Final Boss Blog

Let’s Play Skylander’s Giants: Chapter 1

My Thoughts on the Giant Bomb Sale

                                              At first I was like…

                                   

                                             But then I was like…

                           

15 Minutes or Less: Asura’s Wrath

A night of originality with Highlines, Oh Juliet

At the Caterie on April 26, patrons will be entertained by two bands that have a style all their own and continually put out original and honest music. Both the Highlines and Oh Juliet have different ways of approaching music but end up with the same outcome. Both bands make you want to clap your hands along with the beat.

What drives the Highlines musically is the lack of something different around Baton Rouge and trying to appeal to every genre, while Oh Juliet guitarist Patrick Trumps says this about their drive.

"When I joined this band two years ago, they instilled upon my brain the words "outside the box," said Trumps. "When [Oh Juliet] first started out, they wrote songs that were WAY left field. After recording with Eric Bass twice, he kind of dragged us more to the center … but still appreciated our songwriting for what it is … so, when people ask what kind of music we play, I tend to always reply, "it’s a little left of center."

Baton Rouge is becoming a major destination for bands on tour who want to experience an energized crowd on a nightly basis. Highlines have lived in both Baton Rouge and Los Angeles while traveling all over the country.

"Baton Rouge, unlike Los Angeles, doesn’t have an over saturation of bands. This town has potential of becoming a great music scene with a couple of good venues and a great young energetic crowd," said Highlines lead vocalist/bassist Johnny Clancy.

Coming from Lafayette, Oh Juliet has recently caught the attention of the Baton Rouge crowd and Trumps talks directly about his experience and why he enjoys playing in this town.

"Baton Rouge is unlike any other crowd we’ve played in front of, for the most part. Some cities, all it takes is one performance and you’ve won the crowd over," said Trumps. "With Baton Rouge, it took quite a few shows before people started getting it. We’ve played countless shows with our best buds in Meriwether. I think their fan base is one of the most dedicated that I’ve ever seen. I’m just glad that they accept our music as worth a clap or a cheer."

You always hear about crazy stories from the road when the band finally gets home. Danny Prince (drums) from Highlines had his front tooth chip off and fall out. He super-glued it back on. As of right now, the piece of tooth is currently missing in action. Another fun fact about Highlines is that they don?t tour the country in a van like most bands. This three-piece band travels from gig to gig in a Dodge Dakota. They have driven from Louisiana to Los Angeles and back in this truck.

This is the third time Oh Juliet and the Highlines have played together and something that I personally enjoy hearing about is bands talking about other bands they play with. So, I asked both Highlines and Oh Juliet what they thought about each other and got some really exciting answers.

Highlines described Oh Juliet as a modern, inventive band with great songs and energy. A member from Oh Juliet had this to say about Highlines: “Every time we play with Highlines, they blow me away. They raise the bar in their songwriting and performing every time. They’re an exciting band to watch.”

You can check out both of these bands on their MySpace pages and on April 26, Adam Dale will have a solo acoustic set before both of these bands get on stage, so get there early.

Originally published in Tiger Weekly Issue 605 - April 23, 2008

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Preview

Monday, September 8, 2008 – by Joshua O’Neal

War does not determine who is right - only who is left. ~Bertrand Russell

We are only days away from the release of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and GamePlasma has all the info you need to get ready for launch day. On September 18th, the fans of the Warhammer universe will dive head first into this new MMO with immense expectations but will gamers be satisfied?

Warhammer, like most mmo’s let you choose your race and class before dropping you into the world. As with every mmo I play, I’m always leaning towards a human healer of some sort. In Warhammer, I chose an Empire Warrior Priest and it had some pretty nifty healing mechanics. With his mighty hammer, a Warrior Priest pounds his enemies into the ground while building up his Righteous Fury, which when built up can allow the priest to release big time healing to party members or more powerful destructive spells on his foes. Here is a better description of the Warrior Priest straight from the developers, "As a Warrior Priest, your place is in battle. Your Righteous Fury grows as you strike down the enemy in Sigmar’s name, and your divine powers grow with Righteous Fury. Thus, to reach the peak of your power you must join in the fight. Your prayers bear the power of your god to take life, or give it back, but they are designed to compliment your melee capabilities. Your blessings bring powerful boons to those around you, but you must be close to the fight for your words to reach them. To do your job you must place yourself at risk, but it is in this risky position which you are most powerful."

With my character made, I’m dropped into the world and the starting zone. The Empire starting area is set in a war torn part of the world that was once a beautiful place and is surrounded by farmhouses and a small towns. This town has been overrun by this cult-like band that are terrorizing and killing the local townsfolk. You gain experience from killing mobs, doing solo quests, and public quests.

