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    Apr 19th, 2013 at 00:53:08     -    Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC)

    Batman Arkham Asylum: Monday, Aug. 9,2013

    Batman Arkham Asylum is an action adventure game based on the hit comic book series. The player plays as the famous superhero Batman has he fights his way through the insanity that is Arkham Asylum.

    =Controls =
    For my play though of the game, I utilized wired X-box 360 remote connected to desktop computer. The game is on PC, X-Box 360, and PS3. With the PC version, there are keyboard and mouse input, but as a matter of personal preference, I used a controller. The controls as followed: Left Analog stick-Move, Right Analog Stick-Camera control, Directional Pad-Equipment Selection, A+Left Analog Stick-Run, X-Attack, B-Cape Stun, Y-Counter, Holding Right Back Trigger(R.B.T.)-Crouch, Y+R.B.T-Takedown, Pressing R.B.T-Quick Batclaw, Pressing Left Back Trigger(L.B.T)-Quick Batarang, Holding L.B.T-Prepare Equipment, Holding L.B.T+Pressing R.B.T-Use prepared equipment, Right Upper Back Button-Grappling Hook, Holding Left Upper Back Button-Detective Mode, Pressing Left Upper Back Button-Enviroment Analyzer

    The story begins as Batman has just captured Joker and is returning him to Arkham Asylum. Upon being released into the hands of the guards of Arkham, Joker manages to escape their grip, and with the help of his evil sidekick, Harley Quinn, begins taking over Arkham. As the story progressing, you learn that Joker has actually been working with one of the doctors of Arkham, Dr. Young, to develop a formula for a superhuman. It then become you job to stop Joker from building a superhuman army to take over Gotham. There are a few twist and turns in the story with some debut for some iconic Batman characters until the inevitable battle with the Joker himself.

    = Game Play =
    For my initial game play, I choose to do it on Hard mode, the highest difficulty, as a matter of preference, but I later went back to analysis the difference by playing it on the easy settings. As the overall game goes, there are the basic game elements that are used thought the game. These are the traveling element, the stealth element, and the combat element.
    The traveling element was very easy because it was simply get from point A to point B. At these parts of the game, it’s really hard to fail due to the fact that in a place where you would fall off into the abyss, the game would give you the option to grapple back up and try again. Without the ability to fail at these stages, the mazes become a simple state of trial and error till the player gets it right.
    The stealth element was a little more challenging. These parts of the game primarily consisted of the Scarecrow fear stages and the hostage situation stages, but there is also the stages in which the room is filled with criminals armed with guns and it is suggested that you eliminate them using the stealth approach. In the Scarecrow stage, the objective is to get through the stage without being seen by a giant Scarecrow or else it is game over. In the hostage stage, the player must make it to the villain holding the person hostage and take them out, without being seen by the villain or the criminals patrolling the stage, but if you are seen, the hostage is kill and it’s game over. As far as the stages with only armed criminals, on easier difficulties, it is sometimes possible to take out the criminals without using much stealth, but on hard, I found that this is not an option at all.
    The combat element is actually the only place in which difficulty makes a difference. The only difference in difficulty is the amount of damage the player does and the amount of damage the enemies deal. Combat is composed of three different stages. These are the group criminal fights, the “Bain” boss fights, and the miscellaneous boss fights. In group criminal fights, the player is surrounded with basic criminals that attack the player. In these stages, the main objective is to take down all of the surrounding enemies. This can be done by using the takedown ability while an enemy is on the ground or damaging the enemies to a point where they are knocked out. The second option on hard is a little more difficult as well as time consuming to a point where it’s best to use the takedown technique. In this group fight, there are some special enemies that require the use of advanced fighting techniques like countering and stunning to be taken down. The next combat stage I’ll be discussing is the “Bain” style boss fights, and I have named this because throughout the game there are 5 or 6 boss fights in which the player has to use the same techniques that are used to take out Bain to take out these bosses. The basic technique is to as the “Bain” enemy is running at you, throw a Batarang at them stunning them and then attacking them until they recover. The game increases the difficulty of these fights as the game progresses by adding in criminals that fight alongside the “Bain” boss and even putting two “Bain” bosses in the same stage. Overall, these stages to me fill the game considering they are supposed to be set up as boss fights. Lastly, in the miscellaneous boss fight, the player gets to go up against one of few extra villains in the asylum. Each of these bosses has their own strategy in which the player has to use to take them down.

    =Extra Content=
    In the game, there is some extra content which helps keep the game going a little after the story is done. The first extra content is the Riddler Challenges which are actually done throughout the story mode but can’t be completed until the very end of the story. These challenges are interesting because they unlock bones content like Character Bios, Character Trophies, and give a little more back story into the game of Arkam Asylum and the villains that are there. Then there is Challenge Mode for the players who want to keep playing long after the story mode is over. In these challenges, a player has to complete some part of the story mode while either obtaining a high score or completing a series of tasks. There isn’t anything to unlock with completing these challenges but they can be fun to do.

