Archives for : June2013

Best of Playstation Network Vol. 1: PS3 Video Game Review

Sony Computer Entertainment

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What they say: Experience some of the PlayStation Network’s stand out hits in this amazing collection of titles for your PS3 system. Best of PlayStation Network, Vol.1 includes four hits from the PSN library including:

When Vikings Attack – This energetic third person adventure from the PlayStation Network features fast paced battles pitting up to four co operative players against the Viking hordes, and manically competitive “Versus” arenas where players can test their skills against friends.

Sound Shapes – Equal parts instrument and game, Sound Shapes gives everyone the ability to make music. Play through a unique campaign that fuses music and artwork into a classic 2D plat former, featuring artwork by Pixel jam, Copy, Super brothers and more, with music by I Am Robot and Proud, Jim Guthrie and Deadmau5. Create your own unique musical levels with all of the campaign content and share with the world. Sound Shapes creates an ever changing musical community for everyone to enjoy at home or on the go.

Tokyo Jungle – With over 50 playable animals to choose from, unleash your inner beast to hunt your way to the top of Tokyo’s post apocalyptic food chain. Whether in Story or Survival Mode, you never know where your next meal will come from or the dangers you’ll face, so be prepared for anything and everything. Forage through this desolate but dangerous city to complete story based challenges using a variety of survival skills, from all out attack to stealth. Beware you are not the only animal out there hunting for survival.

Fat Princess-Choose from five distinct character classes and switch at any time to best help your team. Charge head first into battle, heal teammates as they break through enemy lines, and upgrade your team and the castle defences as you work with your team to save your princess. There’s a catch, though, the other team has been feeding her magical cake, making her harder to escort back to you.

What I say: One of the first joys I experienced after buying my PS3 was wondering around the Playstation Store and finding and experiencing cool downloadable games. A lot of my better memories from my time with the PS3 come from downloadable titles. So years later, Sony finally decides to start giving us collections of those titles on disc. Having broke the ice with the sublime Journey Collection we have a wider sampling of what the Playstation Network has to offer.

The disc pops up a menu once you click on it in the XMB and you see icons for the four titles. The only real downer about how the disc is set up is that you must install the titles to your HDD but the disc must be in the tray to play them. I see why that was done but wouldn’t it have been easier to just have them play off the disc? Maybe that was not possible, I don’t know.

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When Vikings Attack: This is the game I had the least knowledge of going into this collection. Deceptively simple, the game has you controlling a swarm of fighters taking on groups of Vikings. Items are littered all over the screen and your team must lift them and toss them at the Viking group taking them out before they get you. Playing single player can get repetitive but multiplayer makes this a worthy affair. You have your choice of playing through the “story” or there are verses modes when it’s basically a free for all and a fight to the death. Other characters wonder on to the screen occasionally and they can be added to your group thus adding more hit points in a way.

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This title is a lot of fun but repetitive objectives keep it from being a true classic.

Rating: 7/10

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Sound Shapes: This game is a platformer, but with a twist. The levels are based off of music and the levels get across the theme of the songs. Tracks from artists like Beck highlight this affair. The game is structured like Little Big Planet with you getting items from the levels to use in creating and sharing levels with the community. Even after completing the game, there are plenty of new levels to play and you can grab other players “milk crates” which are collections of favorite levels.

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The game has a very unique look and feel and the play control is spot on. The art style and diverse music tracks really add to the games unique flavor. The game is equally fun in playing and creating levels. This is the most unique experience on this collection and comes highly recommended.

Rating: 10/10

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Tokyo Jungle: After some sort of cataclysm wipes out human life, only the animals are left to survive in this new age. Over the course of the game you play such diverse animals as the smallest Pomeranian to such regal beasts as lions and so on. You experience the life of your chosen animal all the way to their finding a mate and then you take over as the new generation. The key is trying to hunt (and hide from animals hunting you) and survive. The game has two modes; story and survival. Story has you playing different animals and discovering Tokyo. Survival involves trying to survive through multiple generation and continuing as long as possible. Co-op is also available in both modes.

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The game is quirky, fun, and mostly unique. It truly is a breath of fresh air and definitely gives you a play experience you won’t get elsewhere. The game looks good and plays well. A real treat!

Rating: 8/10

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Fat Princess: This game is the oldest release of the collection. I bought this game day 1 and I am still playing it four years later. A very non PC take on capture the flag, Fat Princess involves your team holding a princess hostage while trying to rescue your princess from the other team. In addition to fortifying your castle and upgrading all the jobs available to your characters, you can also stuff your princess with magical cake to make her fatter so she is harder for the other team to pack off. I know right?

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The game can be played with up to 32 players on two teams. If playing off line the rest of your team and the opposing force will be played by bots. Online features human opponents but bots are used to fill it any less than 32. The game is great fun and there are a ton of maps and play modes to keep you going. The art style is cute and cartoony which really offsets the carnage. The game is a gas and there are always plenty of people online to play with. Recommended!

Rating: 9/10

If you enjoy the games in this collection, they are a great intro to the Playstation Network and if you do get online, there is DLC for all titles to extend you play. I’m sure that was part of the reason these titles were chosen, was to sell you that DLC. But that’s awful cynical, there is a lot to enjoy here and as it the games are a great value and a lot of fun.

