratos to find vengeance. What does this package have that the originals didn't? Well, it got a nice HD gloss over visually and added PS3 trophies. Question is - how do the games hold up today?

Graphics - 7:

The HD improvements do indeed help, but the fact is the textures and movements are all the same as they were years ago. That's not a bad thing - I remember when the first God of War game came out. The sense of scale, the use of background animations and the visceral, vicious combat. The second game looks better than the first, but both show hints of their original age throughout.

Sound & Music - 9:

The voice acting is good, the sound effects are good, and the music is great. There's a lot of music that's reused from one game to another, or modified - but all in all this is one of the stronger aspects of the entire series. This aged far better than the graphics in my opinion. In one part, where you are in a desert in the first game, you have to rely on sound to find one of the three sirens in the sandstorm. A great use of sound where it is actually used as a part of the gameplay and not simply an effect.

Gameplay - 8:

So many games have tried to immitate the combat found in God of War. Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, Dante's Inferno and Heavenly Sword immediately come to mind. There is a real weight and flow to the way Kratos and his chained blades move on the screen and tear through enemies. The combat of God of War is still more satisfying tome than the above mentioned games, despite its age.

Some of the puzzles did not fare quite so well. The first game in particular was a bit frustrating in places and you get the feeling that over time, the studio has refined their mechanics. Sometimes the puzzles are just incredibly easy and require no effort at all, and others you're left scratching your head looking for some obscure hole in the wall you can only find from one specific angle or a lever hidden behind something that is perfectly blended with the rest of the environment. Also, I found myself frustrated with several of the platforming parts - a frustration I don't recall from playing the first game years ago.

Intangibles - 8:

No online, which is fine. There's costumes, trials, different difficulty modes - so the developers try to give you reasons to replay the game. The trophies were a nice touch as well. The way you level equipment and skills keeps you feeling like Kratos is continually evolving, which helps to keep you invested as well. There's also some developer videos and behind the scenes stuff for people who are interested in how this series was put together.

Overall - 8:

I got the disc for $5 - I can't complain. I've seen it used for about 12-18 dollars at several places as well. The core gameplay mechanics have always been solid, and they aged well. Some of the puzzles and platforming could have been better, and the game itself is very linear with a single ending to each one so replay value is a bit limited as well. If you're interested in these types of games though, then they are definitely worth the investment - just keep them away from your kids. Watch out for violence, language, nudity, sexual situations (there's a sex mini-game where you don't actually see sex, but let's face it - there's not a ton left to the imagination so my kids don't get to be anywhere near these titles).


God of War: Chains of Olympus - PSP Review

I've been on a bloody good tear with video games of late, but perhaps none of them are bloodier than the exploits of Kratos in the God of War series. There's currently 2 PSP games in the series out there, and this is the earlier of the two, Chains of Olympus.

For those unfamiliar with this Sony exclusive series, these games are a mesh of combat, puzzle-solving and platforming in a 3D environment set in a fantasy version of ancient Greece. Chains of Olympus is actually a prequel to the original God of War game that came out on the PS2 some years ago.

Now, most of my PSP favorites are some form of action or strategy game. I just don't often feel comfortable playing action style games on the smaller screen, whether it's due to the controls, the smaller screen, weaker audio - whatever the combination of reasons are, I usually wind up disappointed. So, question is - how well does Kratos' prequel translate to the small screen?

Graphics - 10:

For the PSP, this game's visuals are absolutely amazing. Right on par for me with Crisis Core which I thought had some of the best cinema screens of any PSP game to date. God of War however, keeps the impressive presentation going right through the gameplay itself. There are moments of epic backdrops where you really just have to take in everything that's happening around you, and it's all brought in a tear and stutter free framerate that keeps the action moving along perfectly.

Sound & Graphics - 10:

The voice acting is generally good, the sound effects are varied and compliment what is happening on screen. The music in these games is amazing, and the PSP version does not disappoint on that front. A great sound track that really brings out the best in the action and atmosphere.

