Star Wars Battlefront has always been exciting. But you know what’s better than exciting? Giga-exciting. And fortunately, that’s exactly what DICE’s game now very much is, after its Hoth-based E3 gameplay demo.

It looks insane. It plays like someone just threw a first-person camera into a Star Wars movie battle. It has all the exciting, flash-bang bombast you want, and all the chaotic, intimate, human focus Star Wars needs. It is, quite frankly, a relentless, giddy, air-punch generator, and if you haven’t watched that demo yet, you must do so immediately

The demo begins on the forest moon of Endor with a group of rebels running through the forest. Three speeder bikes carrying Stormtroopers screech across the screen, and a firefight ensues with more Stormtroopers arriving. Soon this skirmish is interrupted by a gigantic AT-AT stomping through an opening in the forest. Regular firepower is completely ineffectual, even picking up a powerful weapon pick like a missile launcher is no use against the walker’s thick armour. The rebels reach a communications terminal and call in an airstrike from a nearby base. Within seconds, Y-Wings fly just above the forest’s canopy dropping bombs, destroying the AT-AT. (The footage switches between first- and third-person perspectives, emphasizing how Battlefront can be from either view.) The rebels run under the wounded AT-AT as it burns, emphasizing its impressive size, and leave the open forest for the safety of a bunker. Inside, one of the rebels runs ahead, but is stopped and scooped into the air by an invisible force; he reaches for his throat; he’s choking. Lord Vader comes into shot, throws the rebel to one side, and marches directly towards the camera; shots are fired in his direction but he deflects each one effortlessly with his lightsaber. Vader continues to walk forward until his mask dominates the screen.

Halo 5 Guardians

Halo 5 Guardians will feature an Online Multiplayer Beta later this year. All copies of the upcoming Halo: The Master Chief Collection will include the beta to Halo 5 within the Extras Menu. The Master Chief Collection releases this November.

As if Halo: The Master Chief Collection wasn’t bursting with goodness already, the Christmas period bought something extra that Halo fans would find unmissable: access to a limited beta of Halo 5’s multiplayer. It’s a glimpse of the Halo we should be playing towards the end of 2015, with a weekly programme of maps, modes and challenges. We’re now into the second week with another week to go, and it’s already clear that Halo 5 multiplayer sees some major changes from Halo 4, not just in terms of what has been added, but also in terms of what has been taken away.

Let’s get the most significant changes out of the way. For the first time Halo 5 has a Call-of-Duty aim-down-sights view when you squeeze the left trigger, though 343 Industries describes it as a ‘smart scope’. It works across all weapons though the degree of zoom and narrowing of vision differs according to the weapon type and sights, so that those weapons with the biggest zoom also have the most limiting effects on vision.

At first it feels alien, like a chunk of Call of Duty grafted onto Halo multiplayer, but with time you realise that some serious thought has gone into smart scope and how it’s used. Zooming in lessens the spread of bullets, making your fire more accurate at distance, but you need to work out whether the benefits outweigh the loss of vision and response time when an enemy appears at mid to close-range. Use smart scope all the time and it will simply get you killed, but learn how to use it when it works and fire from the hip when it doesn’t and you’ll find that it enhances your long-range capabilities without compromising your chances at close quarters.
I will admit that my days of competitive shooter play are mostly behind me. I’ll be lucky if I can ever crawl my K/D ratio back up to even after a rocky start, and chances are all the college buddies I used to play Halo 3 with are now too busy with jobs and families to join me when the game is released. But I do know that I felt something tick in my brain that made me feel like I was really playing the kind of Halo I loved again, something I never felt with 4 or Reach. 343 has turned back time and so far, seems to have brought the series back to something vaguely resembling its golden age. Again, it’s too early to make a full judgment, but so far so good, and I’m curious to see more.

Batman Arkham Knight

Arkham Asylum, the first Batman game from Rocksteady Studios, had the sense of a fresh beginning for superhero action games. Batman: Arkham Knight has a sense of finality. It builds on the revolutionary strike-and-counter fighting style with powerful new moves  and enemies; it expands on Arkham City’s open world with a larger, more detailed version of Gotham; it introduces a new fully playable Batmobile and makes it an important part of the action and puzzles; and it brings all of Batman’s closest family of Gotham superheroes and rogues together for an amazing, great-looking finale.

On with the show!

It’s impossible, at least for me, to encounter the fourth big entry in a wildly popular Batman series and not think of Batman and Robin, the disastrous 1997 Joel Schumacher movie that starred George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Uma Thurman. Batman and Robin did what the Joker, Riddler, and Penguin had been trying and failing to do for almost 60 years. It killed the Dark Knight (as a film franchise, at least), at the time seemingly for good.

