Until Dawn Review

Go left, go right, mash triangle and make sure to hit circle at the right time. These are the gameplay mechanics you will begin to master in the new PS4 title Until Dawn. The game was created and developed by Supermassive Games, a fairly young studio. Since 2008 they have created mostly downloadable content for games such as Killzone & LittleBigPlanet. So everyone in the gaming industry was very eager to see what this talented studio would do with their first big budget game. 

Until Dawn originally started out as a first-person PlayStation-Move game that was intended to launch on the PS3 in 2013. After hearing feedback from fans and, I’m sure some Sony executives, Supermassive Games knew they had something special on their hands, but it wasn’t quite ready. Fast forward to today and what they created was something completely different. (In a good way)

untildawn cabinThe game we have today is set in a 3rd person perspective and is mostly an interactive drama. Until Dawn never wavers once on what kind of story it wants to tell. It is a homage to classic 80’s horror movies in the best possible way! The game chronicles 8 friends traveling to a remote mountain getaway. The friends have all decided to make the trip together so that they can get some sort of closure, due to a tragedy that happen the year before at that same cabin. If your mind is racing of all the dumb things you think will happen, guess what you are probably wrong. Thats the beauty of Until Dawn! The game starts off by being pretty predictable with some silly scares and over the top dialogue, but by the mid point of the game you will really see a shift in the tone and mood of the game. You will explore abandon hospitals, dark mines and disturbing basements. Until Dawn has a lot of tricks up its sleeve and will continue to surprise you with its 10 to 12 hour campaign.

The character models in the game are played and mo-capped by pretty well known actors; Hayden Panettiere, Peter Stormare and Rami Malek who we all know now from the hit television show Mr. Robot. Supermassive Games took the likeness’s from all of the actors, so the characters you seen in the game are actually performances from the actors themselves. I really appreciated the fact that Supermassive Games took a chance on mo-capping all of the actors and giving them the ability to act out true emotion. It makes for a more enjoyable gameplay experience and will make you really fall in love with some characters or perhaps make you dislike others.

characters until dawn

Eight friends stranded on a mountain. Live or die. You decide who will survive Until Dawn!

until-dawn-butterfly-effectWhat makes Until Dawn so good in my opinion, is that throughout the game you will have the chance to play all 8 characters. This unique gameplay feature makes it so you have the choice to decide the characters fate! The game will have some choices that are not super important and other times the choices could have dramatic effects on the outcome of the story and that particular character. These choices are called “Butterfly Effects” and no, not that terrible movie with Ashton Kutcher. Butterfly Effects will pop up each time you have made a choice that will effect the outcome of the story. The thing I loved was that “you” the player never knew what choice was significant or insignificant. While playing Until Dawn you become so immersed in the game, you tend to start thinking about every choice in extreme detail. My suggestion for anyone who is interested in this game, make sure to play it with a friend or a significant other. You might be surprised with what they think, is the right decision. You also may learn a lot more about your so called friend 🙂

until dawn choices

In the end, Until Dawn is a game that I absolutely adore! Not once in my life have I ever beaten a game in one day start to finish. I honestly could not put it down. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next and even when I finished the game I spent another two to three hours trying to get different outcomes and hunting for collectibles. Supermassive Games should be proud of themselves for a really trying something new and fun with Until Dawn. It gets me really excited to see what game they will make next!

Final thought: I would highly recommend Until Dawn for everyone who owns a PS4. This is a great game to play with friends. So check it out and let me know what you think.

Sunset Overdrive Review

Just finished Sunset Overdrive! Seriously one of the better games I’ve played in a long time. Gameplay is king and in this game they absolutely nailed it! Jumping from an electrical line to an air vent and then landing on a building never felt so good. Each time the game booted up from the main menu, I couldn’t wait to get back out there and see what other shenanigans I could get myself into. Sunset felt very much like “Saints Row” but had the polish of an “Infamous”. I was quite impressed that Insomniac Games could try something so different and just nail it perfectly.

The character building was very strong. Each time I upgraded my character, I felt more powerful and felt more eager to fight O.D. The guns were hilarious and really showed how much time and creativity the design team spent on building an unique experience. All of the weapons were fun to use and each one was powerful in its own way! Was really up to you as the player on how you would like to play it.

The male voice actor was hilarious. He sounded just like Ryan Reynolds from Van Wilder. Each time he broke the 4th wall to let you know you were playing a silly video game made me laugh. The rest of the supporting cast wasn’t as solid. I’ll give it a pass due to the fact that most of the time they were talking, I was too busy laughing from a joke previously uttered by the main voice actor.

