Tag Archives: Video Games

Top picks from gaming’s past and present

The gaming season is coming to a lull now, so I decided to change up my game review into a who’s-who list of games. I honestly can’t order the following games by which one is “better” or more “revolutionary,” but I can tell you that they have definitely made an impact on a lot of people’s lives.
We’ll start with one of my personal favorites: the “Final Fantasy” series. Still going strong, the game has evolved and was probably one of the first true RPGs ever born. Of course, certain titles stick out more than others (VI, VII, VIII and X), and almost all of the games are solid and, if given enough time, will draw you in and allow you to play through a story that you won’t forget.
“Final Fantasy VII” has been specifically hailed by most gamers as their all-time favorite game and probably comes from the fact that everything in the game came together in just the right way to make it touching at some points and badass at others.
Moving on, I think it’s safe to say every single Blizzard Entertainment game has pretty much started its own genre. Blizzard’s three main universes (“Diablo,” “Starcraft” and “Warcraft”) have been unique titles that have drawn in millions of gamers for millions of hours and taught them that PC games can really own. “Diablo,” probably the most serious and adult of Blizzard’s titles, follows a lone hero (the player) on his quest to cleanse a cursed cathedral of the demonic presence that has taken it over.
“Starcraft”’s take is humorous, as it gives you an idea of how futuristic, redneck expedition trips would work out for humankind.
Lastly, “Warcraft,” the first title put out by Blizzard, follows the old orc-versus- human lore seen so many times.
The next two games don’t need an entrance because I’m pretty sure every single person knows of each series: Mario and Pokémon. That’s right; you read it. Who could forget taking ’shrooms to grow bigger, eating wild flowers to shoot fireballs and jumping on weird creatures to flatten them and gain coins?
If ’shrooms aren’t your style, you could take your Blastoise and hydro pump your opponent’s Charizard for a one-hit K.O. The countless hours spent beating Bowser or “catching them all” were cherished by those who grew up in the ’90s.
Whatever system it has been on, I think everyone can recognize the plumber in the red suit riding a lizard who sucks things into its mouth with an extendable tongue or the Pokémon trainer trying to be the best.
On to games that require you to shoot people. The first-person shooter genre has seen handfuls of titles people would say are “the best,” but I would say three can be recognized by any gamer as great.
“Doom,” a game by id Software, follows a lone survivor of a demonic invasion on a moon base, as he solves puzzles and shotguns his way through demons to close the portal to hell as the ultimate badass.
“Halo,” following yet another lone badass, Master Chief, is an adventure series that pulled online console gaming into the running with online PC games. I think everyone can agree that the Covenant had some humorous and menacing villains.
Lastly, “Call of Duty” recently has been by far one of the most played online FPS games of all time. Being a super-soldier of sorts and able to do any ridiculous mission is attractive to gamers of all ages.
With new generations just around the corner, and old ones dying out, I thought taking this time to honor new and old games alike is worth it. I know I wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t picked up a controller and played “Doom” and “Final Fantasy VII” with my dad or “Starcraft,” “Diablo II” and “World of Warcraft” with my cousin.
I hope this review causes you to dust off your favorite game and show it some love with a play through or two, I know I am definitely going to go kill some demons later.

Clayton Martin/Freelancer
Clayton Martin can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

CoD: ‘Black Ops’ touts updated graphics engine

Get ready all of you Call of Duty fanboys, Activision and Treyarch’s next big title, Call of Duty: Black Ops is just around the corner, and it is going to blow your minds.
For all of you that thought this would be a cheap spin-off of the older installments, think again. Call of Duty: Black Ops has an entirely new system to offer for matchmaking along with brand new features that will probably keep you on your ass for months. You might want to warn your lady-friends you’ll be busy … for a while.

Ever get bored of simply killing people and gaining experience? Of course not! But for those of you that have, Treyarch has added some new features just for you.
On top of all the glorious multiplayer options already present in the Call of Duty series, a new “wager” system has been added. That’s right, time to gamble boys and girls, and it looks awesome.
The question may arise, “Gamble with what, gaming guru?” Well, with the new CoD Points currency system of course. After unlocking something via experience, players now have to purchase it with CoD Points. For Perks and Killstreaks, after a certain level (4 and 10, respectively) all of them become available for purchase.

