Gears of War Articles RSS Feed | Gears of War RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Gears 5 Won't Depict Tobacco Use After Non-Profit Claims It's Too Dangerous Mon, 15 Jul 2019 14:12:35 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Following a length showing at this year's E3, The Coalition's upcoming Gears 5 just got its first big broadcast over the weekend. Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed one thing missing, though, and it's entirely by design: there was no tobacco usage depicted.

According to Variety, the non-profit, anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative reached out to ELeague's President, Rod Ferguson; ELeague is the organization that owns all eSports broadcasting rights for Gears 5.

Truth Initiative asked that The Coalition remove all depictions of smoking in Gears 5. The request was formed based on statistics that show viewers and players tend to be younger than the game's M-rating would suggest they might be, along with causal links that see increases in smoking tied to depictions of it in pop culture — including TV shows and video games.

Ferguson agreed to the request and provided a rather personal reason for his decision:

I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking.

It’s always been important for me to not use smoking as a narrative device, which is why we made the conscious choice to avoid highlighting or glorifying smoking in ‘Gears 5’ and throughout the Gears of War Universe moving forward

That firsthand experience was his father's death at age 38, when Rod Ferguson was only 4. Apparently, because of these experiences, Ferguson has tried limiting depictions of tobacco use in all Gears games.

Of course, there's no way to verify these remarks one way or the other.

The move does open up another topic of discussion, though. Truth Initiative claims there are definite links between images showing certain actions and people's behavior, though that contradicts claims stating depictions of violence — and Gears 5 comes with an M rating for gore and violence — have no impact on others.

While it would seem there's some casual picking and choosing when it comes to causality here, that's another topic for another time.

Gears 5 Drops Gear Packs, Season Pass But Adds Pay-to-Win Feature Fri, 21 Jun 2019 12:21:42 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Gears 5 developers The Coalition recently announced that the upcoming game will not feature Gear Packs or a Season Pass. The shift is in an effort to make the game's additional paid offerings more transparent.

The news comes via a development blog shortly after Gears 5 received a lengthy overview at E3 — and not long after several countries are moving to take action against loot boxes and their inherent element of gambling.

Rather than paying to get a random set of items, players will be able to either purchase some items they want directly or earn them through normal play. DLC maps will also be free for Matchmaking and Private Play.

The earnable content will feature primarily in a new introduction to Gears 5: Tour of Duty. This replaces the Season Pass, but it ultimately fulfills the same basic function. Gears 5's Tour of Duty will regularly introduce new content all players can earn, instead of splitting player bases between those who bought a pass and those who didn't.

Content can be earned through completing daily challenges and earning medals, and it'll be largely similar to content earned through Season Passes, e.g. character skins and the like. Earnable content will also be transparent in that Gears 5 gives players a clear path to follow to obtain what they want.

Supply Drops are replacing Gear Packs and offer random rewards just for playing, but content purchased using Iron via the in-game store won't be random. Instead, players will pay for what they want.

Tucked away at the end of the developers' blog is an interesting tidbit that seemingly goes against the blog's general grain of appeasing the players. Gears 5 is introducing Boost as a new mechanic as well. Boost offers advanced progression rates for a set period of real-time days, for instance, 24 hours or a 7-day week in the form of:

  • Double Multiplayer XP
  • Double Character XP for Escape & Horde
  • Double speed Supply Drop Progression

However, it's a paid feature. The Coalition says it isn't required to earn content or unlock features. But it's fairly easy to see the increased experience rates have the potential to divide players from a progression perspective. 

LawBreakers Can't Catch a Break Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:07:27 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

According to recent reports, Cliffy B's LawBreakers (LB) isn't doing very well. It maybe one of 2017's biggest flops. The title is a pay-to-play first person shooter with a strong emphasis on gravity manipulation during battle. It was released worldwide for PC and PlayStation 4 just a week ago, on August 8. 

LawBreakers is a title where two teams of five players compete against each other in an arena-style battleground. These teams align with either the law or the breaker factions. As of right now, players are able to chose from nine classes and four game modes. 

Despite being well-received by critics and reviewers, the game's player counts have actually decreased after each open beta session. Two days after release, the active players numbered at just 3,000. Reportedly, this indicates more than a 50% drop in players since the first open beta in June. And according to Steamcharts, the peak number of players for the last 24 hours was a mere 1,550.

This is very concerning given Cliffy B's track record with games. To compare, let's look at the release of Gears of War (GoW). This third-person shooter was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360, and was very well received. Since its original launch, the game has gotten an updated re-release for the Xbox One as well.

Gears was released to very positive reviews and praise from players, much like LB. Within two weeks of release, Gears of War sold one million units. 2 months later, over three million units were sold. But unfortunately, the same simply isn't true for LawBreakers in spite of its similar positive reception at launch.

It's not entirely clear yet why LB is not doing as well. Cliffy B laid a lot of the same groundwork for LawBreakers as it did for Gears of War. Both games saw a big marketing push, though arguably Gears of War got the upper hand in that regard after its memorable usage of a popular song. But it's also worth noting that while LawBreakers was available across a number of systems, GoW was published by Microsoft and pushed heavily as an exclusive selling point for the Xbox 360.

That sort of extra attention pushed Gears into popularity, while LawBreakers got left behind, floundering with a marketing campaign that consisted more of on-site ads and promoted Tweets than actual engaging content. 

Is marketing attention the only thing that put LawBreakers in the ground? Of course not. There are a number of other things that could have gone wrong. And if we're honest about it, this isn't the first time a Cliffy game hasn't been successful. 

In 2011, we saw the release of Bulletstorm for the Xbox 360. This first-person shooter stuck heavily to Cliffy's visceral design aesthetic and insanely chaotic combat. But five months after its release, developer Epic Games announced that it had failed to make a profit -- even though, much like LawBreakers, the title got positive initial reviews from fans and critics alike.


Bulletstorm also had a respectable marketing push that included advertisements on major networks and commercials featuring a few Hollywood actors. Yet, it still failed. Why? The answer isn't clear. But it is interesting that this pattern of positive reviews and poor sales has carried across multiple Cliffy titles. Maybe Cliffy's games can only sell as exclusives instead of multi-platform titles? It's possible that the extra bump from Microsoft really did make all the difference.


As of now, Cliffy B doesn't seem to be worried about the title's slow start. But I'm not so optimistic in regards to its performance and player numbers. 

What's happening with LawBreakers feels very similar to what happened with 2016's Battleborn. Another stylish shooter in the same vein as LB, this game also saw a steep decline in its playerbase shortly after launch -- probably because its release date fell so unfortunately close to the juggernaut arena shooter that was Overwatch.

If you ask me, new shooters like LawBreakers have huge hurdles to jump over these days, and very few will make the leap and stay afloat. We live in a post-Overwatch world, after all, and only a free-to-play competitor like Paladins has been able to keep up with Blizzard's entry in the genre.

The shooter scene is already oversaturated with all kinds of shooters -- from gritty historical experiences like Battlefield 1 or Call of Duty: WW2 to colorful arena shooters or frenetic experiences like Quake, capturing players' attention with a new IP is no simple matter. And unfortunately, it seems like LawBreakers just didn't innovate (or market) enough to capture as much attention as it needed to in order to stay alive. 

Lots of good games have ultimately died in spite of their general quality and respectable launches. We've seen it time and time again. And although it's too early to chalk up LawBreakers as a loss -- as new maps and modes are still set for release -- things aren't looking good. 

The decline in players will obviously be a focal point for both the game's developer and its publisher, Nexon. But if they're making any business decisions in that regard, they're being tight-lipped about it. 

Cliffy B has been in the business for years and he's been down this road before. So I'm sure this is familiar ground despite his past successes. LawBreakers is a stylish game, and it would be a shame if it goes quietly into the night.

A Review of Gears of War: The Board Game Sun, 04 Jun 2017 15:32:32 -0400 Kevin S. Behan

When I first saw this game, I had to ask myself "What kind of insane board meeting happened to let this thing come to life?" with a sort of bemusement. Fantasy Flight Games, the producer of many Star Wars and Warhammer board games, is not known for quick cash-grabs. They produce high-quality content, there's a lot of thought that goes into their games, and they're a big part of the reason we're going through a sort of board game renaissance these days.