Gameplay - 9:

It's a tried and true formula that has been imitated a lot over the last several years, but this series still does the combat better than most. The RPG elements really keep you invested as well. As you topple more powerful enemies, you unlock new abilities and spells that can be leveled up through the red orbs you gather. On top of that, there are platforming and puzzle elements to help break up the action. Now, I will admit the platforming stuff sometimes got on my nerves, and this series for all of the things it does right, does sometimes struggle in that regard in my opinion. However, the PSP game did not often leave me feeling like I died cheaply and the controls actually work very well despite the fact there are fewer interface buttons than the ps3 controller.

Intangibles - 7:

It's a great game, but it is a bit on the short side - I think I beat it in about eight hours. The puzzles are good, and only once or two really had me annoyed. The storyline was interesting and there's plenty of things to unlock along the way. There are some bonus content as well, such as The Challenge of Hades which is a series of trials. You can unlock new costumes for other playthroughs and even some cool art and behind the scenes stuff as well.

Overall - 9:

The game is a bit light on replay value and there are no online modes of any kind. That said, if you enjoy these types of combat-oriented action games, then you will probably find a good deal to like here. It is a game that can be found pretty inexpensively as well - I've seen it at use game shops for around $8 and that is pretty hard to beat. Of note, this series is in no way appropriate for kids - I don't even let them go into my bedroom when I'm playing it, between the gore, language and nudity.


Bloodbowl - Legendary Edition - PC Review

I'm not real familiar with the Warhammer universe, but I've that this game is based on a board game that has been out for several years now. I bought this game on a 75% discount and was drawn in with the combination of fantasy elements and football theme. I am a huge fan of football and recalled my adoration for the old Sega Genesis game, Mutant League Football (built on a Madden engine of that time). So, did this game meet my expectations or let me down? Unfortunately, more of the latter.

Graphics - 4:

This is pretty rough stuff here. I realize this is an older game, but it is rough even by older standards. The cut scenes are roughly animated and seem to be at a very limited frames per second. The game itself does not animate a whole lot better, and the colors and textures are really bland and muddy.

Sound & Music - 6:

Some of the commentary is actually pretty funny, but it gets really repetitive. The sound effects and music are not bad, they're simply bland. They do an effective job of relaying the action through the announcers and the game's effects, but they are not what I would consider interesting in the least.

Gameplay - 6:

It really depends on what you are looking for. This game is more simulation than actual action sports title. In fact, there's no real 'action' at all. The entire game is predicated on dice rolls that determine the success or failure of every single action. Of course, some of them make sense. Dodge a tackle, knock someone down, catch a pass? There's a reasonable level of expectation to these actions being associated to a roll of the dice. Others however, like being able to walk into a clear space or throw a pass that goes three open squares? The roll mechanic just feels overused and almost cheap. Instead of taking a 'skill' team that favors the deep ball, I found myself favoring brutes simply because the tackle/turnover odds were better.

Intangibles - 6:

There are several modes, though I had trouble finding any activity in online leagues. This is likely due to the fact that the game has been out a few years. That said, the season mode has some interesting facets such as the player progressions and the ability to earn money to buy more perks. Even still, the game feels a bit shallow at the end of the day and I found myself barely able to slog through even a single season.

Overall - 5.5:

This seems like a harsh score, but the game really let me down. Fantasy + football seemed like a fantastic idea, but outside of the team progression the game itself really failed to hold my interest. Many of the rules and gameplay mechanics were unclear to start, and even when I did understand them, I found them to be often quite annoying. There is a lot of potential here, but it's unrealized potential that left me wondering 'what if' instead of appreciating what was there.


Gaming Thoughts... 8/22/11 - Console Wars - Playstation 3

Due to process of elimination, the 'winner' of my little opinion piece cannot come as a big surprise. Playstation 3 was the second console of this generation I acquired - the Wii was my last. The Playstation 3 however, brings a lot to the table. The Sony claims that it 'only does everything' might not be exactly right - I give that title to my PC. However, the PS3 comes in second and is cheaper than a PC - though the most expensive of all the other systems discussed.

I will get a few complaints out of the way right off of the bat. The price is not friendly and never has been. Sony came out of the gates with a product that cost entirely too much - one of the reasons I seldom buy a new console immediately. I love the technology - but the price tags tend to go down quite a bit with time and it allows for the library to expand too.