Going back to why people will love Wager matches; they let you gamble on your skill and CoD Points for a chance at winning more points than you bet. The system then chooses from a handful of different matchmaking types that take on a whole new of gameplay.
In one game type, you start with a pistol and one bullet — have fun. Another starts you off with a pistol and gives you a new and better weapon to use after each kill, but watch out for melee attacks. Those will set you back a level (similar to Gun Game, if you have played Counter Strike Source).
On top of the new currency system and Wager match, you can pick up Contracts (for a small fee), similar to Halo: Reach’s daily challenges that have an in-game time limit to perform some feat of strength. If performed successfully, you will come out with more CoD Points than you put in and some experience to boot. Fail, and you lose the CoD Points you paid to purchase the Contract.

Now if only you could view each match afterward to see how that MLG pro you lost to played. Oh, wait. You can! Another new feature is the ability to watch previous matches in a theater similar to Halo 3 and Halo: Reach.
So all those sneaky hiding places the snipers like to camp in can be analyzed inside and out to find the best place to toss a grenade and do the most damage. You no longer need to laugh at that kid who ate a grenade to the face. You can watch it over and over and show your friends.
Last but not least, and this is a small note, Call of Duty: Black Ops will be offered in stereoscopic 3D. So, if any of you have a 3D TV, be prepared for an entirely new feel to gaming.

All in all, this is going to be one game that no gamer should go without. With a slew of new features and an updated graphics engine, along with being playable in three dimensions, Call of Duty: Black Ops will blow everything you knew about the CoD series out of the water.
Make sure to get it when it drops Nov. 9. (And don’t forget to take those days off via vacation or being “sick.”)

Clayton Martin/Freelancer
Clayton Martin can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

‘Cataclysm’ approaches for WoW fans

Deathwing. Image courtesy of Blizzard

Deathwing. Image courtesy of Blizzard

Yes, the end is near … or is it? World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, gaming company Blizzard’s next big expansion for the Warcraft Universe, is set for release Dec. 7.
Increasing the level cap to 85 is just one of the new adventures Blizzard undertakes for this expansion. Others include a complete level 1-60 environment and questing revamp, new level 80-85 content, revamped raids, revamped UI’s and a new bamf to kill at the end of it all: Deathwing.
That’s right, Deathwing (a giant, bamf dragon, for those of you not privy to World of Warcraft lore) is coming, and he is pissed. He is so powerful that he actually “sunders” the land when he returns, causing the Cataclysm.
This expansion has all 12 million of Blizzard’s loyal subscribers (that’s right, 12 million) either drooling at the mouth or trembling in fear as to which direction the expansion will take the game.
For all the noobs out there, Blizzard has been increasingly pushing for conformity in the game mechanics (multiple classes having the same role or abilities), which is different from where the game began (everyone being completely independent).
What do I have to say about it? Well, there isn’t much to be said. With the release of patch 4.0.1, Blizzard has definitely made things different. As always, new things can be difficult to learn at first, but most of the experienced players are already well-attuned to the new mechanic changes Blizzard has made, and a majority of them are happy with it.
Coming off an expansion that was lackluster at best (World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King), Cataclysm seems to be a promising game.
An updated graphics engine along with changed class/game mechanics and a new raid system will breathe a second life into this game.
Not like Blizzard has much to worry about though. Still increasing in subscribers, this game is ceasing to die despite all the criticism it receives from pop culture.
With Activision now backing Blizzard and running all the finances, new paid features have been spawning like a zergling mass in StarCraft II. Race change, faction change and even purchasable in-game pets and mounts have increased the income for Blizzard.
So what is the final verdict you ask? Even though I personally wish it would die so another game can take over, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm seems to be a promising expansion for the No. 1 MMORPG of all time. With all the new features and graphical changes, new and old players alike should find it an interesting take on the popular gaming series.

Clayton Martin/Freelancer
Clayton Martin can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.