Gears of War is known for tight, cover based shooting, with tension and stress behind each movement as you out-flank and out-play your foes. Its campaign missions are intense, demanding your focus for the entire length of a stage. Even on the easier difficulties, it's rare for you to be given a chance to "stop caring and run forward". How do you convert all of this to a medium that is generally turn-based while still including the core Gears of War gameplay?

Well. Gears of War: The Board Game does it perfectly. I'm still somewhat in disbelief over it.

How Gears of War: The Board Game Plays

We'll start with the basics. It's a one-to-four player co-operative game, meaning you can sling it with up to three mates, or go it alone. You choose from the four primary COGs of the original trilogy -- Marcus, Dom, Cole, and Baird, each with a small ability that gives them a slight edge at particular strategies.

You choose your mission -- the campaign-style format meaning you should probably start with mission one if it's your first show -- but the lack of a heavy story means you can tackle them how you please. You set up your map from various cardboard components, giving each level a unique layout before you get going.

This technically is in the 'dungeon crawler' category of board games, but it avoids the trappings of the genre that require a lot of bookkeeping. How much health and ammo you have, how many more shots that grub needs to go down, what special abilities you have, and much more are condensed and refined to keep the game's pacing tight.

Your guns can essentially shoot forever unless it's a special weapon like the boomer. However, you can spend ammunition tokens to get more powerful attacks, with the risk being that once you run out of ammo, that gun is useless to you unless you find more.

Fully painted miniatures posted by Igor Di Mauro on

Enemies simply have three states of health: full, wounded, and dead. Each state has a target number you need to hit with your attacks for enemies to die, any amount of damage bringing them to the wounded state, which makes eliminating them slightly easier. This means teamwork will preserve ammo and take out enemies before they can even get an attack off. The sheer thematic perfection of the game is what gets me going, and it's mechanically efficient, too.

Your health is represented by your hand of cards and your orders. These let you perform special maneuvers. However, when you spend them you no longer have them as health, and you don't recover it very quickly! Getting behind cover and waiting out the action is the way to recover, again, and it's incredibly similar to how the video game plays. It's bloody genius, and I love it.

And if you go down, you're not out -- you're crawling on the ground until a teammate can get to you, pick you up, and get you an order card back in your hand.

Even the enemies are great. You've got your basics: grubs, grenadier -- "theron guaaardsto quote Baird -- and they all have unique mechanics. But then you get the crazy stuff, like berserkers, who, similar to their video game counterparts, can't truly be harmed without the hammer of dawn. They're blind, but move closer to player characters every time they make an attack option, ready to pummel you into the dirt if you're unlucky enough for them to actually hit you.

The components of this game are gorgeous, too, with highly rendered miniatures that evoke the setting. Each is ready to be painted, though they're color coded with red for player characters and gray for enemies if you're busting out the acrylics.

The tiles used to construct your mission layout are evocatively illustrated, divided into sections that dictate your line of sight in a very simple, clear-cut manner. It even provides cover points for you to slip in and out of that give you a defensive bonus against enemies -- or them one against you.

Image originally posted by Ze Masqued Cucumber on

There Are, However, a Few Flaws

This wouldn't be a fair review without pointing out some flaws. The game can run a little bit long sometimes, expect to spend at least an hour, and can get a little bit dull when players run out of ammunition and are just firing pistol shots. A lot of work can go into a failed mission, dice rolls can be cruel, and if you're not the type to accept that as part of a challenging game, this might not be for you.

And while technically the board game contains no gore or blood, it is based off a M-rated product, which you should keep in mind before giving it to teenagers. However, if you can get past those flaws, it's an absolutely beautiful product.


Gears of War: The Board Game might be a bit of an older game, but I'm calling it out for you primarily because it's such an amazing example of design. And if you missed out on it, you'd really do yourself a service to try and find a copy. It's incredible fun for a group of competitive players, challenging enough where you're not guaranteed to win every mission if you don't play optimally. There are moments where the whole team is cheering good shots, sighing with relief over enemies missing, and panicking as that berserker draws closer and closer.

It's hard to snag a copy these days, but keep an eye out for it. You never know where out-of-print board games will show up.

The 9 Best Hilarious Video Game Deaths Sat, 11 Mar 2017 09:00:01 -0500 Ricardo melfi

Sometimes it's just not enough to see a certain villain or comrade die in (mostly violent) different ways. You may feel the need to see them die in hilarious and outlandish ways because of, you know, entertainment and stuff. There have even been moments where the situation is supposed to be sad or upsetting, yet the way the character dies is just too good not to laugh.

We decided to compile the very best deaths that we considered hilarious (which means they have physically and literally made us LOL). Here are our 9 Best Hilarious Video Game Deaths!

Johnny Cage - Fatality

Mortal Kombat X

Yes, it is a surprise that Mortal Kombat features on list of hilarious video game deaths. But the crew over at MK have never really taken fatalities that seriously, which is perfect for scoring unlimited laughs.

The series veteran, Johnny Cage, is still here carving out fatalities against his unfortunate opponents. His latest one sees Johnny go up behind his beaten foe and literally open them up from the back, peering through the gaping hole in their torso. This isn't what makes it great though, as Johnny pays homage to one of my favorite movies, The Shining, by saying, "heeeeeerrreeee's Johnny!"

Gold... just pure gold.

Spider-Man - QTE Sequence

The Amazing Spider-Man

There's a sequence in The Amazing Spider-Man, by Activision, in which Spider-Man (Peter Parker) has to execute a string of QTEs in order to pass the scene. Not an ultimately difficult sequence to keep up with, as Spider-Man is ever graceful. However, miss just one button and Spider-Man ends up flat on his face, extremities spread out as if he was squashed like a bug.

The above video shows off all of the hilarious death animations, but the first sequence is the most funny, with another having him spread out flat after hitting a wall. Cheap laughs? Absolutely, but still hilarious...

Daedalus & Sons- Hang Glider Plummet

Red Dead Redemption

Everyone loves Red Dead Redemption, as Rockstar absolutely nailed the harsh and untamed world of the Wild West. There are a few zany missions in this gem (that is still played today by the way) but the best one in our opinion is the Daedalus & Sons, hang glider mission. You see, Daedalus is determined to be the first man to fly using a hang glider, and is even willing to risk himself in order to prove it works... by jumping off a very high cliff.

After John has finished amassing the items that Daedalus needs and progressing to the end of the mission, we see him finally take the jump. Unfortunately, his hang glider isn't quite what he expected and he plummets to his impending doom, all the while screaming in true Rockstar fashion.

Horrifying? Maybe. Hilarious? Definitely. Rest in peace friend, the world will never know of your exploits.

Face McShooty - Embracing Euthanasia

Borderlands 2

Usually when someone asks you to shoot them in the face, you consider what that could mean? The person's obviously crazy, right? So what do you do? Well, if you're playing Borderlands 2, you happen to come across Mr. McShooty who basically begs and screams for you to, erm, shoot him in the face. No sooner does he say it that a mission automatically appears instructing you to actually go through with it.

It's got to be a trick, so you wait... and wait. Once he starts to repeat himself, you think, "Why the hell not?" Now the hilarity doesn't actually stem from this moment but with the immediate, "THANK YOU!" he shouts, milliseconds AFTER being shot.... in the face.

Leon Kennedy - Big Fish in a Small Pond

Resident Evil 4

Leon Kennedy has seen some weird shit in his life when it comes to bioweapons (ahem, zombies and mutated monsters). He works hard and barely gets time off. Entering into Resident Evil 4, Leon has his work cut out for him as he has to save the president's daughter. Still, all work and no play makes Leon a dull boy, right?

Thus, we all decided to go lake fishing and started taking pot shots at the fish swimming around. It was kind of relaxing, if we're being honest. However, after taking too many pot shots at the defenseless, small fish in the lake -- found midway through RE4 -- will not end well for Leon. He thinks he can just push those fish around? Well not today!

After too many pot shots, a massive bio-weapon fish launches out and swallows Leon in one go. Yeah, that's what you get for picking on creatures smaller than you.