Public Quests can be done by anyone in your faction as long as you are within the questing area. As soon as you enter the public quest area, your objective is in your quest log and it usually ends up being a kill “x” amount of enemies quest or gather “x” amount of herbs. Public quests come in more than one stage with only the first stage not having a time limit. The first public quest for the Empire has you and your mates fending off waves of attackers until the final stage has you taking down a Chaos-infused giant.

 Once players have completed all the stages of the public quest, they are rewarded with loot and influence. Influence is what is needed to purchase the loot and there are three tiers. Don’t worry about afk’ers sucking up all your influence here because players who do the bulk of the work will get rewarded with more influence.

Mythic Entertainment knows how to make a MMO. Their previous game, Dark Age of Camelot, was hugely successfully and you can tell they took everything they learned and implemented it into Warhammer Online. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning takes elements from Dark Age of Camelot and does the one thing World of Warcraft doesn’t do very well, Player versus Player combat, and makes it awesome. This, on top of a beautiful game with a huge background story spanning 20+ years and an already rabid fan base, gives Warhammer an edge over most current and future MMO’s. There is no doubt that Mythic will should be proud once Warhammer is finished.

Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars Review

Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars is the first ever Unreal Engine 3 powered physics based vehicle arena sports game and is possibly the longest game title ever, says Corey Davis developer for the game. Developed by Psyonix Studios — who helped Epic with the design of the Gears of War vehicle level “Burn’t Rubber” — the game could only be described as soccer with RC cars. Of course, the name and idea of the game seems like something that would be a cheap or free flash game but it’s the amount of polish and great controls that makes this game worth your time.

 

Battle-Cars Are Go!

It seems odd, since soccer isn’t a huge sport in the U.S., that Psyonix would take an under appreciated sport and base their PSN game around it. The game lets you choose from seven cars to compete in a tournament mode that has thirteen events or twenty mini-games, and that isn’t including multi-player. The cars handle really well considering the speeds you are going at and the amount of rocket boosts you end up using. To fill up your rocket boost meter you can drive over boost platforms — think item boxes from the SNES Mario Kart — or pick up boost vials which tend to be scattered around the map.

The amount of depth the game has is practically insane. You can make your car jump to hit a ball in mid-air or double jump to give yourself a mini-boost. You can ride up the wall and even on the ceiling though I never really found a use for this. The game also features Trophy support, custom soundtracks, and Youtube support for uploading your match replays.

The online features in the game are just crazy for a PSN game. The game features full fledged online ranking/matching/party system support with leaderboards and different skill rankings for each bracket. The game offers four player split-screen both locally and online, so if you and three of your buddies want to take on the world with your own team, you can do that too! The best thing about this games split-screen is that you can toggle the split horizontal or vertical which is lacking in almost every game that has split-screen.

Now on to my favorite part, the replay feature. The way it works is that at the end of each match it will ask you if you want to save a replay of the entire game. After saving, you go to the replay manager and choose from any match you have saved. Once selected, you can choose to upload it to Youtube, or transfer it to your Cross Media Bar and then edit it the way you want with video editing software.

Graphics

It uses the Unreal Engine 3 so it has a really nice visual style. I believe this is the first game to actually introduce color while using the same engine as Gears of War, although I hear Gears 2 has plenty of color. The game looks impressive compared to other titles on PSN though not as good as something like Wipeout HD.

Sound

Don’t expect much from the sound department for this game, but the ability to play custom soundtracks gives this game a thumbs up in my book. The default music in Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars could only be described as something you’d hear at Leipzig Games Convention which is hip electronic. If you are going to use the custom soundtrack feature, then pick something up tempo like an AC/DC or Rush album.

Plasma Factor

At first, I had a tough time getting over the fact that this game is $14.99. Then I looked at the stuff this game offers and it just goes above and beyond any $9.99 game on the PSN store. When you take into account the Halo like replay and editing features, online tournaments/leaderboards/matchmaking/party system, and that the game is just down right fun to play this ends up being a well spent fifteen bucks. If you don’t believe me Psyonix made a demo — which is a rarity for a PS3 game much less PSN title — so check that out.

Conclusion

Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars is going to be an under appreciated game on the Playstation 3. Partly because of the wacky name but most PS3 owners are going to look at the price and not give the game a chance. Compared to games that are both $15 Braid and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars,which do you think is the better value? A Mario Bros. style platformer with the ability to control time or a soccer game where you control rocket cars and has an extensive single and multi-player experience. I think we both know the answer to that.

