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First Impressions

BioShock First Impressions: Ayn Rand Under the Sea

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Not one of the reviews I read for Bioshock said anything at all about how the undersea world of Rapture is straight out of an unwritten Ayn Rand novel. Does this mean that gamers don’t read American lit?

What the Great Lighthouse may have looked like before earthquakes destroyed it...

What the Great Lighthouse may have looked like before earthquakes destroyed it...

It’s not like it’s a stretch to see the Rand influence. You notice the literary reference almost immediately, if you know your Rand. Unfortunately, I know Ms. Rand’s rants. As soon as I swam my way to a Great Lighthouse at Alexandria look-a-like after my Pan Am hit crashed into the sea, I came face to face with a large red banner that proclaims “Not Gods or Kings. Only Men.” and a plaque from someone named Ryan going on about how he could not live in a state that won’t allow him to be himself…an unapologetic capitalist.

Ryan…R-Y-A-N = Ayn R. Yeah, subtle.

First things first, BIOSHOCK is amazing to look at. The opening sequence is awe-inspiring. I kept telling my boyfriend to “look-it, look-it” as the bathysphere gave me an unguided tour of Rapture, a city-behind-the-waves (and international law). The city itself is an Art Deco dream. I happen to be a fan of Deco, so BioShock is a total treat for my aesthetic sensitivities. Even as you peer out of the glass windows, the graphics go all watery and change as you move your perspective. The designers and programmers spared no effort to make this game a detail-oriented gamers delight.

And then, as you, er, I mean, Jack enters the city proper, he is lead on missions by a underground resistance leader named Atlas.

atlasshruggedAtlas…Like Atlas Shrugged? To be honest, I couldn’t finish Atlas Shrugged. I read The Fountainhead, and got through the Ellsworth Toohey 30-page speech about altruism, and when I ran across the same diatribe in Atlas Shrugged, courtesy of John Galt; well, I just closed up the book and gave it away. Rand is not hard to read as in she discusses difficult issues and uses hard words; no, Rand is difficult to read because there is a lot of repetition and it gets really, really boring.

Besides, she is such a response to perceived socialist agendas during the 40’s, that it comes across as somewhat silly…until you place BioShock’s politics into the present fears of an American return to a quasi-socialistic Big Government. But that is probably more of a coincidence than the creators’ statement on capitalism and how money makes morals.

But I digress…

And now that I am in the third “level” of BioShock, I can say that the game takes its cues from Rand in more ways than one. BioShock can get a little repetitious, too. I can honestly say that I am sick of hacking security “bots”, vending machines, and safes. At first, it was kind of fun, but now I try to get as many auto-hack tools as I can find or build with rubber hoses and random screws.

bioshock_3All in all, I love the plot. I like killing the “splicers” (though I do wish for a little more diversity in these crazed foes) and random other bots and Big Daddy’s. I even like rescuing the little sisters — I haven’t “harvested” one yet. It’s just hard for me to kill a child, even if she carries a giant syringe that she likes to plunge into her victims’ heads.

I am actually playing BioShock on both easy and medium (whatever they call it in the game). So far, easy just means less bad guys and more first aid kits to find. But as your character never really dies in BioShock (you are immediately revived at a near-by “vita-chamber” and everything remains as it was when you “died” including a lack of first aid kits and angry enemies), I think the medium is a better choice for anyone other than a newbie to FPS games.

Much like Dead Space, you are given objectives and maps as to what you are supposed to be doing in Rapture. You also have an option of a “hint” to help you along the way, as an example telling you where certain slicers are located when you have to get some research photos (which reminds me of Dead Rising). I can say that the game is self-contained enough that I have not even bothered to look up a walkthrough or cheats for BioShock. Not that it is that easy (it kinda is, though), but rather that the game makes sense as to how to play it. Unlike say, Tomb Raider: Legend

And yes, I know that BioShock is a bit old now in terms of release date, but I had to get to it before BioShock 2 comes out later this year.

I love this trailer, because it tells me all evil comes from little girls! He he he.

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One of 1.8 Million and I Feel So Special: RE5 Demo Downloaded

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

resident-evilResident Evil 5’s demo came out exclusively on Xbox Live last week. I got my download on Friday, and didn’t get to playing it until Saturday. Well, I wasn’t the only one. Numbers came out and it seems that almost 2 million Xbox Live users downloaded the ultra-violent, yet ever-so-much fun demo for the long awaited RE5.