Carmine - Keep Your Head Down, Stupid             

Gears of War

Carmine, you poor, poor rookie. We understand that you're still working out the kinks in your soldiering but just a little piece of advice for you. When it comes to being in battle zones, don't keep your head up. Stay down, at almost every opportunity, as Carmine finds out the hard way. Kneeling to fix a jam in his gun, he cops a round to the head after not staying behind cover. Tough break, man. Maybe you'll do better next play-through... oh, it's scripted.

Rag-doll Physics - "I'm Faaaaabulouuusss"

Almost every game, ever

Rag doll physics are reason enough for spontaneous laughs almost every time. I'm not sure how these kinds of physics are supposed to make the game seem more realistic, but due to some of the rags we've seen over the decades, rag doll physics still haunt our darkest nightmares. Other times we lose our (collective) shit. You know what we're talking about.

Chained, Whipped, Beaten & Killed

Crash Bandicoot Series

That brilliant bandicoot was the epicenter of my young, gaming life, collecting every damn box, gem, relic and crystal this series had to offer. The first installment became insanely hard the further you progressed, with punishing saves and checkpoints. This meant that you would die, a lot.

Even as a professional Crash player honing my skills over the decades, I still manage to lose a lot of damn lives towards the later half of the game. As one would expect, every one of Crash's hilarious deaths are burned into our memories. Every, single, one.

Pop Culture Resurrections

Sunset Overdrive

Everyone loves pop culture classics like Dracula, The Ring, Back to the Future, all of the Superheroes, Portal, and even Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, so it goes without saying that the (very versatile) re-spawn animations in Sunset Overdrive are a real treat.

The nods to many great films and pop culture appear and yes, we know they aren't technically 'deaths' but you do have to die in order to see them. Check mate?


Proving that not all deaths in video games have to be such serious circumstances and that laughter is good for the soul, even if it is at someone else's expense -- but they aren't real, so it's fine. But for now, that was my 9 Most Hilarious Video Game Deaths!

Did we miss anything obvious or did you find some hilarious game deaths of your own? Leave a comment below and get involved!


11 Awesome Video Game Bromances Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:59:59 -0400 Ricardo melfi

Since the conception of the term "bromance," we've seen more and more examples of this type of friendship in all forms of pop-culture. To those who still don't know, a bromance is the relationship between two male friends that breaks the walls of mere friendship; they become "brothers." If there's one thing women hate the most, it's their man in a bromance.

We've had movies (mostly comedies) portraying this inseparable bond between buddies but (all alliteration aside), video games have used many bromances in their own stories, Here are STG's 11 Best Video game Bromances, bro... 

Mass Effect Trilogy

Commander Shepard & Garrus Vakarian

Garrus:"Nobody would give me a mirror. How bad is it?" 

Shepard:"Hell, Garrus, you were always ugly. Slap some face-paint on there, and no one will even notice." 

Garrus:"Ha-ah! Don't make me laugh, damn it. My face is barely holding together as it is. Ah, probably for the best. Everyone was always ignoring you and hitting on me. Time for you to get a fair shot at it."

Throughout their adventures in the Mass Effect series, Shepard and Garrus form a strong bond while trying to save the galaxy. If you played as fem-Shep, then you could have formed an even tighter relationship... Ahem.

But this is about the bros, so it stands to reason that sharing multiple near-death experiences would have only strengthened their friendship. Having similar personalities and a sense of humor helps, at least in our play-through.

Gears of War Trilogy

Marcus Fenix & Dom Santiago

Marcus: "What are you doing here?"

Dom: "Getting you out. Here, put this on." 

Marcus: "You could get into a lot of trouble for doing this."

Dom: "Not anymore. Things have changed. C'mon."

Another tale of friendships strengthened through battle and near-death experiences -- all while trying to save the world -- Marcus and Dom shoot their way through multiple alien species, as their mission is to eradicate all and save humanity. Two muscle-bound bad-asses carving their way through tough-as-nails aliens, all while spouting one-liners? This would definitely solidify a bromance.

Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood, & Revelations

Leonardo Da Vinci & Ezio Auditore Da Firenze

Leo: "The blade is finished, though it will require the removal of your ring finger. It is the way the blade has been constructed."

Ezio: "Bene (fine). Do it, quickly."

Leo: "I'm just joking with you Ezio. In the past such a sacrifice was required but I have found a way to modify the blade."

This was always going to be a good combination. A master craftsman, painter, engineer, and all-around genius working with a sneaky, efficient master assassin. Ezio and Leo are the prime example of a great bromance, willing to risk their lives for one another and achieve their goals together. A bromance spanning across decades and countless Templar conspiracies sees this relationship to the list. 

Jak & Daxter Series

Jak & Daxter

Daxter: "Please, Jak, you're such a wimp. I could have taken them myself! Maybe you should sit on MY shoulder for a while."

This mischievous duo requires no introduction to many gamers. The Jak & Daxter series scored a massive following due to the captivating platforming, dialogue, and beautiful graphics. Naughty Dog definitely know how to create their characters/worlds and these two are no exception.

Daxter is usually riding Jak, pushing him forward and showing a somewhat false, yet still inspiring, sense of bravado from atop Jak's shoulders. However, when the time comes, Daxter has proven to be the ultimate ally as they go on a quest to not only change the furry friend back to his original form, but also to save their world as they know it.

Ratchet & Clank Series

Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet: "If I can get that, I can get past those robot guards."

Clank: "Robots are not so easily fooled."

Ratchet: [trying to trick Clank by pointing at something] "Ahh! What's that?"

Clank: [falling for the trick, Clank turns his head] "What?"

Ratchet: "Uh-huh..."

The only other duo that seemed to pick up hot on the tails of Jak & Daxter, this ingenious little robot and his marsupial accomplice span their known galaxies going on bounty hunts, stopping villainous henchmen and bosses along the way.

Ratchet & Clank are right up there with the Jak & Daxter games (though they have released a few more installments than the former).They have amassed their own cult following, even managing to take part in one of the most dangerous combat sports arenas in the universe and survive!

Street Fighter Series

Ryu & Ken

Ryu: "Let's leave the talking to our fists!"

Ken: "Can these things even talk?"

Everybody's favorite fighting duo from the Street Fighter series undoubtedly belong in this list. With a bromance spanning decades now (how do they stay so damn young?) and more than a few ways that it could have ended very, very badly, these two show us what true brotherhood and friendship can be. 


Contra Series

Bill Rizer & Lance Beam

Considered one of the hardest game series ever made, Contra puts games like Dark Souls and Battletoads to shame with its insane difficulty system (a true SNES staple). Many controllers have been broken against walls via fits of rage and epic moments of completion in this game, which solidified its place in history.

Contra brought forth two bad-ass bros, Rizer & Beam. Shwarzenneger and Stallone got nothing on these two. Side scrolling, shooter action at its finest.


Army of Two

Tyson Rios & Elliot Salem

Phillip: "No problem, fuck-o."

Rios:  "Fuck-o? Who says that?"

Phillip: "I'm gonna kill you both, slice you open and go to an aerobics class wearing your intestines for leg warmers!"

Salem: "I mean... does that even make sense?"

Elliot Salem & Tyson Rios, two bad-ass dudes who clearly live through hundreds of death-defying moments together, covering each other's hides. Their job? Being a complete 'Army of Two', with Salem & Rios, flanking, tactics, firefights and one-liners are literally their life.

Playing as these two mercenaries really pulls everything together if you have your very own bromance buddy sitting next to you playing co-op, even if things get a little weird.

Telltale's The Walking Dead -- Season 1

Lee & Kenny

Kenny: "Hey. Lee. You know how to pick a lock, right?"

Lee: "No, why would you say that?"

Kenny: "Well. You're... you know... urban?"

Lee: "Oh, you are NOT saying what I think you're saying."

Kenny: "Jesus, man! I'm from Florida! Crazy shit comes out of my mouth sometimes. Sorry."

Lee first meets Kenny at Herschel's farm after saving Clementine from a couple of zombies and bringing her along with him. Kenny has his wife Katja and his son 'Duck' there with him and things seem to be going kind of well.

As this is Telltale's TWD, this peace and serenity is short-lived. After a chaotic and surprising zombie attack, Herschel's son is killed and the gang are banished from the farm.