    = Overall =
    Batman Arkam Asylum is a pretty good game overall. It has some issues with the combat system in the case that if feel like the player is doing just a lot of button mashing and the “Bain” boss fight to me personally just feel repetitive after a while. Also the player is more drawn to stay in detective mode though most of the gameplay. What makes this a good game is the story. The story is very solid as far as a Batman story goes, and the extra content involving villain profiles helped me learn more about the Batman universe. So, even though it falls short on some of the gameplay element, it’s still a good game do to the fact that it tailors to its audience, Batman fans. It gives them what they want, Batman being Batman.

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    Feb 28th, 2013 at 11:33:49     -    Castlevania (NES)

    Castlevania: Wednesday, February 27, 2012

    Castlevania is single player horror themed action game originally for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in which the player is cased as the vampire slayer Simon Belmont. The player’s objective is to travel though Dracula’s castle, fighting various monstrous enemies and bosses, until the player finally reaches Dracula for a dual to the end.

    = Console =
    Though Castlevania was originally released on the NES, from my play though, I utilized an NES emulator on my computer called Jnes, website below, and an X-Box Afterglow Wired remote, link to picture below, to mimic the play and feel of the original NES. I didn’t find much difference in the overall game play using this system as opposed to using a genuine NES, except the moment in which the game would glitch, would have to determine if that was an issue with the emulator or the game itself. All the glitches I came across I determined that it was an issue with the game not the emulator. As far as the feel of the game was concerned, nothing can replace the original feel of an NES rectangular controller playing the game on an old box TV, but my current setup is a nice substitute which doesn’t take away from game play despite the fact that the X-box controller’s D-pad is a little inconvenient. Another minor issue with not owning the original game is the lack of an owner’s manual. This is a problem because the player then has to learn to use their secondary attack by shear trial and error.
    The controls for Castlevania are as follows:

    Move left and right -> (NES) left and right on D-pad (Jnes) left and right on D-pad of xbox controller
    Jump -> (NES) A (Jnes) A
    Primary Attack -> (NES) B (Jnes) X
    Secondary Attack -> (NES) Up + B (Jnes) Up + X
    Crouch -> (NES) Down (Jnes) Down

    = Graphics and Sound =
    The graphics and sound are what set up the horror theme to the whole game. As far as the graphics go, they do a good job of depicting a creepy old castle with the level of technology of the NES time. The levels of the game are rendered pretty well though, there is an issue of knowing when something is a block that can be moved upon or is just a part of the background due to the fact that they can sometimes blind together because of the color scheme used. There is also the issue with the graphic glitching causing you or an enemy to phase and sometimes be complete invisible for a second or two. This can be an issue for players when an enemy glitches though an attack or a player gets hit and keeps getting hit because they cannot see themselves. Unfortunately, this was a problem with some of the games for the NES just due to the technology constraint.
    As far as sound goes, Castlevania manages well when it comes to sound. The music of the game is an upbeat 8-bit style with a horror undertone to provide the horror feel while keeping it fast enough for the action game play. The game also does well by providing sounds for almost all possible actions. From a throwing a dagger to pausing the game, it has a sound for that.
    Overall, both the graphics and the sounds were the best for the time that the game was released.
    = Play though =
    Though the first three levels, I really didn’t have much of a hard time. The level designs seemed really basic and the face that the play practically starts out with the strongest whip at the beginning of the game helps the player get through these levels really quickly. The only real challenge though these levels occurs in every level and that is the small monsters. With their small hit box it can be easy to miss them, which become even more of a problem in later levels because all monsters do the same amount of damage based on the current level you are in. Another issue I had on these levels was the fact that I would accidently fall off the edge of the platforms. This was due to the fact that in order to actually go up and down stairs, the player must hold the respective button when first getting on the stairs. This means that if a player were to just hold right hoping he would automatically go down the stairs, he would then proceed to fall through those stairs rather than go down them. This was an issue for me do to modern gaming normally allowing for such a function. Level four isn’t hard as far as progressing though the level. What makes it difficult is the boss fight. At the fourth level, the play actually fights two enemies at once, Igor and Frankenstein. A similar issue presents itself in level five when fighting Death. Death has 4 flying scythes that track the player dealing 4 damage if they manage to land a hit. Since a player is only allowed 16 life, if a player is hit with all 4 scythes in a short period of time, they are dead and have to restart the level. Finally, the last level was the most difficult. The reason for this is the way the level is set up. It is nearly impossible to go through this level by destroying all of the enemies. The level begins with 4 of the level one boss bats in a row that deal 4 damage if they hit you. Then the next have of the level has imps being dropped in randomly by ravens coming into the screen. The best way I found to get though the level is to run until you make it to Dracula’s bed chamber. Now comes the big boss fight. I actually had a lot of difficulty beating him, ie. I died a lot, but thank fully, the game allows for a continue that the beginning of a level and the game considers Dracula’s chamber as a new level. It takes a lot of practice and a bit of luck. Dracula has two forms. In my opinion, his first form is much more difficult than his second. In both form, the objective is to hit his face with an attack. In his first form, his vanishes and appears at random as well as having a small head and throwing fire ball. In his second from, he becomes bigger, jumps around, and still shots fireballs. With the bigger face to hit as well as a set jump path, his second form is actually easier to handle. At the end of the game, Dracula’s castle crumbles into itself and the credits roll.
    = Overall =
    Castlevania is an interesting challenge for the more serious gamer. More casual gamers, though, may find that the later level designs and boss fights too frustrating to allocate the hours to finish the game. Regardless, it is still a landmark in game design by developing a stepping stone when which action side-scrollers can improve upon.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 28th, 2013 at 11:34:48.

