Cold Winter Review

Cold Winter is without a doubt the greatest game ever made. In Cold Winter, players get to be special agent Sterling, a mega bad dude who doesn’t play around. You can fight terrorists and save the world Sterling style.
But the best part of this game is the multiplayer mode. I beat the campaign mode years ago, but I still play this game on a regular basis because I love to shoot my friends. No matter how many times I shoot my brother in the head, its still just as satisfying to watch his severed head roll across the floor. The FPS is amazing. The fighting is scary. Work with your environment to create custom weapons like molotov cocktails and fire bombs. Personally, I’m kinda partial to the molotov cocktail. The fire burns your victim until it bleeds your opponent’s health dry. It’s very useful for annoying campers who just sit around in some corner waiting for you to come around the bend. EAT FIRE CAMPER!!!

You can also connect online with players around the world. It’s equally satisfying to shoot someone in the head in Singapore as it is to shoot your brother in the head and watch his severed head roll across the floor. Campaign mode is amazing. You go from China to the Middle East to the baddies’ secret lair. Apparently this really bad dude wants to put the world into a nuclear winter. Why? Who knows. The real question is this: What are you going to do to stop it?

The AI is retarded (you can pretty much kill any of the bots like flies) so you should get a partner when playing this game.

Needless to say, this game is exceedingly violent. It’s rated M, so if you are not 17 you should not play this game. But for everybody else, I highly recommend this amazing game. As soon as you buy this game, get online so I can destroy you. Happy nuclear winter-ing/ noob killing!

BioShock 2 – Video Game Review

Despite being too easy and borrowing heavily from System Shock 2, Bioshock was easily one of the best games in the past decade. It was eerily atmospheric, thoroughly engaging and had just that right amount of polish that a top-notch title should have.
Since then, Bioshock has enjoyed massive success even branching out to Big Daddy figurines and even a Hollywood adaptation. But is the sequel anywhere near as good? Will we be buying Bioshock 2 collector’s editions by the bulk and watching the Bioshock trilogy in full HD this decade?

No. It’s still a good game, even if the shine has dulled a little. Rapture is still an entertaining, enthralling world to surround yourself in. The set pieces are still tactfully done, and there’s a fantastic balance between those and non-scripted action.

But the real problem stems from the utilitarianism theme and steam-punk setting that made Bioshock so different from everything else in 2007. It’s now 2010, and Rapture hasn’t radically changed from three years ago.

There are differences, of course. You now play as one of the re-engineered sterilized man that inhabit the Big Daddy suits, rather than fighting them off occasionally to gain access to the Little Sisters that were such a bountiful source of ADAM in the original.

Of course, you’re still given the option to harvest or save the Little Sisters for ADAM (since you’re a prototype Big Daddy, conveniently). If that doesn’t take your fancy, you can always choose to adopt the Little Sisters instead. This means they’ll scour nearby locations for corpses rich in ADAM, although once they find one they’ll instantly be beset by Splicers and possibly Big Sisters (more on those later).

It’s another reminder of the fact that Bioshock borrowed its spirit heavily from the System Shock games, and defending the Little Sisters is like the Combine assaults from Half-Life 2. For a game with such an original setting and story it’s a little depressing to see such obvious inspiration. The encounters are challenging, but not wholly satisfying when you’ve seen it all before.

The graphics aren’t as satisfying either, considering they haven’t changed much. There are a few tweaks and improvements, but the game still uses the Unreal 2.5 Engine as the original. Bioshock 2 doesn’t look like an aged game, but it’s definitely not in the same league as Crysis or Farcry 2 and even Modern Warfare 2 gives it a little run for its money.

Thankfully, I’m yet to encounter a game that has matched the level of the audio in Bioshock until now. The game is pitched over a wonderful orchestral score, giving the right amount of foreshadowing for the scene. It’s the perfect tone for the setting and it’s duly enhanced by the post-war radio titles that are sprinkled around Rapture. On their own they’re entertaining to listen to, but they also provide juxtaposition to the collapse of Rapture given the era the songs were produced.

The story and the environment aren’t as fresh as the original, but it’s enough to keep you going thanks to the startling difference Rapture provides to every other shooter out there. Inversely, the multiplayer is a resounding disappointment. It might be a joy to look at, thanks to the wonderful Bioshock styling that we’ve come to know and love, but it’s not well designed.

Unlike the campaign, there’s nothing original about the multiplayer. All the modes are the same as every other game you’ve ever played. Your customizable Loadouts are taken straight from Modern Warfare 2. The maps are full of potentially usable items and scenery, which you’ll waste time mid-game exploring and is a classic sign of inexperience from a developer that doesn’t have a great history in multiplayer titles.

But the absolute worst part of the multiplayer side is that the rooms all start to look the same once you get used to the maps. Bioshock’s charm lies in the surprise of the scenery and its vast difference from anything you’ve ever seen. Getting used to that dulls the experience and ruins the game slightly for me, and it confirms that you’ll be replaying the campaign more than you’ll be playing the Little Sister variant of Capture the Flag.