Lee and Kenny continue to do what they can with the ragtag group of survivors they meet up with but Kenny starts to lose his wits. This forces Lee to make some seriously hard decisions for all of them. A bromance that stands the test of time (or at least until the last episode of Season 1), Lee & Kenny are the perfect example of a true bromance, looking out for each other (and their subsequent 'families') no matter what happens; arguments, punch-ups, and all. 

Uncharted Series

Nathan Drake & 'Sully' Sullivan

Sully: "I'm sweating like a hooker in church!"

Drake: "You took a hooker to church?"

Sully: "Nate, let's just pretend for a minute that I don't really care about any of that and cut to the chase will ya?"

Drake: "Man only interested in the climax. You must be a real hit with the ladies."

Sully: "Never had any complaints."

Now there can be the argument made here where Sully isn't really a 'bro' and more of a father figure, however as they are not related by blood, this still counts as a great bromance. 

Throughout the Uncharted series, Sully is Drake's mentor and partner, keeping him focused and getting him to continue using his head and not his, erm, other head. Regardless of how you personally view their relationship, Sully is bonafidede bro in all aspects of the term and continues to be there for Drake no matter what.

Now Nathan's real brother, on the other hand.

Sonic the Hedgehog Series

Sonic & Tails

Sonic: "We good to go or what, Tails?"

Tails: "I've built a TV out of paper clips..."

Sonic: "Yeah..."

Tails: "...and reprogrammed a super computer using dish washing detergent and a toothpick..."

Sonic: "I know..."

Tails: "...So look, fixing a propeller on a biplane? That's about as difficult as taking a nap."

Sonic: "Kay, I did not need your whole life story. A simple "good to go" would have been cool."

Tails: "Alright. Good to go!"

These two heroes need absolutely no introduction to the gaming world (unless you've been living under a rock you're entire life). Sonic & Tails are the ultimate bros, taking part in adventures throughout the entire Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

Once thought to be a female, Tails' first name is actually Miles, so show us one woman with that name, but I digress. Tails can fly and Sonic can run really, really fast. Put these two together and you have a bromance that spans across decades and still moves strong to this day.


So there you have it. The 11 Best Video Game Bromances that STG thought deserved some attention. Next time you pick up any of these games, see how much you notice.

So what did you think about the list? Any that should have been mentioned or that we seemed to forget? What did you think of the bromances listed? Leave a comment below and look out for our next article!

5 Gameplay Mechanics That Changed Gaming Tue, 29 Nov 2016 07:00:01 -0500 Justin Michael

Over the years, games have become more and more complex as well as diverse. Something that I’ve mentioned in previous articles is that gameplay hinges on fundamental foundations such as good storyline, visuals, but most importantly, intuitive gameplay mechanics.

Every now and then, however, a game comes along that changes up the normal gameplay mechanics and gives us something new and truly revolutionary. Here is a list of 5 gameplay mechanics that have changed the way we game.

1. The wall jump

Although popularized in the Mario Bros. series, the first instance of wall jumping can be found in the original Ninja Gaiden game, released in 1988.

The ability to wall jump adds new ways for the player to interact with the map, giving them new ways to solve problems and new ways for game developers to challenge gamers in turn. I remember playing Megaman X and figuring out that I could wall jump to get out of lower areas and to reach needed health packs in hard-to-reach spots.

Nowadays, the wall jump is a commonly used a mechanic found in most platforming titles like Super Meat Boy for example. It can also be seen in more action games such as Titanfall and the Prince of Persia series. Some fighting games and other 3rd person shooters have even started to make use the wall jump mechanic.

2. Climbing your enemies

I know that Shadow of the Colossus was the first game to introduce climbing enemies, but I didn't come across the mechanic until playing Dragon's Dogma. Until this point, fighting larger enemies meant endlessly slashing and hacking at their feet and legs, which just felt clunky. Now with the climbing mechanic, however, you could go for those weak spots like their eyes and throat which just makes more sense.

I'll never forget the first time I scaled the basilisk in Dragon's Dogma. Here is this massive snake attacking our camp and all of my pathetic attacks are smacking into it's thick scaled body. But then I hear my follower shout out "Climb it, Master, aim for its eyes!" From that point on, I knew that scaling the larger enemies was generally the best way to reach their weak spots -- as long as I kept my eye on my stamina bar.

3. Active reloading

Before my PC gamer days, I used to enjoy playing a lot of Xbox. One of my favorite games to play back in the day was Gears of War, which came out in early 2006. What I loved most about Gears of War was its willingness to get down and dirty -- both in the story and in the fighting. While most people know about the most famous weapon in the Gears of War franchise, the "Lancer Assault Rifle," the true test of skill in the game was getting consistent active reloads to maximize damage.

Active reload added a rush to Gears of War in that you were rewarded for mastering it. You reloaded faster, did more damage, and could brag about your mechanical skill. On the flipside, it was embarrassing when you fumbled, and sometimes cost you or a teammate their life since you were slower getting back into the fray.

Since the original Gears of War, we've seen a number of other games adopt active reloading to add another level of complexity to their game. Some of those games include Risk of Rain's sniper character, Mercenary Kings, Star Wars Battlefront, and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger to name some of the most recent titles.

4. Slow motion / bullet-time / V.A.T.S

The first time I ever experienced bullet time or slow motion was playing the first Max Payne game. It was amazing to watch time crawl to a standstill and see the trails from the bullets as they left the  gun. It gave you the feeling of being the ultimate badass -- taking on a large group of enemies and watching them fall in slow motion.

A personal favorite of mine is the V.A.T.S. system in the Fallout games, especially in Fallout 4, where the time doesn’t stop like in the other games of the series but instead is significantly slowed -- still leaving an air of urgency to your targeting choice.

5. over-the-shoulder camera toggle

I know this may sound like a simple concept, but being able to pick whether the cameras looking over the players left or right shoulder was a real game-changer for the shooter genre. Not only does this make looking around corners easier, but it just feels natural.

The game I feel illustrates the usefulness of this is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In The Phantom Pain, your character makes use of a number of different combat positions and being able to switch which shoulder the cameras looking over makes all the difference sometimes. Another game this was also a feature that I relied on heavily on was Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

I know that there are a lot more gameplay mechanics that have helped to make gaming what it is today, but these are the 5 that I feel have really influenced the games that I play.

What mechanic do you enjoy the most? Or, if you think there is another one that should have made the list, what would it be? Let me know in the comments section below.

Game Splicing: Popular Franchises Infused with a Random Genre Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:00:01 -0400 Aaron Grincewicz

 What is a Game Splicer?  It's a futuristic machine (actually a spreadsheet) loaded with the names of 15 popular game franchises and 15 genres. Once a genre has been matched to a franchise at least four times out of nine, it generates a result. I'll then give some thoughts on how the combination could work and stay true to the chosen franchise.

After firing up my device for the first time, the result is:

Gears of War: The RPG

I guess I got lucky with this one. After playing Gears of War 4, I had been thinking about the history of Sera. The environments and cities have such a historical feel to them, that it would be a pleasure to explore the world when humans first settled on it. Maybe we could even help create those cities, with a crafting system similar to the one in Fallout 4, albeit much lighter.

Perhaps, the time between Gears 3 and Gears 4 would make a great setting. With the significant threat to existence gone, humanity started to rebuild; Marcus Fenix started a family, and there was relative peace. There could've been a conflict of some kind, allowing for different sides of a story to be told. Heck, I'd be happy with a mini-game involving running Marcus's farm.

The combat of the series would transfer well into the RPG genre. Sure, it might feel a bit like Mass Effect, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Gears has always had a heavy feel to it, and I think it would be interesting to see how that it translates into some RPG archetypes. Creating a ranged healer character, whose primary weapon is a custom torque bow sure sounds fun. How about a Thrashball player who refuses to drop his ball? Combat could get interesting with a Thrashball ricochet skill.

The sub-genre of RPG is also fun to consider. Could the World of Warcraft approach work on Gears of War? With such an enormous following, a Gears MMO could be successful. The planet is full of caves, manors, and other vast, raid-worthy areas. We've only glimpsed the exotic wildlife that exists in that universe -- it's just sitting there waiting to be killed and looted. The combat could also transfer to a more tactical style, such as the one used in Tom Clancy's The Division. Every time I play that game, it reminds me of Gears.