Atlantica Online Review

November 23, 2008 by Joshua O’Neal


Atlantica Online is a new MMO from the Korean developer Ndoors who also have a North American studio called Ndoors Interactive. Atlantica Online unlike most, if not all, massively multi-player online role playing games takes a different route by using the turn-based battle system much like the Final Fantasy series. A lot of Korean MMO’s have come over to the states, but none have really caught on as much as the developers would like. It’s possible that Atlantica Online could break this mold with its ability to offer something different than World of Warcraft and its clones.

                    atlantica_20081119_000651812

GamePlay

Once you’ve created your avatar in the game you start off in your dream where you find out you are a descendant of Atlantis and your blood has great power. In your dream you meet three sisters who represent logic, passion, and emotion. The dream world acts as a tutorial that teaches you how to move around the world, recruit mercenaries, and take part in battles. After the dream tutorial is over, you can then choose from four or five starter zones to begin your adventure.

The battle system, like I mentioned before, is turn based much like an old school Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game. Each turn gives you a limited amount of time, which makes the battles go by quickly. The way you loot enemies in this game is a bit different from anything I have ever played. Instead of killing a mob and then looting his corpse after, the game gives you four turns to loot a dead body before it disappears. I also encountered some enemies that would revive the dead if you didn’t loot fast enough. If you die in Atlantica Online there aren’t any corpse runs, instead your resurrected where you died and penalized with the loss of gold and experience.

                       atlantica_20081118_230545609

When questing out in the world you can use the mini-map to either run to find your next objective or press the auto-move button which will take control of your character and run them over to your next quest. This means if you’re having trouble finding a certain rat to kill eight times then hit the auto-move button and it the computer will take you to where you need to be. There is also a “help required” button on the mini-map that lets you ask a question to everyone in the game. For example, I had five health potions that I wanted to split between my party members but didn’t know how. I asked the question and a bit later got my answer via an instant message much like AIM or Yahoo Messenger. To give the player base an incentive to answer these questions you get a reward each time you answer a players question. Another way to get the word out about what you’re selling or that your guild is recruiting is to use the in-game forum that scrolls at the top of your screen. It cost 1000 gold to post on the in-game forum and it was mainly used to post the popular movie quote “Why so serious?”

Unlike WoW, in AO you can recruit mercenaries to fight alongside you in battles. Not only can you name your mercenaries, but they also gain experience and level up alongside you. When starting a new character you can choose from three different types of mercs like the Swordsman, the Spearman, and the Archer. These all have different roles such as the swordsman having more health and defense which is best suited on the front line. Just like in Final Fantasy, you can choose to have your party members in the front or back row.

                     atlantica_20081119_0020556562

AO takes the usual Korean MMO route by making the game free to play, but offers micro transactions for things such as potions, teleportation scrolls back to cities you’ve visited, or a license to increase the amount of mercenaries you can hire. You use Gcoins to buy items and $1=100Gcoins. Most if not all items cost range goes from $2 to $20 with various packages costing the most. These packages include things such as the teleportation license which you can also buy separately.

Graphics

This game has that Korean development style and I think it works well with the game. Colorful zones and intricate character detail makes up some of the best assets of this game visually. Honestly, I think this game looks better than some of the console role-playing games we have been seeing this generation. They aren’t many complaints I have about the graphics. The game could run on just about any machine and still pulls off the fantasy theme better than some top tier MMO games.

Sound

Ah, the familiar sound of a fantasy RPG. Don’t expect anything epic in music quality, but the good thing is that nothing is overly annoying or takes you out of the experience. The music in battles are a mixture between Blue Dragon and the N64 version of F-Zero. That’s right, expect more flailing guitar riffs and outlandish solos to infiltrate your turn-based battles.

                  atlantica_20081118_230631093

Plasma Factor

There are two things I love about this game more than anything else. One is that real countries and cities are presented in the game. The starting zone I chose was in Japan so one of the first things I did was run to Tokyo. Upon reaching the gates to the city I was greeted with a message that said “Kon-nichi wa! Welcome to Tokyo ~ Please feel free to rest like home =).” Other cities in the game include Baghdad, London, Rome, and Hong Kong. The only continent not represented in the game is North America which is disappointing for someone who lives in the states.  I found out that guilds can run towns so just imagine a Korean player owning Los Angeles or Seattle.

Another thing that I adore about the game is that I kept receiving gifts from random players. This isn’t odd in these types of games but usually you have to be a half naked Night Elf or Twi’lek dancing on a mailbox to get this type of attention.