Overall I would say it was one of my favorite games of the year and also made my XBOX One purchase worth it. I bought the White Bundle with Sunset pre-loaded on it and now I can be proud to show it off to my friends. I’m thinking a 9 out of 10 is fitting for this game. I believe it is a must play if you own an Xbox One!


The Order 1886

Running through the streets of London with a Thermite Rifle, hunting down LYCANS! Honestly could it get better?

The Order 1886 was first shown off at E3 2013 from Ready at Dawn studios. The trailer came up on the screen and almost instantly I found my self drawn to this game. It also didn’t hurt that during the trailer the developers added a nice little tid-bit: The caption read  “Created In-Engine” which means that the trailer was 100% gameplay footage straight from the actually game! The footage looked beautiful, from the lighting textures on the characters faces to the overall dark and grimy feel of 1886 London. Below I will post the video and you can get a better idea for what the Order 1886 is all about!

So in this post I want to explain the 5 reasons for why I’m so geeked for this game. Now before you read this article and say “Ah, man a top 5 list. How lame!” . Just understand that the images and video I use will only make this game more intriguing to you. There is no way in words I could do this game justice, so why don’t I just show you!

1.London 1886- From what the developers have shown the game takes place in London, but not the London you think of now. The Order is putting a cool slant on the history of London. It really is more than just a re-telling of 18th century London it is a complete re-imagining of that time. In the game players will be given weapons and gadgets that couldn’t of been invented during the 18th Century, that is were the alternate history timeline comes in. The game is centered around a brother-hood of knights, that are sworn to protect the city against an evil force.(What evil force you ask? read number 5) Ready at Dawn took a trip to London while the game was in pre-production to get a better idea for what London was all about. Once in London, the team took photos of the city, but not the photos you would think. The team really wanted to capture what London was all about, so they went around to older sections of London and took photos of single bricks or even just street lamps. The idea behind this was to get an authentic look and feel that would translate well into the game. From what I’ve seen they really have captured what 18th Century London looks like.


2.The Black Water- Every game has to have a gimmick or even just a special game play element that sets itself apart from other games in the same genre. In the Gears of War franchise the player had the Chainsaw gun and in a very recent game the player was given a powerful cellphone in Watchdogs. In the case of The Order 1886 the player is introduced to a special tonic that the characters drink called “Black Water” this black liquid is hard to come by and can only be bestowed to the Knights of the Round table. The Black Water makes the player regenerate health faster and helps slow down time while shooting weapons. The addition of Black Water really puts a unique twist on an already interesting story line, I can’t wait to see what other tricks this game has up its sleeve.

3. The PS4 needs this game– The Order is not only exciting to me, but this game is so important to the countless PS4 owners that are in need of a great triple-A experience. Since the release of the PS4 a year ago, Sony has only released one exclusive triple-A game and that was Infamous Second Son. That game was fantastic and Indie games are great as well, but come’on Sony we really need a huge cinematic experience that can show off the power of the PS4. The Order 1886 can be that Sony exclusive that gets people excited and that’s why this game is so intriguing to me and so many others.

4.New ideas, inspire more games– Nothing makes the gaming industry grow and prosper more than when new games are introduced into the gaming spectrum. Sequels to games are great and nobody is more excited to play Uncharted 4 then me. But when studios and developers take a chance on new IP (Intellectual Property), everyone in the industry starts to gain confidence that new ideas can make money and you don’t have to reiterate on one franchise for a decade to make a great game. Hopefully The Order can do this and spread the best un-kept secret around…. Psst Gamers love new IP.

5. Half-Breeds/LYCANS- Let’s just get this out of the way, I can’t tell you how under utilized Werewolves are in the main stream culture. There is a new vampire movie or zombie game every 6 months. Does that mean I don’t like zombies or vampires? No. It just means that it is time for new ideas to take hold in not only gaming but in film as well. So you can understand my excitement when at this years E3 Ready At Dawn showed off a new cinematic trailer, profiling the Half-breeds in the game. These creatures look downright terrifying and to make matters worse, the protagonist looks just as terrified to encounter them in the game. In the trailer which I will post below, your character seems to have zero intentions of seeing this fight through and is looking for the nearest exit. This excites me for many reasons. One reason in particular is now The Order seems to be more than just a cover based shooter. It seems to be adding a Horror element to the game, which just only adds more depth to the characters and the overall story. Secondly, this game comes out in seven months so to keep secrets like this so close to release only gets me more excited to see what else is in the final product.