Multiplayer, as it exists today, would be different, but when you consider that your character could join a Thrashball League, the possibility of that alone becoming an eSport is there. If this article weren't about what my randomizer generated, I could easily make a case for a standalone Gears Thrashball sports game to exist. Even without that sport, Gears multiplayer could continue, nearly unaltered. The series has also done co-op well, so joining a party and continuing that would be almost seamless.

Personally, were I to design this hypothetical Gears of Wars: The RPG, the emphasis would be on the building of the cities, and settlements. That would allow for the inclusion of Horde mode, which is crucial. A primary goal throughout the game would be constructing towns, camps, and the like. Naturally, the process wouldn't go smoothly since various enemies would attack you. When the attacks happen, you enter Horde mode, just like in the Gears 4 campaign, but on a much larger scale.

What do you think of this combination? How would you convert the Gears of War franchise into an RPG? To what other genres could the series successfully crossover?

5 of the Best Voice Actors in Games Tue, 25 Oct 2016 01:58:55 -0400 Aaron Grincewicz

Since I was very young, I recognized certain voices on my favorite shows as being performed by the same person.  As I got older, I learned just how talented these actors are.  One great example is Hank Azaria of The Simpsons, who voices at least a dozen regular characters like, Moe, Chief Wiggum, and The Comic Book Guy. Needless to say, The Simpsons has one of the greatest casts in history. Seth Macfarlane, the creator of Family Guy, is also an insanely versatile voice actor.

As great as those actors are, they are well known. It's often the ones who don't appear on TV that have the longest resumes. For those reasons, and more, I support these actors in the SAG-AFTRA strike.  Some of their voices (like Homer Simpson) pop in my head when I think of just about anything, making it tough to imagine a world without them.  It might seem like an insignificant thing to lose but for me, and many others, they've been a big part of my life. 

In recent years, video games like Call of Duty have started using well-known actors from movies and TV. While this makes the games more like blockbuster movies, there isn't always a guarantee that the actor will give the same Emmy-winning performance in a game as out. Veteran voice actors sometimes don't have the red carpet looks to be motion-captured in games, but they set the bar for the screen actors trying to step into their shoes. So without any further delay, I'll name five of the best voice actors in games today.

#1: John DiMaggio

Games he is best known for; Gears of War series (voice of Marcus Fenix).

Also known for; Futurama (voice of Bender), Adventure Time (voice of Jake the Dog).

"I don't like it when celebrities get voice work. But then again, if I was the producer, I wouldn't want a bunch of no-names doing my show and have to worry about word-of-mouth. I see both sides of the story."


#2: Jen Taylor

Games she is best known for; Halo franchise (voice of Cortana), Left 4 Dead (voice of Zoey).

 Also known for; the voice of Cortana on Microsoft devices. 

"You know, when I was initially cast, something the guys at Bungie said to me was, 'This character is in your head all the time. She is your best guide and the best aid that you have — the only guide and the only aid really. So we don’t want her to sound naggy, we don’t want her to be a pain.' They wanted her to be like the girl next door, your best friend that you want to hang out with.

And she's that and so much more because she is so smart. Obviously, she knows more than we could possibly know. It's always fun to play a character that is powerful in that way."


#3: Mark Hamill 

Games he is best known for; Batman: Arkham series (Voice of The Joker).

Also known for; Star Wars (Luke Skywalker), voice of The Joker in DC Animation.

"I never saw myself as much of an actor. I wanted to be a cartoonist like Charles M. Schulz and create my own world and be able to have a studio at home and not commute and be able to be with my family. I just didn't have the skills to pull that off and so I've gravitated toward theater because I like all of it."

 #4: Troy Baker

Games he is best known for; The Last of Us (voice of Joel), BioShock Infinite (voice of Booker Dewitt), Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (voice of Ocelot), Far Cry 4 (voice of Pagan Min).

Also know for; Voice of The Joker in several DC Animation productions.

"I don't ever want it to be about me. A friend of mine told me, 'The difference between fame and notoriety is fame is when people know you, and notoriety is when people know your work.' The first one is not respectable, but the second one is, because that leaves a legacy."

  #5: Nolan North

Games he is best known for; Uncharted Series (voice of Nathan Drake), Assassin's Creed Series (voice of Desmond Miles), Shadow Complex (voice of Jason Flemming), Batman: Arkham Series (voice of The Penguin), Destiny (voice of Ghost).

Also known for; General Hospital (Chris Ramsey '97-'03), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-Nickelodeon (voice of The Kraang), extensive work with Marvel.

"The Penguin from Batman: Arkham City is a real departure from what I'm most known for. People actually didn't realize it was me. That's the one thing about doing voice over work that people don't realize, and you can interview anybody in this industry, you have to be a good actor as well as having a good voice."

There are several more notable voice actors worthy of mention, but the ones I've listed have the most extensive resumes, acting range, and well-known games.  Their performances often help make the games they are in great.  I should also mention Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman), Tara Strong (voice of Harley Quinn, Twilight Sparkle, etc.), Frank Welker (he has possibly the longest voice acting resume being the voice of Scooby-Doo), and Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime).

Celebrity voice actors are often used to spruce up a marquee, and attract attention, but it's the career voice actors whose names you might not know, that often bring life to the characters they portray.  After reading this article, I hope you'll take notice of the credits from your favorite games, and animation.  You might notice the same names appearing dozens of time, often for more than one voice.

Gears of War 4: Better a Safe Emergence Than a Berserker Approach Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:45:52 -0400 Angelo De Bellis

At the very heart of the third-person shooter genre on the Xbox 360 was the original Gears of War. Gears of War was a trailblazer when it came to doing third-person shooting right. It took a group of disgruntled chunky warfighters to battle with intense gore, cover-based shooting, and some of the most refined high-definition graphics at the time.

What made it such a powerful game in the early days of the 360 era was that it delivered both a thrilling single-player campaign, and what was arguably the best third-person arena-based shooter at the time.  For me, the Gears series is one of the principal reasons I play Microsoft’s Xbox consoles. The Xbox 360 hardware was epitomized by Gears of War: it represented a meshing of graphical fidelity and online superiority.

Though the later games in the series didn’t exactly garner as much might as the original, they were all solid experiences in their own right, and do, for the most part, feel in harmony with the introductory game in the series. With that in mind, the Gears series could have concluded with the prequel game—Gears of War Judgement—because, once combined, all the titles felt like a complete, well-rounded experience.  

But I can’t say that I’m disappointed about the decision to let the series live on in the form of Gears of War 4. Prior to its launch, my chief worry about continuing the franchise -- and I’m sure I wasn’t alone -- was how the new developers would treat the staple series, what I consider the identity of the Microsoft home console.

If you’ve played through or are in the midst of completing the Canadian-developed Gears of War 4, then you likely have great faith in The Coalition when it comes to taking an existing series and doing it right. And by that I mean that as dedicated Gears of War fans, you have probably noticed that much of what made the decade-old series a treat to play, remains largely the same today.

The one issue that seems have been swarming the web is that there are several overt references to past games in the series, including reused gameplay segments, graphical similarities, recycled weapon types, and archetypal enemies.

All of these repetitive inclusions may leave you feeling that Gears of War 4 plays things a little too safe, and I would admit that you are correct. But I’d like to explore why a safe emergence for The Coalition was probably the best endeavor the creator newcomers could have brought to the series, and why it makes sense that they handled the next entry in the franchise the way they did.

Be warned -- if you haven’t yet beaten the game, some spoilers may be unearthed.

Let's Dim the Mood

Starting with the dark aspects of Gears of War 4, one can clearly see that the latest entry was heavily inspired by the macabre horror elements of the original Gears of War. Though the latest release includes a number at the end of its title, I don’t necessarily consider it to be an extension of the series, but rather more of a reboot that just happens to take place in Marcus’ senior years.

