The Dark Knight Rises vs. The Avengers

Well, I just sat down and was able to watch The Dark Knight Rises trailer and all I can say is “HOLY CRAP! THIS LOOKS AWESOME!”

I myself am not a big of DC Comics but I really do enjoy Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series. It’s dark, gritty and leaves behind the silliness of the 1960’s Batman show (which is a great show but two of the worst Batman movies where released trying to recreate that type of slap stick humor. I’m referring to Batman Forever and Batman & Robin). Another film that will be coming out that I am excited for is Marvel’s The Avengers.

I’ve been following Marvel movies since X-Men was released in theaters and I am super excited for The Avengers. I might even dress up for it. I do have some concerns. They are not major concerns but just something I’m going to say. I am not a big fan of Samuel L Jackson. I do not like him playing Nick Fury even though he plays the part really well. I also think think Edward Norton should continue to play Bruce Banner. That’s pretty much it. It’s mainly the choices with the casting. I also think The Avengers might suffer from too much hype. Every Marvel film has been building up to this film and I fear it might not be what I expect it to be but I am hopeful especially since Joss Whedon is directing it.

Well, the reason for this post is I want to see what everyone is more excited for, The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers?

How To Save the Video Game Industry

IGN had posted earlier this month that 12 video game studios had shutdown in 2011. That is one studio per month. Most of the studios were smaller ones that but some of them had put out some good games that good pretty good reviews. Bizarre Creations was the studio behind Project Gotham Racing, Blur and Geometry Wars. Team Bandi was the studio behind LA Noire. Propaganda Games was the studio behind the Turok remake and Tron: Evolution (this one is understandable since they weren’t very good games). EA Visceral Melbourne (which there still are three more EA Visceral studio locations opened but it still hurts the company) were behind Dante’s Infernal and Dead Space 2 and Kaos Studios was behind Homefront and there are a few more.

Although they weren’t big studios, this does indeed hurt the gaming community. As gamer, I see this as a problem. It may not be effecting me at the moment because the game studios that closed aren’t my favorite but what’s stopping it from happening to some of my favorite gaming companies such as Bioware, Square Enix and Activision, I have come up with a few ways that might help prevent more game studios from closing.

First of all, the studios and the companies need to be help accountable when it comes to releasing a quality product. As a gamer, I am not going to go out and pay $60 on a mediocre game. I want top notch fun that will not be disrupted by crappy controls, frame rate issues, and glitches that will prevent me from moving on in a game. If the game isn’t finished or isn’t ready to be sold, push back the released date or released a demo and get some feedback from gamers and critics of things to change. Look at Uncharted 3’s online multiplayer. They released a beta and a demo and Naughty Dog made changes to please it’s fans.

Another thing game studios could do is released more downloadable content or an arcade game. Nothing small like weapons or costumes. Something bigger that enhances the story or add a few extra hours of gameplay with some achievements to get. A good example would be Dead Rising 2: Case Zero. This was released as a stand alone xbox live arcade game that only cost 400 microsoft points. It was the exact same gameplay and graphics of Dead Rising 2 but the story was a prequel to the actual game. What game companies shouldn’t do is released a new game every year with the same or twice a year that doesn’t really improve on any gaming aspect. I’m looking at you Activision. You killed off Guitar Hero with your twice a year game released and you rarely improved anything. Guitar Hero Aerosmith, Metallica, Van Halen, 80’s and Smash Hits couldof all been released as game add ons but Activision got greedy and released them as full games for full price and now, we no longer have a Guitar Hero franchise. I’m also pointing fingers at the Call of Duty franchise. Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3 were very disappointing. I expect better of you guys.

Another thing game studios can do is take some of their older games and re-released them with in High-Def. Released the game with a sharper image and achievements. There seems to be a lot of games within the past year being released like that. We’ve had games such as Beyond Good and Evil HD, Call of Duty Classic, Medal of Honor: Frontline HD (PS3 exclusive), Resident Evil: Code Veronica HD, and Resident Evil 4 HD released as marketplace downloads. Not only are they companies re-releasing great games, they are adding achievements and improving frame rate issues that help run the games more smoothly. It also provide gamers who may have missed the game the first time around, a chance to play them.

A trend especially this year is releasing collections of classic games. There had been multiple collections released including Splinter Cell Trilogy, Prince of Persia Trilogy, Sly Cooper Collection and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. If more game studios did this, it would save them more money. They wouldn’t be starting a game from scratch. They would already have the game and just tweak it a bit (I know it sounds easier than it is but in the long run, it will be good). This is also becoming a trend since there are more collections being released such as the Silent Hill Collection (which I am super excited about).