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    Feb 3rd, 2013 at 09:09:47     -    Munchkin (Other)

    Munchkin- Session 1-January 17th
    Session 2-January 31st

    Munckin is a competitive card game which jokingly mimics the elements of a standard table top rpg, such as D&D.

    = Players =

    Each player represents an adventurer traveling though a dungeon. Each player has two stats, level and power level, which can be increased though various means including level up cards, equipment, ect. A player wins the game by being the first player to level 10. Along with these two stats, players have a set of attributes as well:race, class, and gender. A player starts out as a classless human with there same gender as in real life. There are cards that affect this attributes including class cards and race cards.

    = The Cards =

    The cards as split into two different sets: treasure cards and door cards. Treasure cards consist of equipment cards, potions cards, level up cards and various other cards. Door cards contain monster cards, monster power up cards, race cards, class cards, curse cards, and various other cards. The game also comes with a d6 for various uses.

    = Game Play =

    At game start, every player is given 4 cards from the two card sets. Then, every player gets an initial setup phase in which they can play equipment and setup potions. Then, the rules say that everyone role the dice and argue about who goes first. When a first player is decided, the games starts. A turn consists of three steps: initial setup phase, a kicking down the door phase, and a final setup phase. During setup phases, a player can equip cards, setup potions, play level up cards, play class and race cards, and trade with other player. In the kicking down the door phase, players turn over the top card of the door deck face up. If the face up cards is a monster card, the player has to fight it or run away. It a player fighting a monster wants/needs help, he/she can request help from another player who is willing to help. While the player/s are fighting a monster, every player is allowed to play monster buffs or debuffs on that monster. If the player/s wins, they distribute the treasures amongst those who fought the monster. If player/s are unable to take a monster, they must run away by ruling a 5 or 6 unless a card says otherwise. If they succeed the role, nothing happens. If they fail the role, the bad stuff indicated on the monster card happens. Only the player that initially kicks down the door and gets the monster can gain a level from fighting that monster unless a card says otherwise. If the original face up door card is a curse, it apply to the player that flipped it. If the face up door card is anything else, it is added to the players hand. If the player who kick down the door does not get a monster, they are able to ether loot the room(draw a door card and add it to their hand) or fight a monster from their hand.

    = Game Sessions =

    First Session: We had 4 players in this game: 3 new players and 1 long time player. After being explained the rules and our long time player taking the first turn, we the new players got a general idea of how the game dynamics. During the mid game, I actually noticed how important treasures are after our long time player managed to get 8 treasures off one monster. I actually got a lot of treasure after I nuked a dragon using may dwarven wizard powers. Unfortunately, despite the new players best efforts, our long time player won after a card called "Divine Intervention" gave every cleric a possible game winning level.

    Second Session: We had the same 4 players as the first session. This game actually was a little better just because the new players knew how to play going in. Mid-game, with some skillful trading and a little thievery, I managed to get a really strong human thief. Sadly, despite my strong power level, I rarely got a monster to fight. In fact, I got 2 lose a level curse in two different rows. All of the players managed to get to level 9 before the end of the game. The game was won by one of the new player after he used a potion to take a monster fight from our long time player and since we hand already burned all of our monster buffs, he took out the monster easy.

    = Overall =
    Munckin is a funny laid back game. The only issue with it is just the random draw of the cards can cause even the most skilled player to fall short of a good game. Also, it is a game you have to set aside time for because it can be a 2 or more hour game.

    This entry has been edited 8 times. It was last edited on Feb 5th, 2013 at 13:31:55.

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