Batman: Arkham Knight, the fourth major title in the Warner Bros. series of video games that began with 2009’s Arkham Asylum and the third to be helmed by the London studio Rocksteady, is not a debacle on the order of Batman and Robin. But well into the game, I feared that it would be. For several hours, it seemed that the opening lines—“This is how it happened. This is how the Batman died”—were not an omen that might or might not be paid off by Arkham Knight’s ending, but rather were a foreshadowing of what Arkham Knight was going to do to the reputation of the Arkham games as the only great superhero series in video games.

After a stylish opening, Arkham Knight miscalculates, badly. The decision to revolve so much of the game around the new Batmobile is an alienating move that robs Arkham Knight at the outset of the fantasy of becoming the Dark Knight. The great joy of the Arkham games has been how well they allow players to embody the Batman, gliding and grappling and duking it out with criminals using a combination of fists, feet, and gadgets. Arkham Knight jettisons much of this during its first couple of hours in favor of teaching the player how to drive the new Batmobile and use its weapons in tank battles on the streets of Gotham.

If this is in fact the last Rocksteady-developed Batman game, the series will end on a high note. Arkham Knight is the biggest Batman game yet, not just in map size, but in the wide range of different types of gameplay, and its collection of characters. The addition of tank combat thematically clashes with everything Batman stands for, but it is fun, and having access to the Batmobile for the first time gives us a new world of possibilities for interacting with Gotham City. Arkham Knight is an outstanding game on almost every level.

Halo 4 Review

Halo 4

Halo 4 Review

Congratulations 343 Industries on improving upon Bungies epic classic. Halo 4 is a masterpiece and is my favorite game this year. The game developers at 343 Industries did a great job of keeping the feel and gameplay of the Halo series while improving the visuals, sound, and graphics (not an easy feat, considering the Halo series is the landmark game for Xbox). Most people already do this but I highly recommend playing the Campaign before you head straight to multi-player. The campaign storyline, video clips, and character development was so well done that both my girlfriend and I thought we were watching a movie at times. This is really on the second time in my life where a video game was so captivating that the characters really came to life and I gave me that awesome feeling (Final Fantasy 10 for PS2 was the first). I won’t talk to much about the campaign because I don’t want to give away any spoilers but my only complaint is that the campaign isn’t longer (took only about 5 1/2 hours to beat).

halo 4 campaignGameplay

The gameplay experience for Halo 4 is much like Halo reach with being able to sprint, use special abilities like Jet packs, Holograms, Invisible Cloak, and some new abilities such as promethean vision (much like thermal vision), thrusters (short speed boost), and auto sentry (a floating sentry turret). There is a new set of weapons added to the game that are not of human or covenant origin. These weapons are from the sentry/robotic like race called prometheans. In my experience with the promethean weapons they are a mixed blend of the human and covenant weapons whereas the guns shoot at a medium fire rate but seem to do slightly more damage than the human weapons. There is also a new, and so far useless grenade that once thrown creates a timed sphered that eventually explodes like a frag grenade. The one issue with these grenades is that everyone can see the giant red sphere and get out of the blast radius before it explodes!

halo 4 promethean weapons


The multi-player gameplay is very similar to what we love from the other halo series but with all new maps, leveling system, and weapons. There are very few noticeable changes to the multi-player gameplay such as once you vote for a map you cannot re-vote, and there is a new loadout system (similar to COD) where you can unlock starting weapons and abilities. The modes in multi-player are all the same from previous versions except the zombie mode which is better now! The new zombie mode is called Flood and instead of being a spartan with an energy sword in previous games you get to play as the flood which is a lot more crazy looking when you are the last man standing and see 7 flood players jumping around and dashing to kill you.

halo 4 multi player

Spartan Ops

There is also a new feature called Spartan Ops which seems to be a remake of the Firefight mode. In Spartan Ops a new episode of 5 parts will be released on a weekly basis where you can complete a small storyline or mission. I think Spartan Ops is far and away better than Firefight mode and adds to the everlasting experience of Halo. Spartan Ops makes me feel like a mini-campaign is being released every week which keeps the game interesting and keeps people playing online.