If the company has the money, another thing they should do is completely remake a classic game. Give the game modern day graphics while tweaking the gameplay to help it feel less dated. Some good examples of this would be Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Tomb Raider Anniversary. Two great games that got re-released with all new graphics and new controls. Halo CE Anniversary looked pretty good yet there were a few issues but it played like Halo Reach and it was a tone of fun. Tomb Raider Anniversary took the plot and levels from the original PS1 Tomb Raider game and had the gameplay resemble Tomb Raider Legends. The best part about the games is that it was like playing through a completely new game yet the price was much cheaper. Price is obviously a big thing for me since I am a poor college student. Activision, in my eyes making up for the killing of Guitar Hero, is releasing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD next Summer. I don’t know if it will be the same style of skating as the original Tony Hawk games but they are taking level from THPS 1 and 2 (two of my favorite games) and completely adding new graphics and will be released as an arcade download.

And my final solution would be due away with the Playstation and Xbox360 exclusives. Don’t be greedy. Videogames are becoming a form of art that everyone should experience. I would love to play Final Fantasy X HD and the Uncharted series on my 360. Granted Uncharted my take up 5 discs per game but I’m okay with that. Game studios and companies can expand their fan base by allowing games to be cross platforms. Its more money in their pockets and more fun for us gamers.

Those are my thoughts of how the video game industry can save themselves. what do you think? Do you think the video game industry is in trouble and this is a solution that can help with it’s financial issues? Do you have any other ideas of how the industry can live on? Please comment. I would love to know what you think.

Uncharted 3: Naughty Dog’s Masterpiece

Naughty Dog had big shoes to fill after Uncharted 2 and they did a pretty good job at filling them. Uncharted 3 my most anticipated game of 2012. I was counting down the days till it’s released. When I finally got my hands on it, I beat the campaign rather quickly and I was not disappointed.

In the third installment in the Uncharted series, we follow Nathan, Sully, Chloe and Cutter as they try to stop Katherine Marlowe (probably one of the best bad guys in recent games) and Talbot from discovering the lost city of Ubar discovering a weapon that will gain them control over the world. The plot, as good as it is, is the most forgettable aspect of the game (just like in the previous games). The game stands out with its characters. I was more wrapped up in the relationship between Nathan and Sully. The game focus’ on their relationship, how they met (there is a whole level devoted to that) and how far they would go for each other. The scenes with Nathan and Sully are just heart warming and at the end heart breaking especially when (**SPOILER**) Sully gets shot. My heart sank at that moment and I wanted to join Nate as he hunted down Katherine and Talbot to get revenge. We also get more story between Nathan and Elena which was really good. Reminded me a little bit of National Treasure 2 (with the whole married but separated thing) but better because we actually like Nathan and Elena.

The graphics in Uncharted 3 are breathtaking. The character models and facial expressions  are so realistic that its not funny. There were times where I sat watching the game when I actually should of been playing the game. The environments are beautiful. We are taken to many different locations in the game. From deserts to ancient cities to ship yards, they all look beautiful. If its water dripping from Nathans hairs or sand blowing off of his shirt and out of his hair, it all looks amazing  no matter what. The lighting effects are gorgeous too especially in the shipyard level. The voice acting is also fantastic. Nolan North, Richard McGonagle, Emily Rose, Claudia Black and Graham McTavish do a great job as our four favorite main characters. Rosalind Ayres does an amazing job as Katherine. They give excellent and believable performances.

Just like the previous Uncharted games, Uncharted 3 is full of well done set pieces. You’ll find yourself escaping from a burning chateau, escaping from a sinking ship, taking part in a horseback firefight and getting sucked out of an airplane. No matter which one you are in, you are on the edge of your seat, trying to survive and having a blast. The level design is also really good. The way the game is set up, you can either play the levels like their stealth levels (like Uncharted 2 but better) or shoot your way through them. The best way to play would be taking out as many enemies as you can with stealth then go through the levels shooting them up. The one level I felt Naughty Dog kinda just threw in just to add another level was the shipyard level. It’s not a bad level, its still fun but it was just difficult to play through it the way the game was designed. You couldn’t really use stealth very well and the shooter aspects were a pain in it.

I can’t really say anything about the multiplayer. I played the beta but never got around to playing the finished product.

My final thoughts:

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a masterpiece. It may have a few flaws but they can easily be overlooked. Naughty Dog created an amazing game and many game companies need to follow what Naughty Dog did with Uncharted, create a great cast of believable characters and go from game to game building on their relationships. This is truly a great experience that all gamers should experience. I wish I still had my PS3 so I can play next installment in the series or Naughty Dog should release the games for the xbox 360. That would be nice. And one final thing, Uncharted 3 should of won Game of the Year on Spike’s Video Game  Awards tonight.

What did you think of Uncharted 3? Is it game of the year material or not? Tell me what you think by commenting below.