The ability to only be logged into one account at a time is a bummer when you're trying to play local co-op with your kid or spouse. Even the Wii allows you to bring your different Miis into Mario Kart. Then again, at least your data is saved to a specific profile such as the Xbox 360 uses.

The hardware had been flawless for me - until about a month ago when the spinner or laser reader on one of my systems went out. That said, the console is still useful because it has lots of downloaded games and wireless capability.

And that right there, is a huge win for this console over my 360. My wife has been using a PS3 in our bedroom since she broke her tailbone about a year and a half ago. Netflix works beautifully in there - and trumps both the 360 due to its wireless availability and the Wii due to the content video definition.

Sony's made up a lot of ground on the game front as well. For years it felt as though the Playstation had the weakest overall game library, but now it holds its own with the other guys I think. Exclusives like Little Big Planet, Mod Nation Racers, Uncharted, Killzone, Infamous and so many more have really turned things around. The Playstation Store has proven to be excellent as well - every bit as good as the offerings by Nintendo and Microsoft I think.

The audio and video capability are top-notch, and probably the best in class barring a tricked out PC. This holds over to dvd upscaling and bluray playback as well. We have over 60 bluray discs right now, so again this console serves as a family-wide media device. Adding to that is the way it handles music and images from media servers - I know that the 360 can do this as well, but that system has always had stumbling points for my kids, but my 9 year old daughter can fire up music through the PS3 very easily on her own, and pipe it through our sound system.

This is the only system of console that does reach every corner of our household. My wife and oldest daughter love watching movies on it and playing the occasional casual game like Peggle. My youngest loves listening to music through it and Little Big Planet is unequivocally her favorite video game of all time. Then there's my son - and I briefly touched on this with the Xbox 360 article - he can play online for free.

I traded in Modern Warfare 2 on my 360 about a year ago when my friends stopped playing it regularly. My son loved the game, but only got to play on my account because I had a gold account. He had a tough time getting friends to play with that way too. Playstation's willingness to let people play games for free has been a huge determinant over the last year for me. I've purchased my last 3 Call of Duty games, my last three fighting games and last sports game because of this feature - because my son can then play online, and that is where he spends most of his time.

For me? I love content off of all of these systems we own, but if my PSP, 360 or Wii were to break down again, I probably would not replace them. When one of my PS3's broke partially, I simply found another quality use for it and immediately set about planning to pick up a new one for our living room. The fact that our entire family uses the console, in a variety of ways in a variety of rooms has made it the one system we all most enjoy now. That's why I have to declare it my winner of this generation's console wars. It's not a perfect system - no such thing exists. However, it is a near-perfect fit for the way our family likes to spend some of their free time.

Favorite titles from this system so far:

- Heavenly Sword
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
- Mortal Kombat


- Free online
- Wireless connection helps foster quality online experience
- Powerhouse, multifaceted system has a little something for everyone


- Only one account logged in locally at a time
- Most expensive (except a PC) system
- Late to the game with trophies - older games unsupported by them

Gaming Thoughts... 8/19/11 - Console Wars - Xbox 360

Here's my runner-up, but just barely. Honestly, I adore my computer much more at this point, but the 360 gets some credit here for a few reasons. First off - it was the earliest console from this generation I acquired, so I have without a doubt played more games on this than any other system over the last four or five years. I was waffling back and forth between this and a Playstation 3 at the time, but the quality of online service coupled with the number of friends I had who had this system (as opposed to only 1 who had a PS3 and 1 who had a Wii at the time) plus the gentler price tag sold it for me.

The library of games is excellent, ranging from Microsoft games to third party ones. Of course they were not all hits, but my earliest titles were excellent ones, ranging from Fear, to Condemned to Gears of War. Then came the sports titles and those mixed with online play had me hooked. Achievements were awesome - some games in the past had sort of mini-achievements, but never something global like this. A sort of virtual badge of honor your friends could see.

I hardly ever use the D-pad, and this system's controller feels great in my hands. I had come from using a Playstation 2 before buying the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 2 controllers broke on me fairly regularly.