One of the first things you will notice is that the darker tone and lighting from the previous Halo series has been lifted to a more visually appealing and brighter look. The graphics and colors used are top notch, about the same as Crysis 2 which is known for pushing the envelope on graphics. The worlds and maps visited all have a unique feel to them which is great because it makes you feel like you are visiting different planets while playing the campaign and keep you interested during Multi-player games. The visual effects of the weapons have also impressed me from the way the spartans turn on the energy blades to the plasma bullets that fire out of covenant weapons could not be more impressive. I think with the new generation of consoles just around the corner, Halo 4 shows us the extent of the Xbox 360’s power which isn’t to shabby.

halo 4Music

The music in Halo 4 is up to its standards and blends well with the game. There isn’t an epic opening intro song like in Halo or Halo 2 but those are classics that is hard to compete with. One of the things you will notice is the sounds made when unleashing an energy sword which sounds almost like a light saber! During the campaign the music does its job and can help captivate you into the moment but on the downside there isn’t one real epic moment like in the first Halo when you drove away from the Maw in a warthog. That would have been a great climax to a great campaign mode.

Halo 4 Rating

Gameplay 9/10 Halo 4 is probably going to become the fan favorite of the franchise which is a monumental task and a good job on the new developers at 343 Industries. Halo 4 has all of the fun looks and feel of the series but only more modernized and up to date.

Graphics 9/10 Pushed the Xbox 360 graphics to the limit and I have yet to see a game that does better than this.

Music 8/10 Nothing to special with the music in this game but it doesn’t disappoint either.

Replay Value 9/10 This game will be an instant classic and has many different gaming modes plus Spartan ops to keep you entertained for a long time.

NBA 2K13 Review

NBA 2K13 Blake Griffin

NBA 2K13 Review

There are only 2 reasons why I purchased NBA 2K13 this year, one is because if you go online with NBA2K 12 it will have the same amount of players as NBA Jam online. The second reason is because it was produced by Jay-Z. Other than those two reasons I do not see an upgrade in graphics, gameplay, or any significant game mode changes that is worth buying an entire new game for. The monopoly on sports games is outrageous because the developers at 2K (basketball and baseball) & Electronic Arts (Madden & College Sports) know that every year they only have to release a game with a new title for the next season and everyone will buy it regardless if it sucks. I find this very frustrating especially in the NBA2K franchise because this game is not a whole lot better than last years or the previous years game. That is an extra $120 for what? Roster updates?

Not to mention, NBA2K graphics looks like I am playing on an N64 and you can barely tell the difference between a point guard and small forward. It’s almost 2013 and you are giving us graphics from 1996?? I remember playing NBA Live 09, 4 years ago and the graphics were bone chillingly real. The gameplay demo of Boston vs Lakers seemed like an actual game was on. Where did NBA Live go and why can’t we get a game that has the great gameplay of NBA2k with NBA Live graphics, is that too much to ask of these companies?

Take a look at the difference in this mug shot of Dirk, even though it is from 09 NBA 2K 13 still looks exactly the same.

NBA 2k graphics vs NBA liveGameplay

The only reason I believe that this franchise is making money is because of the most realistic style of game play. NBA2K found a great way to simulate the dynamics of basketball into a video game and make it as life like as possible. It is the most competitive basketball game compared to old NBA Live games and playing online can be fun if everyone on the other team doesn’t quit.


As a explained above, Nintendo 64 graphics. If NBA2K doesn’t upgrade their graphics significantly with next years game and if an NBA Live 14 comes out, I think they would give them a run for their money once people realize that Live is a better overall game. When playing sports games it is enjoyable because you can get a feeling of playing as your favorite sports star. So when I am draining 3’s with Chris Paul and it panes out for a close up and my player looks like a 5 year old drawing, it is really, really disappointing.

NBA 2k13 Graphics


What would you expect from a video game produced by Jay-Z other than a whole lot of songs that feature Jay-Z and Kanye. The Audio tracks are great especially if you like Jay-Z’s & Kanye’s music but if you don’t then you are probably going to turn off the sound in this game. I think a played NBA2K 13 for more than a week and didn’t hear one song that didn’t have Jay or Kanye in it. The music in the game does get you pumped up to play and helps with the overall experience of the game.

Jay Z executive produced NBA 2k13NBA 2K13 Rating

Gameplay 7/10 Would be more fun to play if the graphics were not stuck in the mid 90’s.

Graphics 4/10 I have raged about the graphics enough already.

Music 9/10 Executive produced by Jay-Z pretty much saved this game for me.

Replay Value 6/10 This game will be irrelevant next year, and hopefully NBA live will come out with a game to compete.