Written by: Trevor Cannon


Watch Dogs first Impressions


For almost a year I have been anticipating the release of Watch Dogs and now it’s here! Of course I had to pick up the game at midnight and yes of course I played the first mission at 1:00AM that morning. But after playing more missions the following day I started to get a little worried about the game that I had anticipated so much. Did I build up too much hype for the game ? Or am I not in the mood anymore for an open world game? All of these things ran through my head during the first 2 hours of playing the game. The first 2 hours of Watch Dogs are not what I expected and to be honest let me down! BUT….. BUT.. Let’s fast forward about 3 hours into the game and I’m having an absolute blast !! I finally feel in control of Aiden and have mastered the gun-play. The game is a tad hard to get use to, but once you understand the mechanics the game really opens up and the fun begins! I’m about 5-6 hours in and have begun act II. I will have my full review once I beat the game. Until then have fun hacking the city of Chicago.

Infamous Second Son Review

Once you start playing, you won’t be able to put it down.

Infamous Second Son is triple-A title that Sony Entertainment Studios has released exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Second Son was developed by Sucker Punch Studios and is the third game in the Infamous Franchise. Infamous as a whole is a story about Conduits or basically “people with special powers”. The story began with Cole MacGrath the protagonist in Infamous 1 and Infamous 2. If you are unaware of his story, he is basically the root from which the Conduits came to be. Spoilers aside, the first two Infamous games go into more detail of Cole’s journey as well as how his story has effected the world.


Infamous Second Son tells the story of Delsin Rowe, a young man in his late twenties Delsin is thrusted into the world of Conduits by accident. This encounter will be the pinnacle of the story and will also be the driving force for most of what Delsin does for the entirety of  the game. The story in Infamous Second Son is much more dialed back then the previous Infamous titles, the games story is very simple and to the point. I feel Sucker Punch wanted players to jump in and not worry about if they had played the other titles to understand the plot in Second Son. The developers really wanted to embrace the new hardware of the PS4 and let the player explore the vast Seattle landscape and enjoy the powers you are given throughout the game.


Gameplay is king when it comes to Second Son. During my two play throughs, once on evil karma and once on good karma. I kept coming back to one conclusion….. Damn this game is fun to play! Anytime I was a little put off by the story or maybe even one of the characters started to bother me, Delsin would gain a new power and almost instantly make the game play experience just that much better. The best example I could use, would be when you play as Mario and you obtain “Star Power” or “Fire Power” you as the player instantly feel more powerful and daring to explore new parts of the game. This is exactly what made Second Son so much fun to play, each time Delsin received a new power you felt compelled to explore Seattle in more depth.

Second Son seems to explore the new architecture of the PS4 extremely well. The graphics are stunning and show real promise for what is to come in future Sony titles. My favorite aspect of the PS4 is the new Dual-Shock 4 controller, I just love the way it feels. The new triggers and the touch-pad are so fun to use and truly feels like the next generation is here. So while playing Infamous Second Son I was curious of how they would integrate the touch-pad into the game play experience ? To my surprise, not once did the touch-pad feel forced or gimmicky. Every time Delsin would drain a new power I felt a true connection with the drain, making the experience truly immersive.


Second Son has been by far my favorite experience on the PS4, granted there hasn’t been much to play on the new platform. Of the games that are available I truly believe anyone that owns the PS4 should give Second Son a chance. This game is downright fun and with the addition of the Karma system, this game begs to be played more than once. So whether you decide to play as Evil Delsin or Good Delsin I can guarantee that you will have a blast doing it!


Captain America: Winter Soldier Review

Marvel definitely knows what they are doing with their franchises (Unlike DC). Have you seen the trailers to the new X-men or Guardians of the Galaxy? Those films look insane! I would be straight up lying if I told you, these Marvel films didn’t intrigue me.

There is no denying that Captain America: Winter Soldier looks greats and sounds great! The graphics and overall cinematography are top notch in Winter Soldier. I felt Chris Evans truly embraced the character for the first time, he made me believe that he was and is Captain America from here on out. The addition of Falcon was a nice touch that didn’t feel forced or unwarranted. Robert Redford was a great addition to the film, as well as Scarlett Johansson’s character Black Widow. Clearly the producers of this film gave it more love and time than the previous Captain America film. This film might as well have been called Avengers 1.5 with the amount of explosions and high profile stunts done throughout the film. The budget was there, the acting was there, but I still felt like Winter Soldier left me wanting more after the credits rolled.FREEZER_BURN

After Avengers came out in 2012 I felt like Marvel decided to jump the shark a tad early. I absolutely love everything about the Avengers film, it’s funny, has great action and the story seemed somewhat believable. But ever since then, I can’t help but think, what is the point of doing stand-alone Marvel superhero movies? We have established that all of these characters:Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye are all in the same “World”. So why aren’t they just in one film all the time? Rhetorical question- (I know, I know, money of course)