Overall Rating: 9/10

XPEC ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES CHARMING PLATFORMER DO NOT FALL COMING TO PLAYSTATION NETWORK JULY 23

Experience the One-of-a-Kind Fantasy World within a Vending Machine

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Taipei, Taiwan – June 27, 2013 – XPEC Entertainment Inc., a leading game developer, is proud to announce today that it is self-publishing and releasing Do Not Fall on PlayStation®Network on Tuesday, July 23 for $9.99.
“Do Not Fall delivers a simple yet addictive action-platform experience that hardcore and casual gamers alike will enjoy,” said Wonder Lin, CEO, XPEC Entertainment. “The gameplay is easy to learn yet challenging and exciting to master with a compelling price point.”

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Do Not Fall is a comical action-platform game that puts players in the role of a fearless adventurer named Pipi who lives inside a drink vending machine. Players must explore seven themed worlds to gather enough materials to make one delicious drink and will have to prove their reflexes are quick enough to avoid disappearing tiles, obstacles, and traps along the way. Players will do whatever it takes to avoid being knocked off or dropped from surfaces and find their way throughout the seven worlds and 70 different levels in order to collect the ingredients. Packaged with six entertaining multiplayer modes for up to four players, gamers will have several options to gather friends and start an awesome battle to see who will be the king on the floor.

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To stay updated on the latest game announcements check out Do Not Fall’s Facebook page or the official Website.
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ABOUT XPEC
XPEC Entertainment is one of the leading game developers in Greater China and has developed well-known titles for console and PC online platforms. Founded in Taipei, Taiwan in August 2000, XPEC now has offices in Taiwan, Suzhou, and Beijing, with more than 750 employees.
In 2008, in cooperation with Activision, XPEC released an action adventure game based on the film “Kung Fu Panda.” The game, developed by XPEC for the Wii and PlayStation 2 platforms, received great feedback from the market – selling more than 1 million copies. Shrek – Forever After, the video game for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC, and the latest release, Skylanders- Spyro’s Adventure, were also received well by the public, setting irrefutable milestones in XPEC’s track record.
XPEC is also active in the PC Online / Browser game development with over 10+ titles developed and released globally. These titles includes sci-fi MMORPG – Bounty Hounds Online, a Bandai Namco IP now launching across seven different territories, as well as its latest 3D flash MMORPG – Maze Myth, showcasing the latest visual effect and real time combat capability all within browser.
In addition to providing outstanding game development, XPEC also provides professional art outsourcing services. XPEC Art Center is located in Suzhou and has participated in more than 100 current-gen titles including Last of Us, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Tomb Raider and many more. Last of Us received an average score of 96 across many game review sites.

Look who’s back, back again….

As I’m sure some of you have noticed there has not been much activity here at A Darker Image. We there have been some background issues we have had to deal with that seem to be over. All I’m going to say is that brute force hackers suck.

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Some articles vanished during all this they will be restored over the next few days as I don’t want to dump them all back up all at once. I have a bunch of reviews stock piled and they will start running tomorrow. Thank you for your understanding.

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Finally, I have decided to change things up around here a bit. I unfortunately have decided that I really don’t have time to devote to everything I originally took one. So in light of that I have decided to focus the site and only cover home video and video games. This means the comics will no longer be covered. I will leave the comic related comic book articles up, but there will not be any new ones. If you enjoyed the section I apologize.

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Also in the works is a new look for the site, but I’m not sure at this point when that will happen so please be on the look out for that.

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To everybody that enjoyed and supported the site so far, I thank you. I also appreciate those of you that have ordered from the Amazon links! Doing that really helps keep the site going.

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Side Effects: Thriller Blu-Ray Review

Universal
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Stars: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law
(From imdb.com)
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side effects

What they say: From Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) comes this suspenseful and provocative tale of intrigue starring Channing Tatum, Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara and Jude Law, and Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones. After her husband (Tatum) is released from prison, Emily (Mara) begins suffering from terrifying anxiety and turns to psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Law) for help. But when Banks prescribes an experimental drug for her, the side effects have chilling and deadly consequences. Full of unexpected twists, Side Effects is the sexy psychological thriller that critics are calling “wildly unpredictable!” (Marlow Stern, Newsweek)

What I say: It’s pretty rare that a mainstream film tackles a subject like depression. Now I don’t mean what most people think depression is, I mean real depression and anxiety. This film really does a fantastic job of portraying depression and the effects it has on those around you and as someone who has suffered from depression in the past, this is appreciated. With that out of the way, how does this thriller stack up? And is it worthy of being director Steven Soderberghs final film?

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The film opens with up in a luxury apartment with a trail of blood leading up to a present sitting on a chair. We then jump back three months and we find Emily Taylor, a young woman who has been alone for the last four years while her husband has been in prison for insider trading. His release leads to depression and anxiety for Emily as she has to readjust to her old life and worry about her husband slipping up again. Emily becomes more and more despondent and eventually attempts suicide. This act brings her to Doctor Jonathan Banks. Banks has recently applies to help test a new depression drug and he sees Emily as the perfect test subject. Working with another therapist, the experiment begins. Emily seems to do better at first and then things take a dark and disturbing turn. Now Dr. Banks finds himself in the midst of a public firestorm over medications and the doctors responsibility in prescribing them.

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The film is well acted and directed. Everybody does a fine job, especially Jude Law. The story however takes a couple of big narrative leaps to move the plot along but over the plotting is pretty tight. The Blu-Ray look great and the transfer is gorgeous.

Film: 8/10
Blu-Ray: 9/10

Recommended!