Gears of War 3 Too Noob Friendly?

Gears of War 3 Too Noob Friendly
Gears of War 3 Sawed Off Shotgun

The thing that many veterans hate and cringe at is the possibility that the sequel a competitive online multiplayer game caters less to the hardcore gamer and more to the casual/novice players . One game in particular that I fear for is Gears of War 3, which has the new sawed-off shotgun in it’s repertoire of guns.

The Gears of War series is known for it’s complex cover system and amazing shotgun battles. Only those with a mastery over wall bouncing, timing, and aiming will be able to survive a shotgun battle; especially one with numerous enemies. The great thing about the first two Gears games is that there is only one type of shotgun. You are always on equal terms with your opponent, disregarding the occasional active reload.

What is now ruining the status quo was the addition of the sawed-off shotgun. This weapon has a good 90 degree range and can instantly kill a person who is at least 4 steps ahead of them. Although Epic Games will most likely give you a smaller range of attack, this is what it felt like while playing the game. It is one thing to deliver an over powered gun, but it is another thing to give that gun the wide range that it has. Why?

At one point during the Gears of War 3 beta that I participated in, I was the last person. I wanted to test out how “skillful” the sawed-off shotgun can be if used well. So I hid behind a wall while 3 enemies walked towards me, each standing right next to each other. When they were within about 5 steps of me, I peaked out from behind the corner and killed every single one of them with one press of the button. One shot. So I know for a fact that the gun can kill three people standing side by side. A gun so overpowered is fairly annoying.

Gears of War 3 Sawed-Off Shotgun
Gears of War 3 Shotgun

Now, the reason I am particularly aggravated is because you literally have no choice but to run away from it. If you try to wall bounce and try to fight them with a gnasher (the name for the shotgun of Gears of War 2), they simply need to clip you with their shot to down you. It feels that bad. When you are dealing with a gun that strong and with a range that wide, you literally have to throw the wall bouncing experience out of the window.

What I particularly am not looking forward to is a fun clan that uses nothing but sawed-off shotguns. It is one thing when a bad player uses the gun. But it is another thing when clans, who will be doing nothing but getting active reloads and wielding the sawed-off shotgun, will do nothing but abuse that gun in a shotgun battle. This takes out one of the most enjoyable experiences to be had in Gears of War.

Now, on a brighter note, the dedicated servers are amazing. Although they were frequently down during the Gears of War 3 beta, they were great while they were up. There is no complaining of the opponent being host and no feeling that you got robbed of a kill due to a laggy connection. You can competitively hammerburst in a match without having to rely on active reloads or a host connection.

Have any of you participated in the Gears of War 3 beta? I would like to know if I am the only one who is sorely disappointed at how overpowered and wide-ranged the sawed-off shotgun is.

Fight Night Champions Xbox 360 Review

Fight Night Champions
Fight Night Champions

Fight Night Champions is the latest entry into the famous boxing franchise and with it’s release, it is bringing new technology, a perfected full-punch control scheme, and a campaign worthy of playing.

First off, it is worth venting this little fact. If you own an Xbox 360 Slim with the 4GB flash memory, you will not be able to enjoy any replays or knock out footage. This is the sad fact that seems to be recurring in many games, including Halo: Reach. If you are one of the players, like me, who cherish the ability to watch some of your best knock outs, then you will go out and purchase a proper hard drive. Sadly enough, I bought the game without knowing this little fact, so I got my hopes up for nothing.

With that note aside, Fight Night Champions starts you off by thrusting you into the campaign experience. You are in a prison boxing match and you have just been knocked out. Here is where you get your first taste of dirty fighting. If you are bold enough, you may even start fighting dirty right back, which is pretty effective mind you.

That little introduction to the story aside, this is your first real taste of the boxing mechanics, the graphics, and the animation. The blood stained clothing you may experience, the fluid motion, and the crisp graphics is nothing compared to what you will experience later on in the game.

Fight Night Champions has an amazing graphics system. Your muscles contract and flex as you punch and block incoming attacks. You will find you body flexed as you weave past an opponents incoming straight, and then your arms will flex as you close in on the counter punch. Their face will show legit fear and anxiety as they are about to be struck and they can do nothing about it. These game-play elements and graphical nuances are what makes Fight Night Champions the best boxing game ever. It simply cannot be topped.

The fighting system is very simple. You can either use button combinations to attack and chain together attacks or you can make use of the right analog stick. I personally go with the right analog stick. This full punch spectrum is very fluid and allows you to chain together attacks quickly, fluidly and almost effortlessly. After getting used to that punching scheme, you will find yourself throwing one-two punch combinations almost intuitively.

The dodging system is where this game shines. The key factor that separates a

Fight Night Champions
Fight Night Champions

novice from a champion is their ability to land counter punches. Upon examining that factor, you find that you will need both speed and reflexes. The reflexes to dodge the incoming attack properly (swaying to dodge straights and jabs, sliding back or leaning back to dodge hooks and uppercuts), and the speed to throw a hard counter attack. If you can master this, you will find your opponents faced to be brutally mangled and lacerated by the end of the first round, if they last that long.

Those gaming tid-bits aside, the online matchmaking is a beast on its own. When you sign onto the Fight Night Champions game, you are notified when a title holder is online or when the K.O. champion for a weight division is online. This gives players something to strive for. Should you become that great at the game, you will be able to grab the title in the online modes, and you will be challenged on the daily basis by players vying for your title.

Fight Night Champions is quite simply one of the, if not the, best boxing games ever created. If you are looking for a great boxing simulation, or just a different fighting game, to enjoy, Fight Night Champions is definitely worth your time.