The Avengers concept art ComicCon

Now I understand that these stand-alone movies make boatloads of money. Let me re-iterate, these movies make so much money! Captain America: Winter Soldier is set to break all sorts of records in the month of April and will surpass the previous Captain America film in just two weeks of it’s release. In it’s first weekend alone, it made over $95 million in the U.S. and $304.1 million worldwide. So I get why Marvel continues to do this and I’m sure if I were the head of those properties I would do the exact same thing. But I can’t be the only person who thinks that once you have established that Iron Man can fly in at any moment during the Avengers and save the day, but he wouldn’t do that same thing in these other films? This idea that they are just not involved in these cataclysmic world battles post Avengers makes you scratch your head a little. Every time there was a moment in Winter Soldier where our hero was about to die, I found myself just thinking “why wouldn’t Thor or Hulk just run in and help out?” it’s not as if they are on vacation or don’t have televisions to watch the mass destruction.

Now please don’t read this review as an attack on Marvel or the movies themselves. I’m not some fanboy who wrote this review to tear down somebody else’s work. I find all of these movies to be quite enjoyable and don’t feel any remorse spending money to go see them. I just feel like there is some definite plot holes in the over-arching story that makes me a little less inclined to see each stand-alone movie that comes out in the future. So should you see Captain America: Winter Soldier? Sure, I think it warrants spending the money to go see it and if you already dig these superhero movies then I’m almost certain you will enjoy it. It has also come to the point where you need to see all the stand alone movies in order, for the Avengers movies to make sense because it is one continuous story.


Solid 8 out 10

Written by Trevor Cannon



The World of BioShock Infinite

One year later and this game is still on my mind!

Games must play well in order for you to enjoy them, but mainly they must be able to make a certain connection with the gamer. Now these connections can be as simple as a game having aliens or monsters. The connection can even be the length of a certain game, long experience or short experience. When you get down to it, games that resonate with people are the ones that leave a mark or strike a connection with the player. For me the game that continues to resonate long after I had beaten it, was Bioshock Infinite.

Official_cover_art_for_Bioshock_InfiniteBioShock Infinite is the third installment in the franchise and the second game in the series in which Irrational games was at the helm of the project. The first BioShock received critical acclaim for what it was able to do. Some have even said the series as a whole has re-invented story driven first person shooters as we know it. BioShock Infinite came out in March of 2013 and received glowing reviews from an array of video-game outlets.  The game has a single player campaign and has a strong narrative focus. BioShock Infinite is available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC systems. The overall arching story of BioSchock Infinite is that you play as Booker DeWitt a gun wielding bad-ass. Booker is sent to the city of Columbia to retrieve a certain package, that certain package is a young girl named Elizabeth. Story sounds pretty simple right? Well the journey that Infinite takes you on is far from simple and at times it can be down right stressful, but in a very rewarding way. Throughout the game Booker unlocks special powers, he attains these powers through Vigors. These bottles are filled with a “magic” juice you might say. The Vigors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all of them giving Booker a new power to use during battle.


Each Vigor is unique and will allow the player to use them for the right circumstance. For instance “Shock Jockey” works best when enemies are near bodies of water,shock the water and it electrocutes anybody in sight. When enemies become overwhelming reach for the “Devils Kiss” Vigor. This Vigor is very similar to a grenade you might find in any war game, but the trick to “Devils Kiss” is that the fire tends to spread killing a large number of foes. Whatever your poison may be, Vigors are something you’ll be using a lot.

The next aspect in Bioshock Infinite that must be explored due to is extreme importance on game-play, is the “Sky-Hook”. The Sky-Hook is the melee weapon Booker will use in close quarters with enemies. It’s main purpose is for the sky-lines that run through-out Columbia. Using the Sky-Hook in battle will help aide Booker in getting out of large fire fights or with precise planning allow you to hop down on unexpected foes. The hook at times can be a tad cumbersome to control, but there is no doubt that it will change the way you battle your next bad guy.


With all of the game-play elements out of the way, there is still something else about BioSchock Infinite that makes it extremely special. Columbia itself, the setting of the game is so remarkable and realized that you find yourself just standing and looking. Every time I play Infinite I find something new I didn’t see the first time, from a painting on the wall to the way the people are dressed. Like I mentioned earlier the game takes place in 1912, most if not all of the architecture in the game would be considered “Federal Architecture”. Federal Architecture or Federal Style was most prevalent from 1750 to 1850, most of these buildings were modeled to resemble buildings from ancient Greece and Rome. Columbia is very similar to Greece and Rome in the sense they wanted to create structures that resembled power and wealth. Now Columbia doesn’t beat you over the head with the power aspect, but it definitely wants to paint the picture that Columbia is some sort of utopia. Which you will come to find out, its clearly not.