Conclusion

Atlantica Online is free so there is no reason you should not give it a chance. It’s a casual friendly game and even caters to the console crowd with its turn-based combat and Final Fantasy aesthetic.If you miss the days where all RPG games were turn-based and character design wasn’t about spiky hair and emo personalities then you should give AO a shot. Atlantica Online has its faults, but compared to other MMOs it far exceeds expectations.


Where Is The Hype For Assassin’s Creed II?

Did you know that Assassin’s Creed II lands on store shelves on Nov 17th? With the sequel just around the corner, where is all the hype? Holiday season is the best time to be a gamer with multiple big games coming out in just about every genre. Marketing teams across the world are all competing for ad space on television and the Internet. So, why have we not heard and seen more of this highly anticipated sequel?

An easy answer to that question would be the economy. Ubisoft could be betting on word of mouth and riding the success of the first game. The sequel promises to be bigger in every way than the original and Ubisoft has no problems throwing money into promotions. Earlier this year,GameIndustry.Biz reported that in an investor’s conference call Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said, “Assassin’s Creed 2 will cost 20% more than the original.” Also, it should be noted that in a separate call it was mentioned the pre-orders were up 80% over the original. I guess when you already have that kind of guarantee then you can lay back and focus more on the product.

The first Assassin’s Creed was a game that did a few things right and a few things wrong. I loved the way you controlled Altair and the combat was simple yet fun. It was a beautiful game that depicted the Holy Land exactly how I would imagine it in my mind. Some frustrating points were that the story was ludicrous, the missions were highly repetitive and it took me about a month to successfully pickpocket the first time. It was like the folks up in Montreal spent most of there time creating crowd physics and the world and then decided to give you goals at the end. A better way of putting it would be that they created a sandbox and forgot the sand. Of course, the folks working on the sequel promise more variety, more weapons and let us not forget that Ezio is BFF with Leonardo Da Vinci.

creed2

Posted November 10th, 2009 on COIN-OP.TV

E3 2009 Showdown: PS3 vs. Xbox 360

   It’s only February and we are already preparing for the trip to L.A. for this years Electronic Entertainment Expo. Today we are looking at what already announced games will go head to head at this years show for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. From the looks of it Microsoft better show something big at E3 or this might be the year Sony’s console could start outselling the 360. I’ll be honest; this year it’s already apparent that the PlayStation 3 is bringing it’s A-game, especially with Killzone 2 launching next week. With titles like Heavy Rain, Infamous, and God of War 3 in development, Sony is definitely going for the core 17-30 age range that the 360 has dominated this generation. Let us not forget that Japan will see the release of Final Fantasy XIII exclusively for the PS3 while the rest of the world waits for Square-Enix to localize the game and then ship it the same time as the 360 version.

If you weren’t aware the developers of Heavy Rain are the same guys who put out Indigo Prophecy last-gen, Quantic Dream. The deal with these guys is that they are big into making not only a compelling story, but also one that will stick with you forever. Little is known about the game besides the fact that you will be playing as a yet unnamed female journalist and the controls in this game are…different. In a preview over at GamePro they describe the controls in-depth “When you need to walk forward, you hold R2; this reduces confusion when the camera direction changes and, like a racing game, should keep you on-track. The left analog stick controls your character’s head and influences your walking direction. When you want to interact with the environment - knocking on a door, for example - you move the right analog stick. And when you need to choose between several interactive options — knocking on a door versus ringing the doorbell, for example - you physically tilt the DualShock 3 controller to highlight your selection.” This is a game to look out for if you own or thinking about purchasing a PS3 in 2009.

The next big PS3 game this year is inFamous, from Sucker Punch, and shouldn’t be confused with Activision-Blizzards multi-platform title PROTOTYPE. inFamous stars Cole McGrath, a bike messenger and resident of Empire City, who develops the power to control electricity after a bomb goes off that was in one of his packages. Empire City seems to be a sandbox playground for McGrath to become the ultimate hero or anti-hero depending on how you choose to play. This will be Sucker Punch’s first new IP since the Sly Cooper series. The expected release date is Q2 of 2009, so look for it this summer sometime. A few months ago there was no news at all about God of War 3. Now, we have a teaser trailer and a Game Informer cover story in their March issue and I still really don’t have any idea what this game is about. Well, from what I can tell from the GI scans is that Kratos is pissed off. Zeus is trying to kill the ghost of Sparta by raising an undead army and then a Cyclops comes out of the trees in which Kratos easily dispatches him. So, it seems like more God of War if your into that sort of thing.