I have not played a Resident Evil on the Xbox yet, so it was a treat to test it out on a 360. The demo gives you little or no info — or maybe it did and I was too busy killing zombies to notice — as to who you are or what you are doing there, but you can figure it out if you know anything about the Resident Evil franchise.

re5-screenshot-1Hey, what do you know, seems I’m playing a character that you may already know and love, Chris Redfield. I have a new partner, and she is a hottie-ass-kicking zombie slayer named Sheva Alomar. I read somewhere that when the creators first started showing betas of this game, it came to someone’s attention that Chris was killing a bunch of black people in Africa and maybe that wasn’t so cool in this current political climate (or any for that matter). So the solution was adding a black-ish female partner. And who says video games don’t strive for equality? I wonder if Sheva is earning the same as Chris.

I have only played the single player portion of the demo, as my boyfriend doesn’t like playing shooter games (something about running around and looking for hidden stuff annoys him, no matter how many zombies are involved — I think it’s because he just can’t get the hang of it and he has a short attention span for any games other than sports). There is a co-op option, which I am going to play as soon as I make a friend to play against.

resident-evil-5-executionerThere are two scenarios: Public Assembly and Shanty Town. In Public Assembly, you and Sheva are outside one of those African towns that looks like it could have been a stand-in during Black Hawk Down. Once you get in a seemingly safe building, you witness a public beheading of someone who doesn’t quite get the respect he needs in this town in which everyone is going cra-zay. This huge hooded executioner swings this huge, serrated axe, and then of course, someone spots you. Now, you have all these zombies coming at you.

resident-evil-5-revolutionary-bossI went to the Public Assembly first, and I didn’t last that long. I couldn’t get used to the switch up from A’s to X’s for picking up ammo. Also, you cannot pull your left trigger to aim without standing still or moving really, really slowly, so it’s hard to run and shoot, but then you only have so much ammo, so it wouldn’t do you much good to run around shooting up the place. It’s pretty hard, which of course, makes me love it even more (wink).

Shanty Town is more running around and killing these poor souls that have undergone the “change.” But I lasted longer, although I do think that the demo is totally designed to kick your ass rather quickly, so you don’t start grumbling about it being a short demo more than you suck. But hey, it’s just a taste, and you are definitely going to want more.

It looks amazing, just like RE4. It’s totally fun and addictive and I cannot wait for March 13th.

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My New Xbox Experience: Day One

Friday, January 30th, 2009

So, I finally plugged in my internet connection to my Xbox. Not that I never have before, it’s just that my router is in the office and the HDTV is in the living room, and I don’t want a damn cord running through the entire house, and I haven’t got off my lazy butt to get a wireless adapter for my Xbox 360 because truthfully, I don’t go online that often with my Xbox.

Not often at all…

Which means that tonight was finally the night when I upgraded my dashboard on the ol’ 360 (among other things). I am sure that I haven’t spent enough time on it to see how awesomely awesome it is, but what is the big deal?

I think the whole Netflix thing is nice, and I imagine I will love it. As I mentioned before, I am not on Xbox Live all that much to make that a big draw for me, but then again, maybe it will be a good reason to log in more often. It does get tiring to have to hook up my laptop to the tv to watch something instantly on Netflix, but still, It’s not like it’s that hard. I’ll live.

myavatarOther than that, I am not big into keeping a bunch of pictures and music on yet another hard drive, so that option does nothing for me.

I do have a kickass avatar, but I don’t know when she’ll ever come into use. Don’t you just dig her warrior scar and black (I hope they are rubber) gloves? Unless I am missing something, I don’t think the avatars get to play in, say, Tomb Raider, so yeah, what’s the point. I like my little panda icon. Isn’t that enough?

I know I must sound like a troglodyte to some of you, but seriously, I like to play video games. I don’t care if someone else plays with me or not. So other than downloading stuff, I have little need for Xbox Live. And that’s too bad, because my dress is so cute.

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Dead Space First Day Impressions

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

pippa-blood-drinking-thumbEven though I had to wait a whole extra day to get Dead Space from Gamefly — thank you very much, Dr. King — I think the wait was worth it. Oh, wait, no, the wait is never worth it, but I am dealing with it the best way I can.

Dead Space came out a few months ago, so it’s not like I was waiting for it on the first day of its release, so a extra day in honor of a great man and civil rights leader is just fine. Although, my boyfriend did try and tell me that Inauguration Day was also a feederal holiday and there would be no mail today either, but he said the look of abject horror on my face was enough to tell me the truth — eventually.

dead-space-isaacSo, first impressions…it’s a pretty intense game. I am playing it on easy, and I’m glad I did. I reminds me a little of Dead Rising in that once a zombie-like necromorph you struggle and have to press a button repeatedly to try and knock the damn thing off.

You play a guy named Isaac. You are a mechanic-kinda guy on the way to one of the largest mining ships in the, I don’t know, feederation or something. The mining ship, the Ishimura, has lost all communications — a communications blackout, if you will, and you are there to figure out what’s wrong and to fix it.