Bioshock-Infinite-Screenshot-Wallpaper-Comstock-StatueSo if you get a chance to play Infinite, you will begin to notice rather quickly that Columbia is very much trying to portray a feeling of perfection in the game. From the monuments built for Profits and the statues that resemble gods. Columbia is truly something special that begs you to take notice during your play-through.

In the end Bioshock Infinite takes roughly around 13-14 hours to beat and the game-play is rather easy to get use too. The story of Infinite at times can get a little confusing if you haven’t played or heard of the previous titles, but you should be fine if you want to just hop in. If this article has persuaded you to give BioShock Infinite a chance then be sure to take your time and truly immerse yourself in the game.


Written by: Trevor Cannon


My 2013 Game of The Year

2013 was a great year for video games, but when deciding on what game impacted me the most, I always had two games that I kept coming back to. These two games were hands down my favorite experiences of 2013 and both games couldn’t be more different in the gameplay department. But they couldn’t be more similar in how they made me feel long after the games were over.

There were many games that I consider for my game of the year, so I thought I would go over some of those games to set the mood. The first game that comes to mind was the Tomb Raider reboot from game developer Crystal Dynamics. tomb_raider_2013_game-wideTomb Raider was an absolute blast, it did some really interesting things with protagonist Laura Croft. Also the crafting and skill trees that were used in the game made it just a riot to play and made me want to keep exploring the island while making Laura more powerful. Tomb Raider allowed the gamer(me) to not only play the game, but grow with Laura as a character.


The other game that comes to mind was also another reboot from developer Ninja Theory, that game was DmC: “Devil May Cry”. DmC came out of no were and left an enormous impression on me. This game wasn’t even on my radar before its release and after playing it for just a couple hours, I found myself not being able to put it down. The story in DmC was very intriguing, but the thing that made DmC a candidate for my game of the year was the hack and slash gameplay.Dmc Combo2 Nothing felt better than getting a 30 or 40 hit combo to defeat an enemy. Such a special game that I feel hasn’t got the credit it deserves.

dmc Banner

Lastly, the game that really made my decision tough was from game developer Irrational Games, that game was BioShock Infinite. This game was strange for many reasons. For one I don’t even really like first-person shooters and secondly I hadn’t even played the previous BioShock games. But being a hardcore gamer I thought I’ll give it a try and see how it goes. Wow! the feeling I felt after the credits rolled was one that I had never felt after a game. bioshock_infinite_large_verge_medium_landscapeI felt confused and dumb-founded of what just happened, no game had punched me in the gut like BioShock Infinite. Without giving spoilers, lets just say the game ends in a fashion that most games don’t.


But in the end, there was one game that melded gameplay and story in such a way that I just couldn’t deny my game of the year ….That game was The Last of Us.


The Last Of Us was an experience I will never forget. I picked up the game on mid-night and started playing immediately. The Last Of Us began messing with my emotions right off the bat. 10 mins into the game I felt fear and sadness, I knew this game was going to be something special. I beat the game in two days, it took me 13 hours and 28 mins to complete it on my first try. After I beat the game I told many friends that it was an experience that I would never be able to re-create. I was so wrong, I decided to play the game again on Survivor difficulty.


Playing the game on Survivor makes the player completely change his or hers strategy while playing. Features such as “Listen Mode” are removed from the game and force the player to play each section of the game blind to what will be coming next. This forced me to experience The Last Of Us in a whole new way. I suddenly found myself more frightened and stressed out during the survivor play through. The game-play also changed dramatically, I found myself saving my ammo more wisely and at times decided to attack enemies only if provoked. The incredible story and the amount of times I played through this game make it The Last Of Us not only a great game, but a game that will make people look back 10 years from now and say that changed gaming as we know it. The Last Of Us is an experience that will evoke different emotions in different people. From the soundtrack to the gameplay and even the well crafted cut-scenes. This game is about as close to movie quality as you’re gonna get from any video game.

Batman Arkham City- More Than Just A game


The phrase “Summer Blockbuster” has become infamous among Americans. We all know that the latest and greatest movies that Hollywood has to offer will be released during the summer months. But what if instead of watching a summer movie, you were actually playing the summer blockbuster yourself? Well in the video game industry, summer style blockbusters happen all year round. Games such as Call of Duty Black Ops II and Halo 4 locking down the Fall season, and Grand Theft Auto Five and Tomb Raider locking down the spring season. People have begun looking at these games as not only a form of entertainment but something that would rival paying to go see a movie in an actual theater. With today’s games gaining larger and larger budgets, there has been an extreme increase of movie quality cut scenes in games and also a number of famous actors are making their way into the world of voice acting. If it isn’t obvious by now, I will be choosing the perspective of Film Theory and I will also dive into a little game called Batman Arkham City.

