Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in Review

games of q1 metal gear revengeance

Irresponsible, irreverent, and illogical, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a peanut butter and chocolate proposition for folks that love video games in the classical sense, pairing up Kojima with Platinum for an operatically absurd masterpiece. It is the heir apparent to two of this generation’s best action titles, Bayonetta and Vanquish, and it’s also one of the best and most focused Metal Gear games to date. It’s the kind of video game that makes me want to go out and gut punch every failed Hollywood screenwriter that thinks they can make it in this business by making games more like movies. It’s the kind of game that makes the claim that Japanese design is heartless or passionless look completely wrong, slicing and dicing with a rarified energy and a preposterous- but completely not macho- level of aggression.

With his high heels, eyeliner, and Aqua-Net abused hair, Raiden is a glitter rock cyber-ninja, the blatantly androgynous and homoerotic hero of the greatest electro-chanbara movie never made. He’s had his star turn in the Metal Gear Solid games before, sharing the bill with Solid Snake in Sons of Liberty, but never before has he been so fleet of feet and quick with a blade. Revengeance is fast as a shark, standing in stark contrast to the slower, measured pace and intentionally clunky controls of the core Metal Gear titles. Lightning Bolt Action indeed. The action is furious, with dramatic parries of skyscraper-sized swords and acrobatic counterattacks punctuated by the occasional slow-motion blade mode wherein Raiden can slice through a cyborg assailant and rip its spine out, drenching himself in precious nano-fluids. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- LOTR LCG Retroview


I  reviewed Fantasy Flight’s Lord of the Rings Living Card game not long after its core set released back in 2010. To refresh, there were some things that I liked about the game but I chafed at its packaging and the way that Fantasy Flight was effectively limiting the game’s capability as a standalone product by not including a nominally complete and self-contained set of cards that would not require further purchases to link to existing keywords, combinations, or other potentialities. I stand by this review, but I thought it would be interesting to try the game again now that it’s matured over the course of nearly two years with monthly expansion packs and a couple of larger add-ons.

I felt that the game was good enough to give a second chance, and thus here is the first ever Cracked LCD Retroview- a post facto review where I’ll go back and re-examine games that got middling to even bad reviews to see how they fare a few years on. I’m not going to tell you how to play the game, describe every piece in the box, or anything like that. Read another review if you want that. This is a way to dig a little deeper and analyze a little harder with the “new” worn off and with the hype long dead.  I think this is particularly a compelling opportunity to revisit games that have changed a lot or that have taken on a life of their own Continue Reading…

Talking About Television on the Ouya

As I mentioned on the podcast a few weeks ago, Clayton Grey, No High Scores reader and Don’t Shoot the Food Photoshopper extraordinaire is currently working on Television, an adventure game/WarioWare-esque mashup for the Ouya. Clayton and his partner-in-games Sam Strick recently took the Most Surprising award in the Create game jam sponsored by Kill Screen and Ouya.  Clayton was kind enough to answer some questions via email and give a glimpse as to what life is like for independent developers looking to make a go on the Ouya.

Once you’re done reading, be sure to head over to their Kickstarter for Shift, a single card CCG currently in development.

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Calendar Man – Week of 2/25

calendar man 2-28 dynasty warriors 7

Not much out there this week, but that’s ok because the next couple of weeks will bring a bevy of new games to your doorstep. Let’s see, Brutal Legend finally hits the PC, a new map pack hits Halo 4, another Dynasty Warriors game releases for the PS3 and a bunch of other things I can’t bring myself to write up come out. Seriously though, you’re not missing anything important. I wouldn’t do that to you. Honest!

For me, I sent Dead Space 3 back this morning. It just wasn’t doing anything for me, so I ditched it. I’m one boss fight away from finishing Revengeance and then it’s nothing but racing and Spartan Ops until Tomb Raider comes out. Whee!

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Year Walk (IOS) in Review

year-walkI’m not going to tell you much about Year Walk, a new IOS App from Swedish developers Simogo. You might remember them from a cute game/metaphor for relationships called Bumpy Road from last year. Year Walk isn’t anything like that. Roughly, it’s a very brief and hugely atmospheric adventure game with just a handful of puzzles. It’s based on an archaic Swedish tradition wherein a person would fast on typical feasting days such as New Year’s Eve and at midnight set out for a church. It’s a sort of vision quest myth, as the walker would encounter spectral entities and symbolic  figures before reaching the church, where future events might be revealed.