I played through about 9/10 of Gears of War, and one of my buddies from work hopped right in to do co-op and we beat the game together one night. I had Saturday afternoons with co-workers where 5-15 of us would get together and play Modern Warfare 2. The collection of downloadable games was awesome - everything from Limbo, to Monday Night Combat, to Castle Crashers...

The hardware proved somewhat suspect after awhile though. I was the last of my friends to get a Red Ring of Death, but got it I did. I sent it into Microsoft and it was fixed for free after I had owned the system for a bit over 2 years, but then another problem presented itself and I was looking at about $150 to fix it. Disappointing.

Also, my friends seemed to be migrating off of the 360 to the PS3. My son wanted to play online games like Castle Crashers or Halo: Reach - but he would need a gold account. The idea of having to spend $50 a month to play online with friends was a bit rough for me, but then I realized how it cramped family play online - if you weren't willing to spend a good chunk of money.

The account management was handled very well. I liked how multiple people could log in with their actual accounts at a time for some local co-op, and how saved data files were kept separate from those of other login accounts.

The lack of wireless internet? That's been a bit more of a hassle - only one of my 360's is online due to this. The newer models are more reliable - but they are also very loud. My wife compares it to a coffee pot brewing - from the other room.

To my mind, there's been more good than bad. I've played a lot of games, and I still have some to go. you won't see Modern Warfare 2 show up on this list, even though some of my best 360 memories are of that game. I now own it for the PS3 - for reasons I will explain in my next and last post on this topic.

Favorite three games from this system:

- Halo: Reach
- Mass Effect
- Gears of War

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- Great audio and video really helped me 'leap' into this generation of games.
- Account management with file saves and local co-op is the best of all systems
- Excellent collection of games & had achievements from the start to go with them


- Hardware certainly had its share of failings
- Online play requires you to pay
- Lack of built-in wireless

Gaming Thoughts... 8/16/11 - Console Wars - Wii

And the winner is... not the Wii. Now, I know there's a lot of console love and hate out there. Considering my past consoles and anyone who's read this blog or other posts of mine in other places - I don't think anyone can honestly call me a fanboy to a particular company. I've owned Every. Single. Nintendo. System. Ever - with 2 exceptions - virtual boy and 3DS. Stil, the Wii comes up short in my mind when weighed in again the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360.

The full motion gaming controls and marketing were brilliant. The initial price point and slightly cheaper games made it more accessible to a larger audience than ever before. However, mistakes were made, and corners were cut in order to make all of this happen.

While the controls were immersive and in some games, very organic - in others they felt forced into place. Many third party companies struggled to make proper use of the controller options. Additionally, it wasn't until around midway through the console's life that the motion plus - something that granted true 1:1 motion control - was introduced. Now it feels like you need it for many of the best new games, but it seems like something that should have been there in the first place. The controllers add up to be expensive - especially if you want a full set for all four players.

The online store made for some great purchases, but most games simply did not make good use of online play. No voice chat, no achievements/trophies, most games with limited to no online play - it feels like the Wii really missed the move to online while their competitors capitalized on this.

The use of Miis in many of the games was a cute, clever way to add some personalization to some of the games, but the lack of true accounts made it easy for people to delete one another's data accidently - something that's happened quite a few times in our family.

The audio and video not being up to par with the 360 and PS3 was easier to overlook early in the life of the three consoles, but as developers have learned to make better use of the 360 and PS3 hardware, the Wii looks and sounds more last-generation than ever.

The library of games has been a mixed bag. The first-party Nintendo stuff has been amazing, ranging from Kirby's Epic Yarn to Mario's many adventures to the oddity of Link ushering in and out the Wii in some ways. Twilight Princess was a great introduction to the Wii, and it feels more and more like Skyward Sword is going to be something of a farewell as Nintendo has been showing very lukewarm support for the Wii in favor of their current projects - the Wii U and 3DS.

While the first-party games have been generally excellent, many third party titles have not been so successful. There are plenty of very good games out there from third party developers, but there are also truckloads of crap - something I'm not able to sugarcoat.