The problem is akin to Aliens. You have some expensive equipment rotting away in space, a -->lot of people are part of the mystery -->, and you show up ill-equipped to deal with the problem. And that is what makes a great video game.

Also like Dead Rising, you get objectives to achieve and a little map helps you get there. There are your teammates to tell you what to do as well. I am happy to have some direction…

The visuals are pretty amazing. The derelict hull is blood-spattered and graffiti-ed out. Abandoned luggage is everywhere, so you know those on the Ishimura were in a hurry to get the hell away from something. Maybe this guy…

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Atari’s Race Pro Release Official (Again) for February 09

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Speaking of prettier, some screen shots of the upcoming Atari-made Race Pro made in online this last week, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share them or comment.

Personally, I am not a big racing fan in terms of games, but this particular game may make me change my mind. When I first glanced at the screen shots, I almost took them for real images. Prettier, indeed.

Out of the twenty or so images I saw, only “cockpit” shots looked like a video game.

But then you get a shot like this next one, with cars all around you as the driver, and then check out the detail in the driver’s side mirror, and yeah, that’s pretty neat.

Originally slated for a November 2008 release, Race Pro — which is exclusive to the Xbox 360, people — has now been officially slated for a February 17, 2009 release. Europe will be getting Race pro a few days ahead of the US on February 13th.

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Ninja Gaiden II: More Ninpo, Please

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Over at my friend, Marcus’ house, on a break from playing Madden 09, Ninja Gaiden II was loaded into the ol’ Xbox 360. He played a bit, we all ooh’d and aah’d over the graphics and the fountains of blood, and then he turned to me, and offered the controller.

Like an idiot savant (the words are my friends, not mine), I quickly picked up my sword and started hacking away at anything that came at me. And many, many things come at you during the course of Ninja Gaiden II. I quickly and rather fantastically made it through the first chapter, easily defeating the bad ass monster at the end of the chapter. In that aspect, Ninja Gaiden II is that common format of killing lots of things, find you way through a maze-like setting, and then kill something big and bad before moving onto the next chapter. Yawn.

I have yet to play the original Ninja Gaiden. I will correct that situation, but not today. Instead, let’s talk about Ninja Gaiden II. Reading a quick little blurb about NGII in my latest Game Informer magazine (that I got with my membership at GameSpot that the Nerd behind the counter talked me into — I just wanted to get out of the damn store, so I agreed quickly to whatever he wanted), it said that Ninja Gaiden was notoriously difficult to play, but the NG II was developed to make it a bit easier. I cannot add my opinion on that yet. NG II is pretty easy.

Ninja Gaiden II has some sort of larger storyline involving a statue that looks more like a skull of something pre-historic, and there is a girl involved, but I am only in Chapter Three right now, and I am not paying attention to the cinematics and the story built therein.

The controls are quite simplistic, if you ask me and you always do. You can jump, throw a projectile, quick attack or power attack. There are other secret ninja moves that require a combination of buttons, like the mighty Ninpo you can inflict on your enemies with the Y and B combo. You can also block attacks with the left trigger. The right trigger aligns the camera behind your Ninja’s back.

You have lots of weapons to choose from, like the wolverine claws in the image above, even though I seem to always go back to my trusty sword.

All in all, I like playing the game, and I am going to try and finish playing it this coming weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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Friendly Reminder: WE WANT TO LEAVE, ALREADY!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007


Hi, boys and girls. It’s just me, your friendly neighborhood JW, here to remind you all that we’re currently looking for people to replace us here at Xbox 360 Rally. All you have to do is go HERE, fill out the form, and wait to hear back. It’s really not that hard.

So, get to it already — so Paco and I can get to the NEW site!

Halo 3 Videos - Multiplayer Forge in Action - New Weapons Shown

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Coming from Thrillhouse17, representing -->Platform Nation --> (formerly XBLRadio, now a full powerhouse of gaming communities coming together), is a video detailing what things you can do in Halo 3’s new multiplayer game type, “Forge” as well as whipping out the very bad ass flamethrower and actually using it.

First, the intro video for Forge, more of a tutorial, runs in at about 10 minutes, and I can’t lie, is a little boring at times, but this is for you hardcore Halo fans who just need to see the forge in action and how things are done, so when Tuesday comes, you can just jump right in knowing what you need to know, for those with a short attention span, scroll down to the second video:

This second video is where the Forge shines a little more, not because more is revealed than the first video, but because you can see the split screen, showing one character in regular mode and the other in the Forge edit mode as a camera… oh yeah.. and the bad ass flamethrower! Plus a few more things.. just roll the clip:

So there you go, satisfied?

