Like vinyl music? Try the vinyl Final Fantasy Music Collection

While browsing my local gaming news I came across something quite interesting over at Destructoid. Apparently there is a Final Fantasy music collection heading our way..When I say our way I mean released in Japan so we will need to import it or pay even more absurd prices via Ebay.

Final Fantasy Music Collection via Destructoid

Purchase the Final Fantasy Music Collection on Vinyl via CD Japan


Video Game Review: Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 is of course the sequel to the acclaimed horror FPS and follows the same lonely hero Isaac Clarke. Now being a sequel and with the first one gaining so much praise, Dead Space 2 had a lot to live up to. Sequels following the same continuity tend on average like movies to fall a tad short. However this is not one of those sad stories.

We find our hero three years later on a space station. He has no recollection of these past three years, he is in a straight jacket and shit immediately hits the fan of the kind he thought he was done with. Well it seem’s a new marker was made and well as per usual, everyone goes nuts and your smack dab in the middle of it.

Now I half expected them to go this route with the marker so it was no particular suprise. Being in the action right from the start was also very good. Your immediately running for your life in the dark. The pacing is very well done. You have occasionally calm moments but then followed by heart pounding run in’s with the necromorphs. The story progresses quite well and overall it’s not that bad. It continues things nicely however I would have preferred more and I will get to this in a bit.

Throughout most of the game your within the confines of the station but suddenly your miracle to escape this hell is by heading to your ship you thought was destroyed. So you end up retreading through a portion of areas you already have been through. Now there are some visual changes to the areas to reflect the ship being repaired / cleaned / investigated. But still though I would have preffered not going that route as it had a very been there, done that vibe to it. So while most of the game felt fresh in a sense with new locations it just damperred the positive just a bit.

Also you learn that a group of religious zealots called Unitologists are wanting markers created to bring about a foretold event called convergence. This was pretty interesting but in the end did not really go anywhere. It was a bit dissapointing as another good part of the game was exploring their church.

And like the previous game you will meet an NPC or two, receive cryptic messages and find lots of audio logs. I think the NPC are used in a similar matter as Dead Space. They work for being there at appropriate moments however they come off as being wooden characters and fillers for your needs to get the story going where it has to go.

Gameplay wise, Dead Space 2is so much better then it’s predecessor. In the first Dead Space I found Isaac’s movements to be clunky, however now he moves much more smoother in his suit. Also in zero gravity areas you have full movement via thrusters adding much more flexibility to getting around. These are huge improvements on their own. More emphasis however is put on using your stasis on necromorphs. In fact at times if you don’t, you will simply die.

Dead Space 2 can be a difficult game at times. It’s sometimes doesn’t seem to have it’s balance firmly in place. While it encourages at times to find alternatives to wasting your ammunition at some times it is just inevitable to use them. Partcilarly annoying at times is swarms of monsters. You can simply be outnumbered and even when using your stasis you can deal with a few at a time. This can lead to some frustrating moments in the game as you simply want to get things going again.

The necromorphs are mostly the same as before with perhaps three new ones. Again this is a bit dissapointing as it would have been nice to see more varied mutations of people. At some points you just feel as though you are seeing the same monster over and over. Though I must confess that the small mutant babies are totally fucked up and creepy. They are scary, baby sounds and all.

Speaking of scary, the atmosphere in Dead Space 2is very well done overall. You will be scarred no doubt while playing in the dark. Shadows are played off very well for dramatic creepiness. I think after the mid point of the game the creepiness tends to wear off. But there are some scenes which are so very well done. However speaking of horror asa genre I find sometimes while they use subtle elements which work very well they sometimes tend to slide towards a shock horror type of genre where they try to gross you out with the worst possible deaths. Take for instance how Isaac dies. Sometimes every limb will get torn off, he will scream, then his head will be ripped off and blood gushing everywhere. While your thinking oh crap I died, they take extra time to amplify how he does. I don’t think that the shock horror they try to use is effective. I prefer moments like walking in a thinly light hallway hearing twinkle twinkle little star. That is scary. Some other scenes as well are shock value oriented and in my opinion takes away from what is going on.

