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Bayonetta Review by xARTURIAx

xARTURIAx’s Video Game Reviews

-Bayonetta–

By: Sara Pease

Picture this: Sarah Palin, scandalous clothing, and guns…lots and lots of guns. Having difficulties? Well then, just pick up a copy of Bayonetta and experience the weirdness described above. Ah, but Bayonetta is much more than late politicians running around with weapons…in fact…the game is nothing like that at all! :D First released on October 29th , 2009 in Japan, Bayonetta first hit the scene with hundreds of crazy advertisements displayed around the country. Highly anticipated? I think so…and for a good reason. Publisher Sega (in cooperation with Nex Entertainment, PS3) and director Hideki Kamiya struck action-game-gold with this title…ok, maybe just silver, but the point is it was, and still is, a popular game. Bayonetta takes aspects from previous games (Devil May Cry…also directed by Kamiya…and God of War) and incorporates its own twisted storyline and characters. With a ridiculous amount of combos and super fast paced game play, Bayonetta has been revered as one of the best action games of 2010.

Graphics: 10/10

One of the first games I owned for the PS3, Bayonetta first reeled me in thanks to this category. The graphics are spectacular! Even during the fast paced boss battles I still understand all that is going on. Details are what really make this game shine. Every once in a while I’d find myself just admiring the look and feel of the fictional European city I was shooting things in. The design of these levels was great, and definitely pure eye candy. Even the characters themselves looked beautiful. No matter what you were making Bayonetta do, whether it be a crazy break dance moves or hooker boot PAWNCHs, the graphic system never seems to disappoint. The cut scenes are even more spectacular, as they should be. Even the interactive cut scenes are just too awesome. In fact, the cut scenes are a bit too distracting…too many times have I missed my queue to dodge the killer wall flying toward me… Just like the main characters the enemies themselves are also very detailed and shiny!

Game Play: 9/10

Although the graphics are very clear cut and detailed, I still found the at some points during game play it was very hard to see what was going on around me. This is most likely due to the fast paced game play, but it still hinders the player…especially when Bayonetta gets hit. Other then that issue, the game play is great fun! This game offers up so many damn combos I have no idea which ones to execute where…and I totally don’t care! The game is way too much fun to care. Not only do these combos look awesome, they’re firkin’ awesome to execute! ALL of these combos are also very easy to do. Players have the option to change difficulty settings so that many combos can be completed with just a single button (similar to Devil May Cry). Game play is smooth, which I really didn’t expect from a game that allowed you to “control time”. Everything falls exactly into place, which makes this game a lot of fun. Unfortunately, Bayonetta does present itself with some difficult challenges throughout the game, but it wouldn’t be a challenge if it was easy…would it? The game play can be summed up as God of War on estrogen!

Plotline: 6/10

Yeah, it’s true; Bayonetta has a pretty disappointing plot behind all that badass game play. The story is good, and has some hilarious scenes, but I really don’t know why what is happening is actually happening. The story line is just not that good, which is really sad. I was expecting something better from Kamiya…I mean, the Devil May Cry series is so nicely done…but not Bayonetta. The main plot may not have been the greatest as a whole, but there were definitely some good aspects about it. Incorporating the fictional European setting so that it worked with the overall plot was very nicely done. After a while into the game a few things that once confused me became a lot clearer as well. I finally understand WHY Bayonetta is fighting angels and who these random characters are. The story, if not taken too seriously, is not at all a bore. Learning things about these characters, especially Bayonetta, is entertaining…characters are introduced in an awesomely hilarious way!

Character Base/Design: 8/10

Like stated before, the plot introduces the characters well…which is good, because the characters all have unique personalities that NEED to be introduced, especially Bayonetta. Bayonetta makes this game. She is sarcastic, scandalous, and all together mysterious. The other main characters introduced are not that important, which is saddening. They all have their rolls, but they are all rather cliché. There is the old friend-turned enemy, the possible lover, and the small random child?! Anyway…the design of each character is spectacular. They are each very unique, which makes the game that much more enjoyable. (Bayonetta looks too much like Sarah Palin…which isn’t a bad thing, just weird. I don’t know, I may be the only one who thinks this…but seriously…Sarah Palin with guns on her shoes…hmmm…it’s even cooler when you picture her punishing the divine!)