Madden NFL 2013 Review

Madden NFL 13

Madden NFL 2013 Review

There are a lot of Madden lovers out there that are raising the pitchforks at EA for taking out franchise mode. This years Madden NFL 13 has received lower ratings and reviews than last years Madden which to my knowledge hasn’t happened before. Well here is what I think, GET OVER IT! Madden NFL 13 brings so much more in terms of the infinity engine and the running game that I thought was a huge advancement in the football gaming franchise. In every Madden before this year the one thing that stood out like a sore thumb was the running game. You just pick a back with great stats and run it up the middle for 4 yards with the occasional 10+ yard play. Even if there was a wall of linemen your negative play could return a 4 yard carry because of this fault in the video game. Well not anymore because with the new infinity engine you now have to have skills like a real running back to find the holes, cut corners, and not trip over your own linemen. If you even try to push it up the middle with a 300 pound lineman in front of you, your player will trip and fall for 0 yards just like he is supposed to, not push through a human shield.

Not only is the running game solved, the infinity engine now makes plays look more realistic and not bring you the same motions during every hit. For example, if Ray Lewis is going to tackle a smaller running back like Darren Sproles you would expect a different impact and motion than Ray Lewis tackling Adrian Peterson, well the infinity engine does just that. Players weight, height, power, and speed all come into play when being tackled with the infinity engine. This is perhaps the most noticeable upgrade for a Madden game and yet most gamers are complaining about one mode taken out that ruined the ratings.


I already discussed how the running game made a vast improvement and there are noticeable differences in the passing game as well. There used to be several plays in every playbook that dedicated Madden players could find and utilize for automatic first downs, automatic touchdowns, or easy 2-point conversions. I tried those same plays on every team and noticed that they only work about 50-60% of the time if the play is executed perfectly. This is a great improvement because it will convince those who go for it on every 4th down to hesitate and think about the punt or field goal. Same goes for the automatic 2-point conversions that can easily give an unfair advantage to someone playing against a friend. Every year Madden becomes more and more realistic and this year doesn’t disappoint.

Madden NFL 13 Infinity EngineGraphics

The graphics are realistic and confuse older people that a live game is on as usual. I don’t see a huge advancement in the graphics here compared to last years Madden, it could be that we are seeing the maximum potential of graphics for sports games on this generation of consoles or the developers at EA focused more on the actual game play. Whichever the case may be the graphics are always raising the bar for sports games.


What is interesting about this Madden is the noticeable change from popular Hip Hop and Rock songs to more traditional football audio. When you are in the game menu’s picking your teams and settings the background music is as if you were about to watch a Monday night football game (which I enjoy). However, if you liked listening to popular songs in-between games that get you excited to play then you may not like this switch. Overall, I don’t think it is a bad idea what they have done with the music but perhaps a blend of traditional football music and adding in a more upbeat Hip Hop or Rock song would be best.

Madden NFL 2013 Rating

Gameplay 8/10 The running game is vastly improved and the passing game is still great. With the infinity engine upgrade this game can literally be played for hours.

Graphics 9/10 The graphics in this game are the best for sport simulation games to date.

Music 7/10 The soundtracks in this Madden are more focused on traditional football rather than modern hip hop and rock songs. Like I said before a blend of both would be best.

Replay Value 7/10 The only reason the replay value isn’t higher is because next year this game will be in the $5 bin

Kingdoms of Amalur Review


Kingdoms of Amalur Review

Kingdoms of Amalur takes you into a land full of magic and wonder that creates a world similar to world of warcraft. One of the first things you will notice when playing Kingdoms of Amalur is the fighting game play for an action rpg is top notch. Much like Fable, your character can learn magic while swinging giant swords, daggers, or a unique weapon called fae blades. The fighting style and progression of skill tree’s keep the game flowing and interesting throughout the lengthy storyline that takes your character to three different continents. Each continent has lots of quests that take you on separate adventures and minor story lines where you meet with a large cast of characters.


In the story you create a character who wakes up on a pile of carcases because he/she was resurrected by gnome magic. Of course, your character has faint memories of the past and can’t remember exactly who he/she was and tries to put the pieces to the puzzle back together. You quickly find out that the kingdom of Amalur is at war with the Tuatha – Winter fae and that your character is the one who can change the fate of the kingdom. Throughout the storyline you meet intellectual and crafty gnomes, the fae which are elven like immortal creatures, and various humans in need of help. The storyline is written by author and helps you delve deep into the world of Amalur.


The graphics are very similar to a World of Warcraft feel but with the game engine of a xbox 360/PS3 console which adds an even more detailed world. There are many areas throughout the game that make you stop and enjoy the artwork and scenery. Not to mention the graphics for spells and attacks are well done and complement the fighting style. If you enjoy playing Wow or action rpg’s this game is a must have.