Bulletstorm Xbox Live Demo Impressions

Bulletstorm Demo Impressions
Bulletstorm Gameplay

Bulletstorm is Epic Games’ latest creation which will be released in a little less than a month. In honor of the title, a demo was released onto the Xbox Live marketplace, left for the gamers to critique and devour. Unsurprisingly,  Bulletstorm is an amazingly capable first person shooter that manages to keep the overall style of Gears of War.

This game starts off in a beautiful, war torn, environment that flaunts the power of the Unreal Engine. The crisp high resolution textures and successful art direction should do enough to make your draw drop a mere minute into the game. After finishing the admiration, you are thrown into action with your two teammates following closely.

The action resembles that of Gears of War 2 on hardcore difficulty, with the exception of the boosted artificial intelligence. The enemies take quite a lot of bullets before actually kicking the bucket, which is sure to turn off a lot of the Call of Duty crowd. I personally believe the reason for this is because Epic Games does not really want you to spend that much time running and gunning, they prefer you to find creative ways to defeat your enemies.

Early on into the demo, you are faced with such an opportunity. There is a metal plating on the ceiling that is holding up a mass of debris. The game requests that you press the LB button, after which your grabbing mechanism is put in use and the enemies are buried alive. Not only do you get more points for defeating them creatively, but it is probably more rewarding to the player to do so.

While the game is excellently crafted, I feel that it is one of those experiences that will get old very quickly. The first time I kicked an enemy into the jagged environment and watched him hang there, it was fairly pleasing. Doing it for a second time though, I lacked a reaction. This is a game that provides entertainment solely through it’s interesting gameplay mechanics coupled with great level design. For that reason, this demo will most likely be good for a single play before you are left bored or wanting more.

The demo is fairly short, seemingly to offer a mere glimpse into the direction that Bulletstorm is headed. It is, however, sufficient enough to know what ot expect should you purchase the full game.

Bulletstorm is slated for release on February 22nd, 2011. It will ship with a beta access code to Gears of War 3, which is all the more reason to get it, even if you are not interested in the game itself.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Exclusive Multiplayer Map Pack

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops

Activision is getting ready to release the First Strike pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops in just about two weeks. To build the hype and satisfy the thirst of some, Activision went ahead and created a video preview of everything you should expect of this upcoming $15 download-able content.

 

Dan Bunting, Treyarch Online Director, promises more sniping opportunitis and more “verticality” in these new multiplayer maps, titled Kowloon, Discovery, Berlin Wall, and Stadium. Some new features coming alone with these maps are the ability to use a zipline and destroy bridges, among other things.

Lucky for Xbox 360 gamers, Activision and Microsoft announced a new agreement at this past E3 that will make Call of Duty DLC timed Xbox exclusive until 2012. The PlayStation 3 and PC fan-base will have to wait a couple of months after the release. This is a no-doubt win for Microsoft, and will likely result in another cash cow and possible record breaker.

You can watch the Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer map pack video preview over at Joystiq.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops

A lot of Modern Warfare 2 owners are wondering whether or not they should make the transfer to Call of Duty: Black Ops. There is a bad taste left in the mouths of many gamers from Treyarch’s last title, Call of Duty: World at War. So how does COD: BO compare to MW2?

First, take a look at what Modern Warfare 2 has to offer. They took out the gold styling of weapons altogether in favor for the “Fall” camo. This made many gamers upset because a Gold tint is a way to both show off and show off how much work you put into your weapon. Besides that, MW2 still has a lot to offer. They added the riot shield, which adds a whole new element of strategy into the mix. Many times, you may run into a player who will throw a smoke grenade down, run into it, plant a claymore and crouch there, guarding. It is a perfect way to bait unsuspecting gamers and it diversifies the gaming experience altogether.

Infinity Ward added many new killstreaks to work for in the game, which ultimately lead to extreme camping. The most controversial kill streak is definitely the nuke, which requires 25 kills for this game ending explosion. You will most likely find a person in a corner with scavenger and heartbeat sensor, calmly and patiently waiting for a victim to walk by.  In all, Infinity Ward managed to upgrade the experience from Call of Duty 4 and offer great gameplay. Every aspect of the game was upgraded and one of the only complaints was the rampant camping going on throughout the game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is Treyarch’s chance at redeeming themselves. Call of Duty: World at War was nothing short of disappointing in its delivery. It was a basic copy and paste of Infinity Ward’s last game, and that is what they praised it as. However, this game is said to actually be better than MW2 in many ways.

Black Ops offers the gamer a wealth of options when it comes to customization. Instead of running into players that look exactly like you, you are able to customize your appearance to make yourself pop out. You can change the model of your character, the color of the camo your character wears, the camo of your gun, the red dot sight of your gun, place an emblem on your gun and more. This is all made possible through the game’s currency system.

The currency system can be a bit disappointing at times. In example, you have to unlock pro-perks by completing a series of pre-requisite challenges. Even after unlocking the pro-perk, you will still have to dish out a pretty penny before you can actually use it. You basically have to pay for virtually anything you want in game, which can be a bit annoying. This was meant to give players even more options when leveling and improving their character, although it can become troublesome to people who feel paying for something they earned is unfair.

Although it is still the first week of Black Ops’ launch, camping is at bare minimum. The perks offered to you in the game, especially the pro-perks, allow for very smooth gameplay and little camping to encounter. You will still encounter camping, but there are numerous ways around it that you can avoid. If anything, you will definitely see less of a camping problem than is in Modern Warfare 2, which is a definite plus.

Between Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, I would have to recommend Black Ops. Keep in mind, this was only a brief look into the multiplayer aspect of the game. The single player is so crappy in writing, it is almost embarrassing. I would definitely recommend avoiding the single player if you are actually looking for a good story. It was clever at some parts, but most of the time I caught myself face-palming at the stupidity at some times. The lack of suspense can also be disappointing.