Music: 9/10

Nine composers contributed to the amazing Bayonetta soundtrack. I adore the upbeat rhythms this game provides…especially the main theme. Listen to it. You’ll most likely feel it adds to the game more than it should…just as I do.

Overall: 8.5/10

Bayonetta’s crazy amount of fun to execute combos and super quick game play definitely make this game a MUST play for any fan of Japanese action games. Not only is the game fun, but also provides a lot of challenging aspects that make you feel like a God after you’ve beaten them. If you play games solely for the storylines, don’t waste your money on this one, but seriously, $30-$40 isn’t a lot to drop on this masterpiece.  See, and you thought the idea of Sarah Palin with guns strapped to her feet was a bad idea ;D.

Bayonetta Launch Trailer

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Aesop Rock: Coffee

In appreciation of “The Walking Dead” tv series currently airing on AMC, I give to you “Coffee” by Aesop Rock.

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Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Single Player Review

Assassin's Creed:  Brotherhood

By Ross Dougherty

Much has been touted about Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s new multiplayer mode.  So much so that little was known about its single player component until the game’s release.  It may come as a bit of a surprise, then, to learn that Brotherhood’s campaign is just as expansive and exhaustive as its single player only predecessors, Assassin’s Creed I and II.  Everything that made those two games great returns in addition to some new and interesting gameplay elements.  This review will focus on Brotherhood’s campaign mode, and what makes it a welcome addition to the Assassin’s Creed saga.

Perhaps more appropriately titled Assassin’s Creed II: Episode II, Brotherhood takes place immediately after the events in ACII.  You play as Ezio Auditore, a member of a league of assassins in early 1500s Rome, which is now totally under the rule of Rodrigo Borgia (aka Pope Alexander VI).  Rome has become completely unhinged under Borgia’s corruption.  The economy has tanked, the buildings are in ruins, and the citizens live in constant fear of Borgia’s totalitarian rule.  It’s up to Ezio to put an end to Borgia’s influence, rebuild Rome and bring it back to its former glory.

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate.  You really play as everyman Desmond Miles in the year 2012 reliving the genetic memories of Ezio, his ancestor.  The modern day assassins are using Desmond and Ezio’s memories to look for clues to stop Abstergo, a corporation bent on controlling the minds of the world’s population.  If it sounds a little farfetched, that’s because it is, but it makes good sense in the context of the game.  I won’t go any more into the story here because it is truly interesting and engaging and worth experiencing firsthand.

The missions in Brotherhood mostly work like this:  Ezio is given the name of a target and then has to go and kill that target (he is an assassin, after all).  There are really two ways to do this:  you can stealthily climb walls and jump across roofs and rafters to silently stalk your target, striking at just the right moment; or you can run in full steam and attack your target (and all his guards) in a full on melee brawl.  Some missions enforce one over the other, and each mission has a secondary objective such as ‘kill only the target’ or ‘avoid detection.’  These secondary objectives don’t serve anything other than an extra challenge, so most of the time you can proceed as you wish.  The combat system makes it easy for Ezio to dispatch swarms of guards quickly, and the platforming mechanics allow Ezio to sneak around quite fluidly.  Both are equally as fun.

Additionally, there are enough side quests to make Brotherhood a completionist’s nightmare.  Borgia’s towers must be toppled and his flags removed; shops reopened; landmarks renovated; thieves, courtesans and mercenaries assisted and additional assassinations executed just to name a few.  There is certainly enough content to keep you coming back.  There is no in game timer, but my playtime is probably well into the 30 hour mark and I’m only at about 70% completion.