Favorite games so far on this system:

- Metroid: Other M
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
- Mario Kart Wii

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- Unique Control Scheme
- Great first-party titles
- Best full-console price points


- Audio & Video feel last generation
- Lots of poor third party titles
- Weak online presence

Gaming Thoughts... 8/13/11 - Console Wars - PSP

Having just looked at the DS, comparing it to the PSP in my next post was pretty much inevitable. Now, we only have one PSP and that's the one my wife got me for Christmas about four years ago. Everything on it is in great working order - the screen still shows up, no connections are broken, the audio is still crisp - and louder than the DS and the battery life still holds up for about four hours at a time. All things considered, it has proven durable for me.

My collection of games for the PSP has gone up and down over the years, and the catalog is very much to my liking, with a fair collection of RPG games in particular. There are other titles for it though my family likes. My wife has spent plenty of time with Puzzle Quest and 7 Wonders, my oldest has played Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, my son likes shooters such as Killzone and my youngest adores Little Big Planet. So it's a pretty versatile library. Thing is, I'm not sure it's as large or expansive as the DS one - in fact, I'm pretty sure it's not. Those games I listed are the only games anyone but my son or I actually play.

One really nice thing is that you can save your data to a memory stick. That makes it so my two oldest can take turns playing Kingdom Hearts, or my son and I can take turns playing Crisis Core, without wiping each other's data.

Depending on how you feel about the touchscreen controls, the PSP can be hit or miss. I prefer just using a gamepad most of the time, so the controls actually suit me more, but there is something to be said about the less traditional DS controls for fans of those systems.

While the operating system looks similar to the PS3 one, it's lacking in several areas. Like the DS the online presence of the PSP is very weak outside of the store. Also, you only have one 'account'. That's proven unfortunate a couple of times when my son and I accidentally overwrote one another's data.

Favorite Games for the system so far:

- Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
- Disidia: Final Fantasy
- God of War: Chains of Olympus


- Video and audio are great for a handheld
- Portable, durable gaming
- Saves data to the memory stick


- Library is not as good as the DS one
- Controls are very traditional - a bummer for some who prefer the DS style
- Weak online presence

Gaming Thoughts... 8/10/11 - Console Wars - DS

We have a few systems. Other than PC's, the DS is actually our 2nd most-owned system. I know it's not really a console, but considering the prices of handheld systems now, and the expansive libraries they have, I consider them to be in that category. With the 3DS and Vita ringing in at $250 and the Wii and Xbox 360 cheaper, I think it's fair.

Now unfortunately, I do not have a 3DS. Technically, I don't have any DS systems, because my kids each have one (two lites and DSi). Still, I do get the play them and I definitely have some thoughts on these.

First, I love the library of games. Between the franchise sweethearts like Zelda, Mario and more to the downloadable content the DSi and later have access to, and the myriad of old-school RPGs that I absolutely love to play - there's a good collection here. The controls are unique and intuitive. I will be honest, my personal preference is a controller to the touchscreen overall, but in some games it does work really, really well.

The fact that your gaming is on the go is of course the primary selling point. I also have to give these things pretty decent credit for durability. Decent, not great. My youngest has had the same problem on her unit (bad cartridge port) twice, and my son once dropped his on the ground, Nerf armor and all, and it cracked the screen even though it was closed and landed on its side. Then again, those units have been dropped tons of times and still hold up, and my oldest has had hers since the beginning and it's in great working shape.

There are some downsides though as well. The screens are a bit small and hard to see - especially in a brightly lit room. The very nature of using an item to touch and drag across the screen scratches and scuffs it over time. The sound and video are a bit weak, even compared to another handheld like the PSP.

It's really not the system of choice either, when the kids have other options. My son will play a full console or my PC before playing his DS. My youngest will also. My wife and I fall into that category as well. It's not unanimous however - my oldest actually prefers her DS to any of the consoles and it is runner up only to her PC - and she uses it for Facebook and writing - not gaming.

There's really not much of an online presence for playing online either for their units. In fact the DS Lites can't even get online here because of our router encryption type, though my son's DSi can.

One last problem is the way the data saves to the games instead of the unity memory. This makes it impossible for the kids to share a game like Pokemon Diamond, because they are only able to have one save file, no matter whose DS it is being played on. That's caused several problems in the past unfortunately when someone bought a game and realized there weren't enough save slots to go around.