Batman Arkham City was released in October of 2011 and was a sequel to Batman Arkham Asylum.  Both games have gained critical acclaim from many video game sites such as IGN and Game Informer. Batman Arkham City takes place a couple years after Batman Arkham Asylum. Since that time many of the criminals have been placed in a prison within the city of Gotham where the criminals have begun to run crazy without any law and order. Of course in natural Batman fashion, his arch nemesis The Joker has come in contact with a poisonous toxin that he plans to send to every hospital in Gotham. Seems a tad cliche even for a series that has made millions doing plot lines very similar to this exact one. But its not just the story that has grabbed my attention for this essay, it is everything else that these great games have begun to do to the video game industry. Batman Arkham City not only has a gripping story but one that allows the player to make different decisions that will ultimately affect the outcome of the story. From the huge Sandbox game play to the graphics that will leave you asking, “How can these graphics get any better?” Rocksteady has done a great job of also keeping hardcore Batman fans busy after the main story has been completed. May 29th of 2012 Rocksteady released a Game of the Year Edition for Batman Arkham City that came bundled with a downloadable extra game called Harley Quinn’s Revenge. This DLC pack is guaranteed to have you playing for at least another two hours and has a story that may leave you feeling a tad creepy. (Miller, 2011) For those real Batman nuts, the DLC packs allow the player to have access to every Batman costume that has ever been released. From the very first costume that writer and creator Bob Kane created in May of 1939, all the way to the newest Batman costume from the films that Hollywood director Christopher Nolan remade in 2007.


But before we go into my theory for this essay we need a little more background into what exactly is Batman Arkham City? Batman Arkham City is an Action-Adventure/Stealth based game that was created by Rocksteady in 2011, as I mentioned before they had created Batman Arkham Asylum in 2009. Rocksteady is based out of Highgate, North England. The company was created by Jamie Walker and Sefton Hill. They were later published and help funded by Time Warner Productions and also famous RPG Studio Square Enix Europe. (IMDB, 2012) Until the creation of the two Batman games, no studio had successfully produced and created a comic book game that was received well by the general public. But in 2009 with the release of Batman Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady had finally delivered a comic book game worth talking about. One aspect that has made games such as Batman super popular is because of the talent they have brought in to do the voice acting for the game.One actor that has won many awards for his work is Mark Hamill. The actor is the voice for the extremely popular Joker. Hamill has been doing the voice acting as The Joker since the Batman cartoon series which was very successful during the early 90’s. (IMDB, 2012) So then who better to do the voice acting for the game then someone who has defined the voice for that character?  Another voice from the cartoon series also made his way over to the game is experienced voice actor Kevin Conroy, who has been the doing the voice of Batman for over 20 years. (IMDB, 2012) So with an extremely talented cast to do the voice acting, you would think Rocksteady would just stop there. But in order to make a game as good as possible, Rocksteady’s next mission was to create graphics and gameplay that was some of the best that anybody had seen in this current generation. Both Batman Arkham City and Arkham Asylum were produced under the very popular game engine called “Unreal”. Games that have used this tech include Gears of War, Infinity Blade and Unreal Tournament. The Unreal engine was created in 1998 by Epic Games and has become one of the most popular graphic engines in the current Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 era. So with great voice acting and amazing graphics there is one other element that has set Batman Arkham City apart from the rest of competition and that is the sound. The game was composed by Nick Arundel and with the release of the game came a soundtrack that featured famous artist such as Serj Tankian, Black Audio and Coheed and Cambria. With the voice acting, gameplay and sound set, Batman Arkham City still isn’t done with all of the things that make it a great game, and also a game that would rival any good Hollywood blockbuster. Cut scenes are one of the main ingredients in making video game resemble exactly what a movie would be like, and don’t worry, Batman Arkham City doesn’t falter there either. Legendary writer for the Batman Animated Series that ran from 1992 till 1995 Paul Dini was one of the lead writers for Arkham City along with Rocksteady founder Sefton Hill. Paul Dini has been writing and directing for the DC Comic book world for over 20 years with such titles as Superman: TV Series and the underground cult hit Batman: Beyond. (IMDB, 2012) Each cut scene in Arkham City is crafted so perfect by the team at Rocksteady that it allows you the player to almost at times sit back and forget that you are even playing the game.