Drawing on the dimly lit, gray, bloody aspects of Gears of War, Gears of War 4 really hits the mark when it comes to the overall graphical tone. And this tone is vital when it comes to making the new Gears feel like it belongs amongst the ranks of the original series. For that reason, I would be disappointed if Gears 4 did venture too far into the future of sentient, government-controlled robots.

Uprooting the franchise would have at best attracted a new crowd, and at worst provided an unfulfilling adventure for purists and an erratic, identity-lacking shooter for the newcomers.

Before the release of Gears of War 4, I was unsure about how the DeeBees would fit into the whole experience. I mean, Gears of War was always about seeing chunks of bloody flesh flying around, not about watching sparks and metallic doodads. Luckily the Swarm fills in for the Locust, and the DeeBees don’t detract much from the moody locales present in the new game. The problem with having too much focus on the DeeBees would be that it’d probably make Gears of War feel more futuristic and less horrific. So, while it may be true that the Swarm are a laughable replacement for the Locust, I have no qualms if it means that the game retains the gore and gray of the original.

The mood of Gears is dark and dire, hopeless and persistent; remember the Mad World song that would play during the original’s marketing campaigns? That’s Gears, and the madness of carving through waves of foreign evils to find Kait’s mother paints the mood well.

Not All Skull Pops Need a Good Story

I found that the story of Gears of War 4 wasn’t necessarily a very robust one -- but then again, the original games didn’t exactly have the most detailed narrative encounters. The Gears series has much in the way of lore, high-action sequences, and unique gameplay segments, but the story usually hinges on a single note—kill the ugly monsters from beneath the ground.

And you know what? That’s all I really need. That, some really tight gameplay, and a few comedic moments between the squad members who fight alongside the protagonist, JD Fenix in this case.

There may not exist much character depth between the squad members introduced in Gears of War 4 -- but as in the original Gears, the back-and-forth banter between the beasts in armor does a fine job at exemplifying the comradery and thirst to defeat any foreign threat standing in their way. Besides, the addition of veteran Marcus is a great way to harken back to the old series.

I enjoyed how Marcus, a symbol of an aged franchise, joins and leads the youthful deserters of the COG, almost as if to shepherd them towards a future without him.

Like Father, Like Son

This leads me to my final point. I think it was wise of The Coalition to play to the strengths of the original Gears of War game without necessarily turning it on its head, because it establishes the studio’s reputation for what is to come.

Now that they have essentially quenched the bloodthirst of Gears veterans, they can make a calculated shift in the next entries. And a calculated shift it will be -- did you catch that twist ending? The finale of the game supports an interesting relationship between the old Locust queen and a potential new one, and will certainly lead to some interesting turmoil between Kait and her comrades.

By carefully taking what made the original special, The Coalition traveled cautiously to massage a familiar experience towards a future one that may lead further into uncharted territory.

Uprooting the franchise would have at best attracted a new crowd, and at worst provided an unfulfilling adventure for purists and an erratic, identity-lacking shooter for the newcomers. If it is true that the greatest artists mimic works of other successful artists, then The Coalition does well to grasp onto the backs of giants before gently releasing their grip to proceed onward.

Well, we're not here to sell cookies... So they know something's up.

By coming out like a berserker, Gears of War 4 and the attributed developer, The Coalition, would have risked ruining what made the series great. They could have torn the very fabric of the beloved franchise and tainted the imulsion powering the games going forward.

Perhaps it may have been refreshing to see stark differences between Gears of War 4 and Gears of War, but I’d much rather a safe return to Sera so that future games are guaranteed a shot at success. That, and like many, I am a sucker for nostalgia. Now that The Coalition is well-cemented as a successful Gears of War developer, we should apply just a bit more pressure when it comes time for them to deliver the inevitable Gears 5.

Handmade Necklaces From Your Favorite Game Franchises Mon, 17 Oct 2016 12:02:51 -0400 Kat De Shields

Sometimes you come across a game you love so much, you have to buy some merchandise. If jewelry is your thing, we've gathered some of the coolest handmade necklaces representing your favorite franchises. If you see something you like, you better move fast! Some of these Etsy artists have a limited supply. 

Xbox and PS4

If fighting in an apocalyptic universe against mutant creatures is your cup of tea, then you'll love these two necklaces that pay homage to two of the most iconic "fight to save humanity" franchises out there: Gears of War and Fallout.

Sometimes it feels so good to be bad, and assassins are the biggest BAMFs of them all. If helping Desmond parkour his way through time and space to take out foes and deliver messages was your thing, then this Assassin's Creed necklace is just for you. Or, if Elder Scrolls is your game of choice, you'll love this Dark Brotherhood pendant to signify your assassin's roots. 

Where would we be without consoles? Check out this beautiful Xbox 360 necklace complete with a bronze setting and six Swarovski crystals. This is a must have gift for any Xbox enthusiast. 

PC & Retro 

Minecraft has taken the world by storm. You could say, it's explosive. Allow the walking bombs of the Minecraft universe to tag along with this Creeper necklace

Many gamers have a soft, nostalgic spot in their heart for classic games. Show your love for Pong, the 1972 arcade game that paved the way for so many other video games with this necklace. Or, if you have a Mrs. PacMan to your Mr, this couples necklace made from a quarter would be perfect for you.


The Nintendo Universe is full of adorable things, many of which lead to some truly cute necklaces. For example, who could resist this Heartless from Kingdom Hearts? With intricate detail including a Swarovski Crystal Heart on top, this necklace is sure to capture the heart of any Kingdom Hearts fan. 

If you're a fan of Shy Guys, the timid troublemakers found in Mario's world, then you'll love this stainless steel necklace. Wear it as an ode to a classic franchise, or secretly represent your inner troublemaker! 

Speaking of adorable Mario villains, how many times have you been chomped to bits by a Piranha Plant? Complete with antique brass findings, you can rep your retro Mario pride with this beautiful pendant. 

Every riddle lover is familiar with the Professor Layton series. Now,  you can represent your love for solving puzzles with a pendant. Choose from 10 Professor Layton images, and pick your finish including silver, copper, antique gold and gunmetal black. 

If you're eager to catch 'em all, then you don't want to miss these Pokemon necklaces. GlitzCouture captures Pokemon in little glass bottles that you can wear around your neck. If you have a sweetheart who shares your love for Pokemon, then the couples Pokemon necklace is a must buy. 

Would you like to see jewelry for a franchise that's not included here? Let us know in the comments and we'll create an article just for you!

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I’m always looking for new awesome products, so please send me your favorites at Also, sign up for our Launch Commerce newsletter to receive the best deals of the week right in your inbox. 

5 Coolest Hispanic Video Game Characters Fri, 30 Sep 2016 04:22:52 -0400 Dani Gosha


While there is a lack of Hispanic representation in gaming, it is in fact there but be sure not to mistake Latino characters as being Hispanic as it is easy to do. 


So, tell me who are some of your favourite Hispanic video game characters and why? Did any of them make the list? Sound of below and enjoy the rest of Hispanic Heritage Month!


Character: King

Game: Tekken

Don't let the jaguar head fool you because residential Tekken fighter King is indeed Mexican. There are actually two Kings, King I who was featured in Tekken and Tekken 2 and King II who has been the character used in the rest of the franchise titles.


Inspired by Japanese wrestler Satoru Sayama and Mexican wrestler Fray Tormenta, this Mexican born character has quite the impressive, honorable and redemptive background which is greatly borrowed from Tormenta's good deed of becoming a masked wrestler in order to support a local orphanage.


If that isn't enough to make him a cool character, let's talk about the cool jaguar mask and killer move set that is a homage to Lucha Libre style wrestling. 


Character: Garcia Hotspur

Game: Shadows of the Damned

In my opinion, Shadows of the Damned was a pretty cool game but what made it more cool was the main character; Garcia. Admittedly, I never heard many people talking about this game but Hotspur; nonetheless, should be a mentioned character in this list of coolest Hispanic video game characters.


He's like a Mexican Dante but with an unclear history and just a little darker which is fitting for the game's atmosphere. Tattoos have been a common trait in portraying Hispanic characters and Hotspur has plenty of them granted without the typical gang affiliations. All in all, he's just a badass Mexicano who just wants to save his girlfriend and does it all with a shape shifting demon named Johnson. 