Favorite Games for the System so far:

- Final Fantasy Tactcis A@ - Grimoir of the Rift
- Final Fantasy XII - Revnant Wings
- Zelda Phantom Hourglass


- Portable
- Great selection of games
- Unique interface


- Weak audo/video
- Data saves to games, not memory
- Minimal online presence

Gaming Thoughts... 8/7/11 - Console Wars - PC

What is the top gaming system in our household? This is very subjective obviously, but after quite a bit of thought - I have an answer.

This is just a bit of an opinion - but I've had a few people ask me: what's your favorite system?

That's a good question, especially since we have 3 DS's (2 lites and a DSi), a PSP, Wii, 360 and PS3. I have a PC as well that I use as a gaming machine. Now, for overall utility, my PC wins hands-down, because it plays games, movies, browses - the whole 9 yards. It's not my favorite gaming device though. I'll go some pros and cons to each -and mind you this is only my opinion - but here it is. To keep the posts from getting too obnoxiously large, I'm going to break this down into a series of posts every couple of days, one post per system, until I'm done.

PC: It only does everything. Sure, I'm stealing Sony's PS3 tagline here, but in all honestly it is true. As a gaming machine though, it has some setbacks. I play on a smaller screen than my 3 primary consoles, and it is definitely not the best system for multiplayer locally. There's a very big disconnect on this machine - it's "my" system, and sometimes the kids use it, but it's definitely not a social gaming system for my family the way the Wii is, for example.

It can be as powerful as I like, but there's a significant cost factor involved as well, and while it's good, it doesn't always produce the best framerate and sound (since I'm also not set up for surround on this machine). Another bit of a strike is that nothing has resale value. Now, the flip side to that is I get games for it more cheaply than any other system as well (thank you Steam!).

I'm relatively new to PC gaming, at least this 'generation'. I played plenty of games on an older machine about 10 years ago - Magic: The Gathering, Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft and plenty more - but I went years without playing games on weak PC's (with the very notable exception of World of Warcraft) until my wife bought me this new one last Christmas, and I have found a ton of games since.

Favorite Games for the system so far:

- King's Bounty: Legend
- Defense Grid: Awakenings
- Star Craft 2


- It does everything - I use it for online games, free games, web browsing is best supported here
- MMO's - games like World of Warcraft just don't work as well on consoles it seems
- Cheap games - there's a back catalog of games that is huge. Newer games are cheaper, and older games are much, much cheaper than most of what you find on consoles


- Expensive. Performance costs more than on consoles
- Not always ideal for local multiplayer
- can't trade/sell the games

Marvel Pinball - PSN Review

I reviewed FX Pinball by Zen Studios for the PSN recently, and I really liked the game and my dad seemed to enjoy it when he was over as well. Zen Studios made a spin-off set of tables using the same basic engine - and the result is Marvel Pinball. I had originally downloaded the main package, which came with four tables: Spider-man, Wolverine, Iron Man and Blade. I also picked up the two expansion tables, Fantastic Four and Captain America.

Graphics - 8:

There is a great look and feel to these tables. Each one has a different layout and appearance, and some of them like the Blade table have a really cool day/night effect. There's never any slow-down or stutter, no tearing or pop-in/out and you have several views you can see the table from. There is a lot going on at times, which can make it a tad bit tough to follow the ball (or balls if you get a multi-ball situation), but the fact that the game never winds up chugging under all of that movement is a good thing.

Sound & Music - 7:

The music is pretty up-tempo and matches what you are doing no the screen. There's some voice acting on all of the tables as well - for better or for worse. It's not great voice acting, but there's a sort of cheesiness to it that lends itself to the pinball table experience. It can get a bit repetitive - I know there were times where I was hitting the same shot over and over again and the sound effects and the triggered voice over were the exact same for about two straight minutes. It was a rare thing, but it occurred nonetheless.