When choosing a theory to talk about, nothing seemed more familiar than film and I don’t think that just applies to me. As a general public I feel we have turned to movies as not only an entertainment device but more of a personal release or getaway. Millions of people flock to movie theaters around the world to see the latest movie that have come out that month. Movies and reality tv have become a conversation starter for many people and at times can spur on some heavy debates over what movie was great and what movie did not meet expectation. In the world of video games, making a game to resemble a movie-like experience is something that has been going on for sometime now. But at first this idea of making a game into a movie wasn’t received very well. “For instance in 1995 computer game Phantasmagoria was one of the most popular games of the year and a top seller, but Computer Games Magazine called it, “ This hotly-anticipated game, overblown, unintentionally hilarious and incredibly dull, labeling it a disaster.” (Wolf & Perron, 2003) Going over exactly what Phantasmagoria was, the book explained it was “selective, branching-type and menu based” to me this was surprising that this game wasn’t received well by the critics, because this is exactly what we see in todays games that have become very popular and almost the normal practice. Games like Infamous, Walking Dead and Mass Effect 3 have a story that allows the player to be involved in not only the game play, but you the player, have the ability to affect the outcome of the story. With the popularity of companies such as GameStop and Amazon buying used games have become very familiar around the video game community. Many gamers have turned to the method of buying a game and beating the main campaign and then return the game before ever digging into any other factors that the game has to offer. Which brings me back to my point that game developers have turned to making games more interactive and letting the user choose his or her path. These games tend to have alternate endings and more than likely have a story that feels like a movie.

“Another common approach assumes that an interactive storyworld consists of a core plot with some variations. The designer defines an initial state for the storyworld, then defines each of the dramatic branch points in the storyworld.” (Wolf & Perron, 2003)

arkaham-city-batman-banner-2In the case of Batman Arkham City, the player is given the opportunity to play as Catwoman and Batman. Without spoiling events that take place towards the end of this epic journey, the Catwoman missions put the user in a position that will ultimately affect the outcome of the story, and can change the outcome of Batman’s fate drastically. For me small and little tweaks that Rocksteady did in their game like have the Catwoman stories made playing the game an utter joy. Arkham City was probably a game that I would have only played once and returned to my local GameStop. But with the process of adding a story that would have an alternate ending, made me want to keep coming back time and time again. “The gamer of a movie game has to feel he is apart of the movie, that he is in the movie. That is where the fun lies. As we know not only is the gamer lead to identify himself with the main stereotyped character, but this character becomes his surrogate in the diegetic universe, the avatar.” (Wolf & Perron, 2003) Perron has hit it exactly on the head with his quote, this is how I felt after beating Batman Arkham City. I felt as if I was Batman and was making his decisions that ultimately affected the final story.

The perspective that I have choosen from our class study is Immersion.

“Immersion means the player is caught up in the world of the games story (the diegetic level) but it also refers to the player’s love of the game and the strategy that goes into it (the non diegetic level).”

(Wolf & Perron, 2003)

I found the topic of player emotion and immersion to be one that seemed like the most important factor in playing video games. Some people just look at video games as toys and not entertainment. Video games in general during the early years were not even consider a form of media rather a hobby or fad that would eventually die off, but we all know that isn’t what happened.There is no better feeling then battling through a game for five hours and conquering a final boss to top it all off. The emotion and overall experience that a player has is what will make or break a videogame and in the world of videogames that tends to be either a studio that will make it or a studio that will ultimately fail. Games that make a player think and also provide a challenge have made the experience of the player also change drastically over the past decade. Games such as Ninja Gaiden and Dark Souls have been popularized for their difficulty, so much so that they have created a new dynamic that helps shape the interactivity and that is player to player conversation. Gamers now ask for feedback from their friends and other gamers through community chat rooms and forums that will help them reach the final goal or objective.

“The fact that in the case of the video game the “viewer” becomes a “player” means that the relationship between the user and the media changes. The interactivity of the video game appears to promise a different relation to the narrative and experience of the game, as well as a different relation to history.” (Tanine, 2010)

Arkham CityIn the academic journal “The World War II Video Game” the author hits on many points that I have reflected above, about how film and games are simultaneously changing the world of media. No longer will an actor just have to be chained to movies. The world of motion capture or Mo-Cap, has allowed actors to display their performances not only on the silver screen, but it has allowed them to show their talents through games. Actress Ellen Page who has been in many famous movies such as “Juno”(2007) and most recently the blockbuster smash hit “Inception”(2010) has been challenging herself as an actress and has tested some uncharted waters with her new endeavor. Coming out in 2013 Ellen Page will star in a new Interactive game called Beyond: Two Souls. In the game Ellen page plays a young teen who finds out that her whole life, she has had a little helping hand. What helping hand you might ask? Well the helping hand is a ghost that has followed Ellen Page’s character her whole life. With actresses like Ellen Page making their way to video games, there is no telling what we will see next in upcoming years.  Among the actors featured in Batman Arkham City and Arkham Asylum, like Mark Hamill and Kevin Konroy I feel Rocksteady has captured lightning in a bottle with the two Batman games. They have allowed the player to not only to play has the caped crusader, but they have also allowed the player to feel as if they were getting the movie experience on their own couch. Mentioned in the quote from above is the feeling of interactivity, the most important factor that Batman has captured is the ability to have the player feel as if they are making the story evolve and change during each punch and kick.