Microsoft, it is time to bring out the big guns. E3 is when all the hardcore gamers will be looking at you to carry the torch that Nintendo ceremoniously dropped. So far in 2009 we only know of one major exclusive title that will be at this years show which is the Bungie developed title Halo: ODST. Other titles that have yet to be confirmed for 2009, but I assume will come out is Forza 3 and Alan Wake. Not to sound repetitive, but little is known about the Halo expansion other than you will be plays as an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) who is referred to as the “rookie.” The game is set during the events of Halo 2 after Master Chief leaves Earth and the city of New Mombasa. The rookie starts off alone and must search New Mombasa for his four teammates with the help of a city maintenance AI known as the Superintendent. ODST is a stand-alone expansion and will you won’t need Halo 3 in order to play it. This will also be Bungie’s last Master Chief based Halo game ever.

Forza has always been Microsoft’s Gran Turismo. Turn 10 was able to take a game (GT) developed in Japan and tailor it to western gamers and have a more enjoyable experience for beginners. Now in development for the third game in the series it is time for Turn 10 to make the masterpiece that everyone wants. Gran Turismo 5 is nowhere in sight so take advantage of this opportunity to be the only major racing title this year. In 2008 there was a ton of leaks coming from Intellisponse marketing concepts and some information about Forza 3 was part of the leak. The leak said that Forza 3 would have a Collector’s Edition, DLC, over 100 tracks and 400 cars and would come on two discs. A few days ago an unnamed source from Microsoft contacted VG24/7 and told them that Forza 3 will be one of its major 360 titles this holiday season. The second Forza game was released back in 2007, which makes it all the more likely, that we would see the next game in the franchise this year.

Alan Wake is the gaming industries groundhog that is afraid of his own shadow. You’ll hear from the big time gaming press that they have seen the game at various trade shows, but not game play and aren’t allowed near a controller. The game has it’s own website and twitter, but contains the same info we have known about since it was first shown. E3 2009 has to be the place to unveil this “psychological action thriller” that will obviously be competing with the Sony exclusive Heavy Rain. Your greatest weapon is light via your flashlight or traps you can set you weaken or kill your foes. Finland-based Remedy Entertainment who has taken up the Blizzard model of “it’s done when it’s done” is developing Alan Wake. Lets just hope they get it right.

Obviously both Sony and Microsoft are going to have to bring a lot more to the table at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo than games already announced. Our inside sources have confirmed to us that both will have a number of new games (both original IPs and sequels) to announce during the press conferences. The next E3 show is just around the corner, coming in May 2009 PlanetXbox360.com will be bringing you all the gaming news as it happens direct from Los Angeles; so stay tuned for that exclusive coverage later this year.

Posted Feburary 23rd, 2009 on PlanetXbox360.com

Father Murders Partner After She Becomes Addicted to PlayStation

A tragic story comes from the U.K. this week as Malcom Palmer, 62, was convicted of killing his partner Carol Cannom, 46, and sentenced to jail for life. 

Palmer, 62, stabbed Cannom repeatedly with two knives in front of their 10-year-old son because she became addicted to the Sony PlayStation and Grand Theft Auto. 

The son would stay up till midnight playing and once he went to bed Ms. Cannom would play until early the next morning. The prosecutor, John Pini, argued that Carol quickly became hooked and Mr. Palmer was very unhappy about the amount of time she was playing. 

Palmer admitted the murder of Miss Cannom at their home on November 19, 2008. 

Today, Malcom Palmer was convicted and ordered to serve a life sentence by Judge Michael Heath. After handing down the ruling, Judge Heath said:

"There is no justification or excuse for what you did on November 19 of last year. 
You are of previous good character, an industrious, devoted family man but for some time before November 19 your relationship was under some strain. 

I can make no judgment as to why that was, although you felt certain it was because your partner became addicted to playing on a Playstation, sometimes staying up until four or five in the morning. 
You felt rejected and unwanted as you were asked to leave the home that you shared with her. The other aggravating feature of the attack was that it was ferocious. On the night in question, your son was aware that you were rowing about the Playstation and he heard his mother crying. He came downstairs and saw you in the process of stabbing her. That boy shouted at you to stop it and she shouted at him to dial 999. At one point your 10-year-old son tried to pull you off his mother and as he did so he suffered a minor injury.”

Defense lawyer Timothy Spencer told the court: “The genesis of this tragedy bizarrely lies with the purchase of the PlayStation.” 

If you ask me, both parties are to blame: The father for taking such extreme measures, and the mother for not realizing that she had an addiction which was causing unmeasurable stress in their relationship.

Source: UK Telegraph

Posted April 1st, 2009 on Kombo.com