Overall Dead Space 2 delivers on being an excellent game. The gameplay is so much more better, the story is very good as well however I think horror wise they need to find their voice. They don’t seem to know what direction they want to go in and being a horror game it is hard. People has varried tastes but you need to find what works best for your audience and this specific game. While you might find at times the game a bit dull especially retreading old stomping grounds, you will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. In all, I highly recommend giving this game a whirl.

Video Game Review : Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 is the last in the glorious Mass Effect trilogy which brings back Commander Shephard and his crew as they try and deal the final blow to the reapers. I cannot emphasize how much I love this series and I personally think they are the greatest space opera games to ever come out. But enough about my gushing for five seconds and on to the game.

The game opens with the reapers invading earth and practically wiping it out within minutes through sheer superiority. This brings us to our resident hero that nobody listens to, Commander Shephard. Obviously your in the hunt for a way to fight the reapers but it’s not as easy as find x or y. You have to literally go around the universe gathering resources to aid in the way effort. This gathering of resources is represented numerically via your new war room on your ship. This room let’s you know your armies preparedness to face off against the reapers.

Gaining advantage is done in two ways. One is through scanning galaxies and finding military targets / information / etc in a bid to help out the way effort. The other is through making alliances in the game by trying to help others. This is not so black and white however as sometimes your enlisting the help of other seedier type of cultures and actually criminals. But what would you do to save your planet? Sometimes in these situations you need to be flexible and doing it in the most minimal way. This is very well represented throughout the game.

Obviously like the preceding games you have relationships with one of the women on your crew or otherwise but it’s also done in a way that just by being nice to them opens up opportunities. I felt like Shephard was totally hitting on every chick on two legs. But it was interesting to see how these relationships developed and the one which I went with finally really seemed like it fit best with the trilogy as a whole as to how I played it.

The story is pretty straight forward however there is always a level of intrigue. What is Cerberus really up to and are they all that bad. Again we are faced with the shades of grey. Sometimes it seem’s so blatantly obvious the other is bad but come a certain point you wonder were they right and just went about it in a more extreme way. Suffice it to say you are left at times actually wondering if you did the right thing. Never have I personally felt in a game that my actions had weight but also if I did go about it right.

You bump into your friends along they way and suffice it to say that some make it and some don’t but the story is done in an almost love letter to your relationships you have made over the previous games. It ends up that you feel that each friendship has had an incredible journey and while some ended unfortunately in game it’s done in such a way to make it feel appropriate and epic.

The ending to the game brought a lot of controversy. I downloaded the famous patch that expands the ending however I felt that without experiencing the original ending that it was a bit quick. I felt as though Mass Effect 2 had this long epic ending and while the ending is satisfying it felt short and not as impressive as it could have been. That being said it’s more of an artistic choice by the developers and it works with what was presented. However I think even with the most long drawn out ending I still would not have been satisfied as it was like saying goodbye to a group of friends you shared everything with over 3 games.

The controls were the same tight configuration we all know from the previous games. I felt that through most of the game I had no need to use any other weapon aside from the Avenger assault rifle. I also felt like I never needed to change what bullet type I would use. This made things a bit bland on the combat side of things. Also as I leveled up the characters I was thinking that they need to add more if they do another ME  game. I enjoy that it attempts to be an action / rpg hybrid however I felt like all the characters in terms of skills were too similar. I would have preferred more uniqueness to the classes and I think the previous games even had more fluctuation in that regard.

In the end though Mass Effect 3 is a game that NEEDS to be experienced. If you never played the two other games you NEED to be playing those. As I mentioned Mass Effect 3 at the moment is the best space opera game to have come around. It’s action packed but it makes you think and moves you emotionally in ways you never thought could happen in a game. It’s storytelling at it’s finest.