If you really want to know more- because I’m just not going to spoil this masterpiece of chilly suspense, dread, and the impossible ways the supernatural intersects the “real” world- there’s a free companion App that Simogo has released. It’s a couple of pages of text with some very evocative and very spooky woodcut images. It’s all based on actual folk beliefs. And it’s really the key to Year Walk working as well as it does, touching upon deep-rooted, elemental fears and the psychology of myth. Continue Reading…

Lords of Middle Earth : War of the Ring Extraveganza

War of the RingLicensed games based on well-known films or books are nothing new, and while of variable quality. generally rather better than their digital counterparts. But since its publication, the love for War of the Ring has been little short of astonishing.

It’s not hard to see why. The biggest achievement of the game is to allow players to re-tell a plausible version of The Lord of the Rings on each play through whilst still enabling plenty of strategy and freedom of choice while doing so. When you consider how difficult that balance is to maintain, and how venerated the source material is, the astonishing scale of that achievement becomes clear.

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Cracked LCD- Exodus: Proxima Centauri in Review


There’s a new contender for the space 4x board game throne, and it’s called Exodus: Proxima Centauri. Designed by Andrei Novac and Agnieszka Kopera, Exodus is on some levels exactly what you are expected from a game quite directly descended from Twilight Imperium and Eclipse. Start from a home planet, take over neighboring planets, manage resources, do a little politicking, tool up with technologies, and blow up spaceships. It’s certainly not an unexpected design and it’s definitely a little more ramshackle than either of its ancestors, but after a couple of games of Exodus I’m convinced that there is room for this game in the marketplace and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes something of a cult hit, luring longtime TI3 players and recent Eclipse acolytes away to engage its particularly aggressive, more direct style of play. Continue Reading…

The PS4 Unveiled

ps4 announcement

The PS4 was unveiled last night, in that people talked about it but didn’t show it, say when it would be available or how much it would cost. I’m not going to go down the list of promised features, as there were plenty of other sites on hand to cover the event and you’ve probably already read about the PS4 from those sites.

I will, instead, point you to John Teti’s excellent post at the AV Club’s Gameological Society. It hits on everything I think was wrong with this kind of event as well as the the fallacy that more power is the only thing artists need to make good art. Here’s a taste of John’s piece, but you really should go read the whole thing:

Expanding the technological capabilities of our game machines is not inherently bad, but treating new tech as a magic bullet is a self-destructive delusion (if a familiar one). The reason that so many games suck is not because the technology is too modest. The reason that so many games suck is because so many games suck. Making art is hard. No microchip changes that.

Grand Theft Ukulele

gta v michael

No, I did not steal my ukulele, as the title of this post may imply. I bought my uke fair and square from the magical leprechaun that lives in the hollowed out oak tree on the edge of my property. I got a great price, but unfortunately all I can play is Danny Boy and if I go thirty minutes without playing, I bray like a donkey.

What I’m finding out as I navigate the twisted paths of musical incompetence, is that there’s a lot to learn when picking up an instrument, and if one isn’t careful, one can get lost in the weeds, spending more time deciding what to work on than actually working on it. Don’t get me started on watching YouTube videos. Man, it’s great that there are so many resources available for free lessons, but when you’re in the middle of watching your tenth video on chunking, you realize that at some point, you have to just start chunking yourself.

Thank heavens I have all of this open world gaming experience to fall back on.

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MGS: Revengeance Makes the Cut

calendar man revengeance shot 1

I’m going to do a full review of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance but since Gamefly somehow managed to get my rental to me on release day, I thought I’d share some first night thoughts.

Those thoughts are as follows:

  • OK, that’s pretty cool.
  • Oh ho ho…
  • Wow.
  • Oh hell yes.
  • Cut that guy into exactly 262 pieces. That’s what I call a microtransaction.
  • Eff you, chainsaw-tailed wolf (repeat x57)

More to come. But without spoiling the review, I will say that as someone that loves Metal Gear, Bayonetta, and general video game greatness this game is fucking awesome and I would be shocked if they blow it by the end. Classic, overblown Kojima production design and melodrama paired up with raw Platinum-style video gaming. And Raiden wears heels better than any man since Prince.