The most significant new addition to Brotherhood is the ability to recruit the citizens of Rome into the Assassins.  These new recruits can be sent on missions across Europe to gain experience, and that experience can be used to upgrade each new assassin’s weapons and armor.  More significantly, and this is probably the best thing in the game, these recruits can be called upon at will to take out targets.  Simply lock on to a victim, and with the press of a button your team comes flying off roofs, leaping out of hay piles and bounding over walls to mercilessly slaughter every hapless, unsuspecting enemy in the vicinity, and then slink away into the shadows before anyone notices anything.  It is both hilarious and pride invoking to watch your protégés utilize their skills so effortlessly.  Don’t get too cocky, though, as inexperienced assassins can be killed in combat.

Brotherhood is not without flaws, however.  The game’s platforming mechanics, though fluid and mostly effortless, are such that more than once did I accidently send Ezio flying off a cliff rather than onto the next ledge, where I though I had told him to go.  These moments, though frustrating, do not break the game and only encourage you to be more careful during sequences of intricate parkour.  Similarly, a few times during heated combat, Ezio somehow locked on to an innocent bystander, giving them his trademarked double eye-gouging with is patented hidden blades rather than the guard right next to him.  These are more frustrating as killing civilians can cause missions to restart immediately, and those people shouldn’t have been standing there in the first place.  If you are new to the Assassin’s Creed series, Brotherhood is not a great place to jump in.  The story is way too deep to make any sense to a newcomer and hardly any time is spent developing the characters as they were already flushed out in ACII.

There is something intrinsically satisfying about Brotherhood.  It is a perfect blend of action, stealth, puzzle and RPG.  Completing missions and quests gives a real sense of accomplishment.  The city of Rome is fully realized as dozens, if not hundreds, of NPCs move about their daily lives, occasionally pausing to comment on Ezio’s bizarre wall climbing habits.  The story is extremely well written and acted, and the story-outside-the-story of Desmond is wholly interesting and keeps me wondering what’s really going on.  I hope future installments live up to the standards that AC I and II have set.  Brotherhood certainly did.

Overall Score: 9/10

New Music: Swave Sevah Ong Bak Mixtape

New Swave Sevah Mixtape. Free download here.

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All.I.Can. Official Teaser

All.I.Can. Official Teaser from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.

Find out more @ sherpascinema.com

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THE HUNDREDS FOOTWARE BY JUN CHA

VIA thehundreds.com

THE MINION

Features:

  • Custom Built – USA
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Dr.Dre-KUSH featuring Snoop Dogg, Akon and Sly

Find out more @ detox-drdre.com

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OPENING CEREMONY CURVED COLLAR BLAZER

VIA sotostore.com

Xi3 Computers@CES NY Press Preview

Quote From xi3.org “The 5 Series Modular Computer is the best fit for most applications. It has the processing power of most full-size desktop PCs and Workstations but uses up to 95% less power to operate, has no moving parts, and can easily be adapted or modified for any application or industry. No moving parts and less than 30 Watts of heat means your purchase lasts longer and has far less likelihood of failure as compared to a conventional PC.”

http://xi3.org/images/hand_Xi3.jpg

Features:

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 up to 35 Watts – AMD 780e and SB710
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  • Supports 128MB of side port memory, Blue-Ray hardware decode
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Find out more @ http://xi3.org/

Doctor Who Christmas Special Teaser

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THE SAKE BOMB

Quote From sakebombstore “This whimsical pouring vessel is a comical take on the western slang “Sake Bomb”.  The inspiration is a juxtaposition of the Fugu Fish (Blowfish), the most opulent of sashimi cuts and a WW II sea mine. The small drinking cups perch neatly on the spines making it a compact entertaining tool.”

(Photo: Boru O’Brien O’Connell) New York magazine best bets

Sake Bomb and 4 cups $98

Find out more @ http://www.sakebombstore.com/

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