Character: Dominic Santiago

Game: Gears of War

If there ever was a character that was beyond stereotypes and showed Latinos as being relatable characters, Gears of War's Dominic would be my pick. Despite his massive size and being in an intense environment, Dom is both a well developed and emotionally in-depth character you can't help but love and sympathize with. 


One big trait of Hispanic culture is undoubtedly a strong sense of family and his love for his lost family was a great addition to the overall characteristic for him. A nice touch to such an testosterone and action packed game. 


Character: Tyson Rios

Game: Army of Two

Whether or not you're into shooter style games, Rios is a character that you can't help but describe as "cool" and even "badass". He certainly isn't an stereotype which is all the more reason to love him when you find out he's Mexican-American.


Army of Two does an awesome job with depicting Rios' Hispanic pride through his tattoos which become somewhat of a narrative of his character; that is if you're vigilant enough to catch it. 


One tattoo reads vaya con dios which translates to "go with God" while the other; found on his left bicep, is an eagle which is customary for exported Mexican products. 


The fact that EA Montreal managed to create a character with Hispanic ties without being offensively stereotypical is beyond cool and just adds to Tyson's already badass character. 




Character: Isabela Keyes

Game: Dead Rising 1,2 and 3

Sadly, there are a handful of female game characters that are mistaken for Hispanic which tends to make the list bigger than it actually is. Tekken's Christie and Katarina are not Hispanic, they are Brazilian and there is a big difference. However, if there was a handful of Hispanic female characters to choose from in the gaming world, hands down Isabela Keyes would be the best. From character styling, character development and game usage, Isabela is a perfect character to start this list off.


Originally a villain, Isabela does a 180 in the first installment of Dead Rising and it is only up from there. Not only is she one of the most well rounded Hispanic characters in gaming but also one of the most well rounded in the Dead Rising franchise allowing her to be an actual character instead of a pawn to game play. 




In case you didn't know, September is Hispanic Heritage Month so there was no way we could end the month without a little Hispanic culture appreciation. 


Like with most things in life, there tends to be an underwhelming representation of cultures across the board and unfortunately, video games are included but that doesn't mean that representation doesn't exist. While you may have to turn over a few consoles, you'll find that some of the coolest characters in gaming happen to be Hispanic -- painful stereotypes not included. 


So let's hear it for Hispanic pride with these 5 coolest Hispanic video game characters.

Friendship is gaming: the best My Little Pony crossover art Mon, 08 Aug 2016 13:47:43 -0400 Ty Arthur


While there is in fact a freemium mobile game for iOS / Android, the series hasn't made nearly as big an incursion into console or PC gaming as many other famous cartoon series.


Based on all the fan art, it seems like that's a missed opportunity, as clearly gamers are interested in the two worlds coming together.


These 16 crossover series aren't even the bulk of the My Little Pony recreations that have tread into the gaming universe - there's a whole lot more out there to be discovered with a little searching.


Which was your favorite from our list, and what excellent crossover art have you found that should have made the cut here?








In a reminder of how small a number Valve can count to, somebody just had to go here with a My Little Pony mash up. Sadly, there's more chance of this game series coming out and reaching part 3 than there is of the actual Half-Life 3 ever seeing official release...


Sonic: Pegasus Dash




Hah, why not? A high speed platformer where ponies are battling robotic enemies while picking up collectible rings could work, and would probably be some amusing fun for an afternoon or three. Come on indie pixel art developers, hook us up with something unofficial already!






This is perhaps the one that would destroy some minds and kill any remaining vestiges innocence the quickest, even above and beyond the Dead Space or Game Of Thrones crossovers. From the questions of whether the ends justify the means to the unexpected rape scene, this downer of a super hero tale would make some kids grow up real quick...


Assassin's Creed




There's a metric ton of these Assassin's Creed mashups covering the entire series from basic pencil sketches all the way up to intricate digital masterpieces that match the original style.


Templars, Assassins, and everybody in between gets in on the action in this massive series that seems to have really ignited the creativity in My Little Pony fans.


Trotting Dead




Good lord, this one would get you right in the feels as Princess Equestria has to teach Fluttershy some harsh lessons about surviving in the zombie apocalypse... Would you pull the trigger in the last scene, or leave her to die and rise again as a zombie?


Left 4 Pony




Another game that would probably be a lot of fun if given the chance to exist, a Left 4 Dead crossover mashup would be hilarious with ponies reading the dialog.


Derpy would obviously be taking the role of Ellis, and I'd pay money to hear Apple Jack shout "reloading!" while Big Mcintosh yelled about traveling down the "tunnel of love" as zombie hordes swarm all over.




Game Of Thronies




This one would probably be even more innocence-shattering than the Dead Space crossover, and would absolutely give a whole new meaning to that scene where Daenerys eats a horse heart...


Several people have put together opening My Little pony crossover segments in Game Of Throne style, like this one:



Dead Space




Oh man, this would just ruin things for everyone and seriously destroy some childhoods. Imagine all those gut-wrenching, gag-inducing ways Isaac dies in these games (getting an arm torn off by the slamming shutters and watching it float away outside the glass always gets a cringe from me). Now apply all those scenes to adorable little ponies!


Ponies Of War




I'm imagining Princess Luna and her locust pony horde bubbling up from the depths of the earth and sort of wishing this was a real thing. Just think of those epic chainsaw executions... Would Spike take the role of the dreadlocked Skorge from Gears 2?


Pony Of War




No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a blood-spattered pony as Kratos, who probably just accidentally murdered his family and is gearing up to go on a deicidal rampage. OK, I'd actually play this game if it existed, no question about it.


Much like with the Fallout fan fiction crossover, this particular image has been used in a fan fiction story series titled “Bridled Fury” (see what they did there?).


Uncharted 2: Among Ponies




The cigar and mustache are just absolutely killing me, and that cutie mark is perfect! Seeing this style and considering where it could go next is making me seriously wish for some insanely explosive pony mayhem in a Just Cause mashup though...


Final Fantasy 7




I'm absolutely loving Applejack as Tifa and that spot-on Dr. Whooves as Vincent. Serious question though: what would the ponies ride for the chocobo races in Gold Saucer?


Even if it weren't explicitly a Final Fantasy recreation, there's no reason a My Little Pony turn-based JRPG couldn't be done (it actually happened with Sailor Moon back in the SNES days). Somebody out there with RPG Maker surely has given this a go by now?


Dissidia: Final Fantasy




This is another one I'm sort of surprised hasn't actually happened in some form or another. My Little Pony as a fighting game could actually work, especially if they pulled in all those diverse characters of different species. Maybe more of a Smash Bros. feel to keep up the lighthearted nature?


Bioshock Infinite




I'm not sure how Elizabeth would lose part of her hoof instead the tip of her finger, but whatever, this is awesome. The Pony universe gone dark with all sorts of time travel / dimension hopping would be amazing, and I'd easily watch a film recreation of Bioshock Infinite done with horses. That golden Songbird in particular has my interest piqued.


Pony Kart




An enterprising fan on the Game Crossovers section of made a whole series of these vehicles covering most of the different My Little Pony characters.


Incredibly, they include full stats and methods to unlock new cars and racers in a fictional Mario Kart rendition. I'm actually sort of surprised a game like this hasn't happened yet, and its a shame all this work went into something that won't ever get made.


Mario Bros.




OK, so the Italian plumber mustaches are freaking me out, but everything else about this is just absolutely perfect as two classic series collide.


Rather than mushrooms they'd probably get cutie marks to power up, and after a long slog through many platforming worlds, a less-than-amused Rainbow Dash would probably discover that Princess Equestria is actually in another castle!


A few months back while looking for the best NSFW recreations of famous video game art, I stumbled upon some really in-depth Fallout / My Little Pony crossover fan fiction, complete with artwork.


To my surprise, there was a whole lot more to this phenomena than one devoted fan putting a pony in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. That probably shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as My Little Pony's popularity has exploded in recent years.


It's not just little girls who make up the fan base either - there's actually a huge section of the geek culture who are getting in on the action, including the creepy/awesome bronies. We've reached a point of the series essentially becoming mainstream: you can even expect to see all sorts of My Little Pony apparel and knick knacks at your local Hot Topic or Spencers. 