Gameplay - 9:

For a pinball table, this is what you want. The flippers respond well, there is a great deal of variety within and between the tables, you can control the ball launch for 'skill shot' attempts and the menus are easy to get around as well. You can do a lot of customizing of your tables if you really want - I honestly don't bother though because manipulating those settings to a non-default value makes your scores ineligible for online leaderboards. Probably the only thing holding this back from being a 'perfect' pinball representation are the somewhat odd mini-game or quest missions you can pick up. They slightly draw you out of the experience and there's no explanation on how they work. It took me a few tries to realize I could select between missions on Captain America or Blade, and I had to explain it to my dad several times before he picked up on it. That part's just not quite as intuitive as the rest of the game.

Intangibles - 8:

There's trophies to unlock, leaderboards, a score called 'hero score' - and you can compare against your friends on the PSN. My dad picked these six tables up after playing them on my PS3 on his last visit, and we continually try to one-up one another. That said, I wish I knew more people playing these games too, because other than my dad and my son - I don't have any other friends playing and those bragging rights would be more fun with more people.

Overall 8:

I feel like these tables are more polished than the original FX tables I played and reviewed earlier. For fans of the comic books, it just adds an extra layer of fun to hear Spider-man spouting a one-liner or watching Tony Stark get suited up in his Iron Man costume if you progress far enough in one round. Everyone will get different mileage out of the game and the tables. For $10 you can get the original four, and then for $3 each, you can pick up the additional Captain America and Fantastic Four tables. I'm a bit surprised that no Thor table's been released yet, given the movie release. Same of Hulk and I would fully expect there to be an avengers one. There's 'slots' in the main menu for more tables, so I am certain more are planned.

If I had to list my tables in order of preference, I'd probably say:

Captain America
Fantastic Four
Iron Man


Gaming Thoughts... 8/3/11 - Humble Bundle #3

I missed out on the first couple of Humble Bundle deals when they came out. My computer was somewhat... lacking prior to Christmas (thanks hon!). That said, I've been gobbling up games at a somewhat stupid pace since then on discount, and one of the better deals out there is the occasional Humble Bundle - you can find it here:


It's pretty hard to have anything bad to say about this. Indy game developers roll out a package of titles where you pay what you want to get the games included. Seriously, I have a friend who paid $1 last time. Sometimes, I'm embarrassed to be in public with him :P

It's for a good cause as a good chunk of the proceeds goes to charity - but even then you can decide how much you want to go to whom, whether it's a charity or the developers themselves. The deal was already pretty good, but it got made better today. The original package included:

Crayon Physics Deluxe
Cogs (which I reviewed previously here.)
And Yet It Moves
Steel Storm

On top of that, if you pay more than the current average people are shelling out (that would be $5.10 as of this writing) you are eligible to get the previously offered Humble Bundle #2 as well. That list of games includes:

Cortex Command
Revenge of the Titans

In case that wasn't enough incentive, they're also tossing in a free key to play Minecraft until August 14th. My son was in on the earlier betas and loves this game, so he was pretty excited about this one.

The games found in the two Humble Bundles are also DRM-free, and they can be tied to a Steam account for those who like having their games centrally located, so I'll no doubt be playing them on Steam while my kids play them on their internet-less computer.

Obviously some people will already have some of these games (I had Cogs through Steam and Braid on my 360) - so that may affect how good the value is for you personally, but I'm very excited to get a hold of these games at this price, and am excited to see the Humble Bundles still coming out. Have you downloaded and made use of this or any of the prior Humble Bundles? If so, what did you think? The only other one I had purchased was the Frozenbyte one and have only logged extensive time with Trine, which I have been thoroughly enjoying.

KotL - Summoner project

So I did a few posts awhile back about a game I was prodding at with RPG Maker XP. I haven't stopped working on it - well, not completely. I did take about a month off as I waited for the funds to buy the program (there was this matter of a ps3 that goofed me up in there). Anyway, I have been doing some more work/fiddling/messing around and got the intro complete. It's not going to be a long game. If I can make a 5-10 hour game, I'd be pretty happy. Right now it's like 15-30 minutes to get through the character creation and intro - the character creation of which I have a brief video of below:

It's not much to show, but there's still a lot of little things I'm poking at. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. Which is why my MUD was in 'beta' for years.

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