A look at Shadowrun Returns

Do you all remember the SNES Shadowrun game? If you don’t go and “procure” it and enjoy as it is one of the greats in RPG games in the 16 bit era. Now since that time fans of that game and simply fans of the pen & paper game have wanted a game. And no that godawful multiplayer shooter Shadowrun game does not count. Well a kickstarter was made and it was suffice it to say, extremely funded. So now after some time Kotaku has some images of concept art, characters and cityscapes from the game. It seem’s to be going for a classic style which is much akin to the SNES game which will please many. So head on over to Kotaku via the link below and check out the awesomeness headed our way.

A look at characters and cityscapes of Shadowrun Returns via Kotaku

A Friendly Reminder

Just a heads up to all you Baldur’s Gate fans. The enhanced edition of Baldur’s Gate is heading your way this September 18th so mark it on your calendar. In fact you can go ahead and pre purchase the game so it’s pre-loaded and ready for gaming on the 18th.

I know we at the Hub are extremely excited about it. I myself never got to beating the game or it’s expansion so the fact of all the new features and that I will probably be playing with my friends is very exciting. I literally cannot wait…looks like I just pre-purchased it.

Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition Homepage

Video Game Review: Home

Home is a game by Benjamin Rivers which is a horror game at it’s heart which is wrapped up in a classic 8 bit shell. 8 bit you say? Yes and you know what? It’s one of the best horror games I have played in awhile.

Home is simple all around from controls to the plot. You awaken in a house, you have a flashlight and you suffered a mental break where you cannot remember what happened so you have to find clues. And while the plot seem’s simple enough the outcome is based on the clues you find and your perception of the events that transpired. The controls are brutally simple being the typical “wasd” layout and the space bar for interaction. It really does not get more complicated then this.

For an 8 bit game I have to commend Benjamin Rivers for making Home at times actually scary. The plot leaves you wondering what is going on but the lighting effects work to make this atmospheric. In our day and age of flashy graphics and ultra real looking zombies Benjamin Rivers proves that sometimes you can pull off scary with being classic.It’s not just for nostalgia. It’s a statement that you can do something unique, fun and creepy with keeping things brutally simple. In fact I surmise this will inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

The game itself will take you under an hour to go through it but you will be left spellbound by the revelations of your play through which hasn’t happened to me in a long time. And to boot if you go to Steam right now, you can get it for $2.50 Cdn. That’s dirt cheap for something so good.

Home is an experience that can be had and if you allow yourself to take away it’s concepts you could probably bring them to your pen and paper gaming table. Keep it simple, start everyone off unawares of what is going on and let things develop. That being said I cannot recommend this game enough. Go and buy it, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes

Well recently announced by Konami and Kojima Productions is Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes which will be a lead in to Metal Gear Solid 5. I am a huge fan of the series because it is a gigantic story which covers all kinds of themes and the personal journeys of the cast. Below is an 11 minute video of the game with some actual gameplay footage at the end. All I have to say is holy crap!

New Heavy Gear videogame

Stompy Bot, the aptly named and newly formed development studio out of St John New Brunswick has announced that they’re going to be adapting the beloved little Canadian wargame/RPG Heavy Gear to the world of videogames again. It’s been awhile since the Activision games came out, so this is cool to see. I look forward to seeing what they produce and am already excited by the concept art they’ve shown as part of their press release.

Check it out here.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land now on Android

Well if you like gaming in the world of H.P Lovecraft then look no further then Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land. Originally out for apple mobile device’s you can now get this for your Android mobile device. For the announcement from Chaosium, check the link below.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land via Chaosium

The Secret World Beta Weekend 4

If you MMO fans out there have not noticed yet, The Secret World is slowly approaching release and this weekend is the BETA weekend number 4. A little last hurrah in this complex and mysterious world.

There seem’s to be some interesting elements like no levels and no classes. It seem’s to be freeform progression which will open up a lot of dynamic characters. I am very eager to see how it all works.

I cannot say I know how it plays as I signed up like yesterday with everyone else but I will be playing it as soon as it installs and can give some impressions. It’s going for a subscription based model to start it seem’s. Wonder if that will pan out. At any rate sign up for the BETA, give it a shot and let us know what you think.

The Secret World