the_dark_knight_rises__banner_by_ultimate_savage-d4w594rWith over fourteen weeks of perspective and many topics to choose from such as feminism and violence. I felt that Film Theory and Immersion allowed me to best explain what kind of gamer I have become over my life. Games such as Uncharted, Infamous and of course Batman Arkham City have allowed me to play experiences that make me extremely happy. When thinking of other reasons that made me feel compelled to write about Arkham City was my love for film. Over the past two years I have studied film and even taken screenplay classes that have made me understand the in’s and out’s of the film industry. Without any hesitation also one of the biggest factors were the films from director Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins (2007), The Dark Knight (2009) and the newest in the Batman saga The Dark Knight Returns. (2012) (IMDB, 2012) Each one of these films have been critically acclaimed and have even made people that weren’t fans of comic books actually died hard believers. But with every believer there are thousands of doubters that say video games should stay separate from films and films should stay far, far away from video games.

“Because fidelity to the original is of low priority when porting from games to cinema, direct adaptations of video games—with rare exceptions—have little in common with the aesthetics and conventions of the source material, and resemble the game primarily only in mise-en-scène and costume design.”

(Brooker, 2009)

Over the years directors and Hollywood producers have been trying to push video game movies down our throats and in turn have made people shy away from playing these games. Mentioned in the academic article above, was Tomb Raider. This Play Station classic was seen to many as a game that finally had made being a female protagonist a cool thing. But with the release of the film in 2001, people came to realize that maybe movies and video games weren’t meant to share the same stage. Other video game adaptations that have made poor showings at the box office are Prince of Persia (2010), Doom (2005) and last but not least, Resident Evil (2002). Now those film adaptations haven’t made great impressions on many fans around the world, but I feel that games should be games and films should remain the same. I also feel that if done right, both can steal great ideas from one another and create great things such as Batman Arkham City.

illuminati-thread-batman-arkham-city-541716In conclusion, Batman Arkham City is not only just a good video game it is a great one. This game to me is exactly what makes playing video games fun and entertaining. A story that you can engulf yourself in and play for hours and hours. With the world of video games struggling like it is, people are constantly looking for a game that makes paying sixty dollars to GameStop a no-brainer and I feel that is exactly what Rocksteady has done with this gem. People are wanting more of a movie experience with their games and more than anything just want a story that makes them feel like they had something to do with it. With the introduction of large packs of DLC that will keep you playing hours after the game is done, to the re-release of Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition for the Wii U. Arkham City has made playing video games not just an entertainment, it has made the player a part of the game. Lastly, without being too Fanboyish one of the main factors of me choosing Batman Arkham City for the game to cover was simple. When I get home and I have an hour to kill I choose one game and one game only, that is Batman Arkham City. This game has so much to do and a story that is so engaging that I don’t ever feel guilty playing it. If you haven’t played this game I would highly recommend it and just know that it is going to be a fun ride. What other game can you fight Two-Face, Bane, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin and of course The Joker? And that was just to name a few of the most notable villains that Rocksteady has put in this game.

Work Cited Page: Academic Sources

Brooker, W. (2009, April). Camera-eye, cg-eye: Video Games and the “cinematic. Cinema Journal,            48(3), 122-128.

Tanine, A. (2010). The world War II Video Game, Adaptation, and Postmodern History. Literature          Film Quarterly,38(3), 183-193.

Wolf, M., & Perron, B. (2003). The Video Game Theory Reader. (1st ed., Vol. 1st, p. 238). New          York: Routledge.

Facts and Dates:

Miller, G. (Designer). (2011). Batman arkham city review. Retrieved from http://www.ign.com/games/batman-arkham-city/ps3-55050

IMDB. (Designer). (2012). Batman arkham city . Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568322/

Unboxing the PS4

In this video I will be unboxing the new PlayStation 4 Next-Gen system! I don’t claim to be an expert about technology just more of a fan and a lover of PlayStation. Please watch the video and let’s start a conversation about how awesome you think the new console is or maybe some things you don’t like about the new console. Please like and comment below and let me know how I’m doing! As of now I absolutely love the system, it is just so fluid. I can jump in and out of games so fast and the downloading times have also been cut down. The PS4 also works so great with my PS3 and never logs me out of any system, I’m constantly connected which is so great!