Of course not, but it’ll have to do for now, unless you also want to see some in game menu’s.. and no doubt there will be more videos to come as we all prepare for what is to come in the couple of days, check back for more updates at -->Platform Nation
platform nation -->

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We want YOU! …to replace us!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007


Ok, people, here’s the deal — Paco and I are on our way out. We’re taking over at 1PStart.com in an effort to restore it to it’s former glory. …that, and I just plain want to write about another game every once in a while, is that so wrong?!

Anyways, here is what we’re looking for: A competent, capable writer with a love for all things Xbox. Now, by competent writer, we mean someone who spells “you” correctly, and knows when to capitalize. If you can do that, you’re a shoe-in. So, CLICK THIS DAMN LINK, do the required stuff, then get paid to play video games and write about stuff.

…hell, Mike and I did the hard stuff already, and YES, the GTA4 Banner contest will continue, and I will still give you a copy of GTA IV… or something. So, hop to it.

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Dark Sector ‘Erase’ Trailer - Game Features No HUD, Evolving Powers, more..

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Much like the other recent “meet one of our characters” videos that are coming out as of late (Jericho, Mass Effect), another video is here, but this time for a maybe not so known game, Dark Sector. Check the video, then read below to get some information on this game which by the looks of the video, seems to have a feel like “The Darkness” .. in a good way:

Look for it on shelves Jan 22nd 2008. Some of the devs are co-creators from the original Epic Games’ Unreal. The game features no HUD, very cool, you will see how much damage is being done to you based on just physically looking at your character. 3rd person perspective. Powers that evolve as you play through the game. Multiplayer they literally said, ‘Details to be revealed at a later date.” .. so at least it is going to be there. With so many titles on a daily basis I deal with news on, this is one that I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses.


Battlefield Bad Company Looking Hot while Call of Duty 4 is just rehashing Battlefield 2

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

New video here of Battlefield Bad Company running 8 minutes. I noticed right away on Call of Duty 4 beta that it was a near copy of Battlefield 2, but in a good way. Battles a little quicker, but still similar to Battlefield 2. Well now here comes this Bad Company video and it still has that Battlefield feel to it, but I really feel they are stepping it up. Check the video, it is turning out to be pretty nice:

Silent Hill 5 - 3 Videos Released

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I am excited about Silent Hill 5, however, these videos aren’t pumping me up. It’s looking good, just the scenes they chose to show were ‘meh. I am still expecting a great Silent Hill game.


Dead Island - Resident Evil Competition Is Here

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Covered earlier on the Rally, Dead Island has the storyline of a guy and his wife are on a plane that crashes on an island with zombies. Looking quite scary and not nearly as racist as Resident Evil (kidding btw, you are a tard if you thought RE’s trailer was racist). The overall feel of this game is going to of course remind you of Resident Evil, but also add a touch of Dead Rising with the amount of random killings that I believe will be taking place. Check a clip, then re-read the description that was posted earlier to get a full feel for this title:

Nyko - Wireless Guitar, Actual Good Alternative to Rock Band/Guitar Hero’s Guitars

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007


I got sent a fact sheet from Nyko, then corresponded back with them to make sure I had all the details right, and after further examination, I think it might be a good idea to pick up Nyko’s guitar and buy the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games separately. Here is a quick fact sheet on the new “Frontman Wireless Guitar”:

  • 80 hours of play from just three AA batteries
  • Play up to 25 ft. away
  • If doing , it works with the original Wired Guitar Hero guitar
  • Has the tilt sensor and whammy bar
  • Very responsive fret buttons
  • 3 changeable pick guards with some stickers included (but you know you are going to use your own)
  • D-Pad design is better and easier to use

dongleNow, some clarification on that little box that looks like an amp or an effects pedal, that is basically what makes the device wireless. Seeing as how Microsoft is sort of dicks on how they handle giving out their information on how to make controllers Wireless, that little box will plug into any USB port on the 360, then you need to plug in one of your regular controllers into the amp/pedal box. Presto! Now you have wireless technology without Microsoft’s help, kudos to Nyko for figuring this out. The guitar will then transmit the keys pressed to the box which then uses the code from the wired guitar in order to communicate those key presses to the 360 (so simple!).

pink, yayNow, the 3 pick guards (seen in the black, pink, and transparent) are there to help customize your guitar. Then they include the 3 stickers for customizing further. Keep an eye out on people who are going to use the transparent guard, as that is going to allow you to put your own graphics/photos underneath. I am expecting Forza 2 customizations type action will be shown once this is released.

There you have it, personally not a fan of all Nyko products controller wise, this one is actually looking to be not only well designed and durable, but possibly better than the official ones that Harmonix has put out themselves (ie more customizing + wireless). So far the release date is listed as October 1st and will retail at $79.99 so look for it.

Stranglehold Environment Interaction Vid

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Because it’s Saturday, there is very little in actual gaming news. With that said, if you’re here you’re obviously not playing the Stranglehold demo — so do it.


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