All in all, BioShock 2 is a well designed game which can be really fun if you don´t expect it to be better than the original. But build your own opinion – enjoy BioShock 2!

Are You Addicted to Video Games?

Many gamers will become frustrated when someone tells them they spend too much time playing video games. Lots of people play video games, right? But, when does it become too much? How many hours a week is considered too many? There is no set number of hours where if you go over this number, you’re considered an addict. However, if most or all of the following statements apply to you, then you probably have an addiction to video games.
• People tell you that you play too much – Your friends and family will see a problem before you do. It’s more than likely you have a problem if someone else thinks you do.

• You think about gaming when you’re not playing – You can’t wait to get out of work or school to play your game. When you’re not playing, you strategize in your head. You think about the game when you’re trying to sleep at night.

• You lose sleep to play – If you’re staying up past your bedtime or not getting enough sleep so you can stay up and play more games, that’s a problem. Sleep deprivation, especially to play a video game, is just not healthy.

• You get angry when you can’t play – If you find yourself becoming frustrated because something else in your life s preventing you from playing, you have a problem.

• Your relationships are suffering – If your spouse, significant other, children or other family members feel distant from you because of your video game playing, it’s a huge problem. The important people in your life should come first.

• You suffer from back or neck problems – If your back or neck hurts from sitting at the computer or in front of the TV screen frequently, you are there too much.

• You don’t go out as much – If you would rather spend your free time playing video games than spending it out with friends or family, you have a problem.

• You won’t limit your time playing – If asked to cut down your time playing, would you? If no, you have a problem.

• You are neglecting responsibilities – If you aren’t doing chores, your job is suffering or you’re neglecting to take care of other responsibilities in your life you could be taking care of in order to game, you have a problem.

• You came up with an excuse for every one of these symptoms – If you read each one of these bullet points and came up with a reason why it doesn’t apply to you even though it describes you, then you have a problem.

Rock Band: A Family Activity Video Game

When my kids decided to spend their accumulated Christmas money on the video game Rock Band, I have to admit, I rolled my eyes.
The game was expensive – $160! – and I could envision it going into the dust heap of things they thought they really, really wanted but then got bored with five minutes later.

So we bought it and brought it home. And not long after, I was hooked. So were they.

Rock Band for XBox 360 is kind of along the same lines as the immensely popular Guitar Hero. Developed by Harmonix Inc. and released for the 2007 holiday season, Rock Band expands on the music simulation concept tremendously.

In Guitar Hero, you can only play the guitar. In Rock Band, you can choose between a variety of instruments – guitar, bass, drums and vocals.

Needless to say, the thing comes in a big box. This is mostly because of the drum set. There is also the game, a guitar controller, and a microphone, plus various and sundry connections and cables.

Notes (or drum beats) appear on the screen; they are color-coded. You must play the right note at the right time. You don’t have to know how to read music, you just have to follow what’s on the screen. The better you do, the higher your score.

My sons immediately pronounced it “most awesome game ever made,” and latched onto the guitar and the drums. Myself, I wanted the microphone. I’ve long been a frustrated rock ‘n’ roll star trapped in the body of a mom.

Doing the vocals is kind of like doing karaoke. But unlike karaoke, you must hit the notes pretty closely or risk failing. The game wants the right pitch and duration. A little moving arrow shows you how close (or far) you are away from the note, and you can adjust accordingly.

It turned out to be big fun. When we all play together, it really feels like being in a band. It’s hard to do just one song – you want to keep going. Songs from all eras are included, from early Rolling Stones (“Gimme Shelter”) to present-day bands like The Killers (“When You Were Young”).

You can also tie into XBox Live, the online service, for a monthly fee and play with other rockers around the world. Haven’t done that yet, but it’s on my list.
My sons were amazed that good music existed back in previous eras, and even more amazed that I knew all the words to so many songs. It also gave me the chance to get more acquainted with current songs, plus some from the ’90s that had somehow totally got by me. Another plus: When you get tired of the songs that come with the game, you can download more (for a fee) via XBox Live.

I have learned a lot from this game – first of all, that for music-oriented families like ours, it’s a great way for us to have fun together and connect in a unique way. For instance, I discovered, to my surprise, that my younger son has a heavy metal soul, preferring Iron Maiden and Metallica to just about anything else. He and I tend to fight a little over song selection – heavy metal songs are not exactly the most melodious things to sing, although the guitar parts are quite awesome.

We fight a little, but just for fun.

You really do have to work together to be a band in Rock Band. One band member can “rescue” another who’s not doing well in the game, by playing particularly well.

I’ve never done well at a video game before, with the possible exception of Pong. Singing in Rock Band not only gave me the glow of pretending I was a rock star, but I could actually excel as a gamer, for the first time in my life.

I’m racking up those five-star ratings. Left and right.