Kingdoms of amalur graphics


The music in Kingdoms of Amalur fits well with the game and reminds me a lot of the background music in the Fable series. There was not a song that particularly stands out like the “Victory” song in Final Fantasy or opening theme song in World of Warcraft, but the music does go along with the game. There could be an improvement here which would make Kingdom of Amalur a real classic. Think about it, when people think back about Super Mario Bros what is the first thing that everyone starts doing? ….. You guessed it, sings the theme song!


Kingdoms of Amalur is an all around great game from storyline, fighting style, and graphics any role playing game fan will enjoy this adventure. If you would like a mix of final fantasy, Wow, and Fable elements blended nicely into one epic adventure than Kingdoms of Amalur is calling your name. I am hoping that there will be a sequel and more great games like this to come, perhaps with kinect features?!

Kingdoms of Amalur Rating

Gameplay – 8/10 Very fun action hack and slash style rpg. Does get a little bit repetitive over time but questing and storyline keep you entertained throughout.

Graphics 9/10 Great graphics and visual effects.

Music 7/10 Nothing to special about the music but like I said earlier, does fit the role of the game.

Replay Value 6/10 I don’t see much replay value in this game because once you run through the campaign there isn’t much of a reason to go back and play.

King of Fighters 13 Review

King of Fighters 13 review

I’ve been playing the King of Fighters series since the 7th installment and King of Fighters 13 is my favorite next to Maximum Impact. King of Fighters 13 is back in its’ classic 2D form which the developers of fighting genre games finally realizing that the 2D side scrolling is a tried and true formula that will not go away.

King of Fighters 13 Kyo and IoriThat being said, it is a little disappointing having to purchase an Xbox 360 game for $50 and have it feel exactly the same as a game I could have bought for $25 back in the 90’s. King of Fighters 13 doesn’t incorporate the new styling and functionality of a 2D fighting game that Mortal Kombat 9 and Street Fighter 4 was able to accomplish.

Those games were using the 2 Dimensional platform but they looked and felt like an Xbox 360/PS3 game because of the amount of detail and smooth gameplay that went into the game. King of Fighters 13 lacked in this area and ultimately made it worth a rent but if they had spent the time and energy that the developers of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 4 did then this game would have been amazing.

King Of Fighters 13 Characters

There are a decent amount of characters to choose from and looks like all the favorites are there, however one thing to note is that Iori has lost his “flame” powers and that changed his fighting style a bit (he sucks now). Ash Crimson is one of the newer characters introduced in the last KOF and is pretty fun to play as well. Another downside of this game is that there are only two unlockable characters and you deliberately have to suck on the arcade so that you don’t get 2,500,000 points by the end of stage 6 and won’t have to fight the final boss ‘Dark Ash Crimson”.

Unlockable Characters

The unlockable characters are Billy Kane and Saiki. Billy Kane is unlocked by performing at least 2 target actions per match and Saiki is performing at least 5 target actions per match.

King of Fighters 13 characters

Story Mode

Lets talk about the Story Mode, there is no story mode. It is just cut scenes that are about 5 pictures fading out very slowly with no voice acting.

Arcade Mode

Arcade mode is really the only fun thing to do on this game and is what makes it bearable. The arcade mode is quite fun and challenging because by the end of tournament you quickly realize how annoying computer controlled opponents can be. It actually takes a bit of skill to defeat the last tournament match and if you score enough points good luck on fighting True Saiki and Dark Ash.

King of Fighters 13 Arcade mode

King of Fighters 13 Online

This was another frustrating part of King of Figthers 13 was the fact that everytime I tried to start an online match I would fail the search criteria and there was no explanation as to why. I tried multiple times to get a quick online match going and the game basically denied me access. Could be because I was renting the game from GameFly? Who knows.

King of Fighters 13 Rates:

Gameplay 7/10 The game play in King of Fighters 13 is more fluid than its ever been but still not up to par with Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. The developers over at SNK have to push themselves a little bit harder next time and this series can really become popular.

Graphics 6/10 If you are going to make a 2D fighting game that doesn’t mean you need to make it look like the game is from the 90’s. That is one of this games biggest faults and frustrations is the fact that I could have played this game on a Gameboy.

Audio 7/10 Most of the background sound effects are your usual 2D fighting game sounds but for the arcade/story mode there are some nice songs they inputted during the slide show.

Replay Value 6/10 After I ran through the Arcade Mode a couple times I put it straight back in the mail because it just wasn’t that exciting.