While a good deal of the crossover fan art online is pornographic in nature, there's plenty that's actually SFW, and that's what we're going to cover here, from Mario Kart getting a saddle and hoof makeover to zombie horror games like Left 4 Dead getting an injection of magic friendship.

From screen to board and back again: 9 excellent "cross platform" games Sun, 03 Jul 2016 17:44:26 -0400 Ty Arthur


What did you think of our list of cross platform board and card games, and what should we have mentioned that didn't make our list? When Bloodborne and Gwent finally land, we suspect they'll make the top of lists like these across the web.


If you're looking for more digital card games, don't discount the mobile platform, as Android / iOS are chock full of titles gamers will love, from fantasy entries like Ascension and Deck Heroes (or the ever-reliable Hearthstone) to sci-fi entries like Star Realms.


Sadly there are some that should make the jump from digital to physical (or vice verse) that probably never actually will, like any number of Final Fantasy in-game CCGs. Final Fantasy 8's much-loved Triple Triad and Final Fantasy 9's Tetra Master did get a limited run of physical cards internationally, but good luck finding them anywhere in North America!


What's the mini-game you'd most like to see translated into a different medium for your weekly gaming sessions?


Space Hulk: Death Angel


Here we go with that recursion again! Space Hulk: Death Angel is a card game recreation that has a video game spinoff based on an old board game, which was itself based on the tabletop war game Warhammer 40,000K. Whew, that one got confused!


The idea in Space Hulk is to play as a powerful genetically modified space marine whose abilities are greatly reduced due to the cramped corridors of a giant hulking space wreck. While searching the derelict vessel for ancient technology and cleansing it of any suspected xenos taint, you will be under siege by terrible Tyranid creatures like genestealers.


Death Angel takes the original board game and turns it into a card experience instead, which can even be played solo. If you want to play this original board game version on PC instead, check out the Space Hulk computer game.



Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Colombia


Get It Here


A totally unexpected board game entry, obviously Siege Of Colombia doesn't quite match the time twisting storyline of the video game, but its still an interesting player-versus-player, area control game worth trying out.


Rather than gunning down enemies and sliding across rails as Booker, you take up the role of the Vox Populi or the Founders and attempt to gain as much control as possible of the city each turn, with fortunes quickly changing as cards are drawn.



Magic Duels


Get It Here


Here we're going the opposite direction – Magic Duels is a digital version of a physical card game. To be honest, I'm a little on the fence about this entry in the series, and I actually liked the numbered year entries (2013, 2014, etc.) a bit better as they stuck to the core rules more faithfully.


That being said, this entry in the series is free to play, so there's no reason not to try it out, even if it isn't strictly speaking the same experience as the real-world CCG. Its a great way to pass the evening, whether you love Magic or haven't ever tried the world famous card game before.



Resident Evil


Get It Here


The series may have degraded from atmospheric survival horror to action-focused shooter (with some entries even going fully on-rails), but there's another spin off you might not have seen coming: a deck building card game.


Although there are several large expansion sets, this isn't a collectible game like Magic: The Gathering, so you don't have to continuously put down new money on an endless stream of booster packs, and that's a very big plus.



World Of Warcraft


Get It Here


Alright, so while this is a very fun board game, there's a major caveat here (besides the high prices now that its out of print): there is a truly massive setup time involved.


Seriously give yourself two hours the first time before you even start playing, and definitely invest in some large ziploc bags to arrange out the huge number of minis included here.


Once you learn the rules and figure out how to put everything together though, this is easily one of the highest quality fantasy board games you'll ever have the pleasure of playing. While the mechanics are quite different from either the RTS games or the MMO, the feel of Azeroth is very much still on display.



Gears Of War


Get It Here


This franchise might seem like an odd choice – Gears is as action packed and visceral as you can get – but if you think about it, the cover mechanics and constant moving forward to new objectives actually works for a board game.


This one is a player versus board mechanics game, where all the players are cooperatively battling against the “A.I.” (enemies controlled by card text and changing scenario objectives based on what mission you select), so it's basically a physical rendition of online horde or co-op mode. Based on the quality of the video below, can you guess which company put the Gears Of War board game together?


Frankly I'm surprised there hasn't been a Gears spinoff that goes the RTS route or even ends up a fully turn based strategy game along the lines of X-COM or Heroes Of Might And Magic. Hey Microsoft Studios, are you reading this slide? Be sure to put my name in the credits when that game happens.



Warhammer Diskwars


The Diskwars version of Warhammer is recursive to a different degree: it's a board game spin off using a different rule set based on a video game that's based on the original tabletop war game.


This re-imagined version of the classic fantasy series is a fantastic option if you want to try out war gaming but don't have the time, patience, or skill to paint all those minis (not mention simply buying them with the outrageous prices Games Workshop charges).


The ever-awesome Fantasy Flight created this version, and that's a company that will be referenced more than once on this list. FF has been making top quality board, card, and roleplaying games for decades. If there was an excellent open game license universe that was released during the hay day of the d20 system, it's a good bet Fantasy Flight was responsible.



Pathfinder Adventures


Get It Here


The newly released Pathfinder Adventures is a mobile recreation of a card game, which is a card game recreation of a tabletop RPG, which is itself based on the earlier D&D 3.5 ruleset. How many levels deep did we just go there?


I was more than a little ticked off in my review at how buggy and unplayable this one was at launch. Frankly, I expect better from both Obsidian Entertainment and Paizo.


Thankfully several of those bugs have since been patched out, but there's still more in need of addressing. If you are one of those lucky few who hasn't experienced any crashes or problems, then Pathfinder Adventures is a very fun card version of the typical fantasy romp.



Witcher Adventure Game


Get It Here


A truly recursive entry, this is a PC digital recreation of a tabletop board game that is based on the Witcher video game (which is based on a series of books). When a movie gets made about it and then a book adaptation is spawned from that movie, the universe will probably implode.


This one's a fairly faithful adaptation of the board game, essentially transporting it to your computer screen and remembering all the rules for you. If you can't get enough of Geralt, there's some fun to be had here either against A.I. or even other players.



There has long been a crossover between the digital and tabletop mediums, even though the PC/console-focused sites tend not to mention it all that frequently. Even before there was a Final Fantasy, there were gaming enthusiasts gathered around tables rolling dice and moving miniatures across boards.


It's obvious why there's so much overlap between the two groups. Clearly the folks hanging out down at the local gaming / comics shop picking up anime and playing a few rounds of Magic: The Gathering are also going to be interested in games like Pillars Of Eternity or Witcher III (we're also those people filling your Facebook feed with Game Of Thrones memes and arguments from Sunday night through Monday morning).


There are plenty of instances where the two worlds collide and are in fact completely intertwined, like Pokemon in its digital and physical card game versions. The biggest news lately on that front is that Witcher III's in-game tabletop card experience Gwent getting its own standalone release.


There's plenty more beyond Gwent though, with even the Souls-style Bloodborne having a card game in the works (jokes abound across the net of every card reading “You Died” or “Prey Slaughtered”).


If you've missed the many excellent cross platform board / video games released in recent years, we've got you covered with a list of nine entries well worth checking out.

Gears of War Villain General RAAM Enters Killer Instinct Tue, 14 Jun 2016 08:46:14 -0400 DoubleVendetta

Yes COGS, Gears of War's General RAAM has been confirmed alive, and sighted pursuing a mysterious organization known as Ultratech. While we don't have much further information at this time, be advised we are monitoring the situation closely.

RAAM was speculated to be a guest character a long while back, and later confirmed to be headed for the Killer Instinct roster down the line. With this brief trailer from Microsoft's E3 presentation, those whispers and hints are now a reality. While the short video clip doesn't give away much, there are at least a few things that can be extracted:

One, he shrugs off projectiles like a champ, just like his Gears of War incarnation. Two, it looks likely that he's bringing his knife to that pretty face of yours, command grab style.

It will be interesting to see just how many projectiles his armor can soak, because several characters -- including the likes of Shadow Jago and Omen -- can fire an awful lot of them. If General RAAM can walk through all of them, he could mean a significant change in Killer Instinct's meta when he arrives in game.

A Look Back at What Made Resident Evil 4 so Great Fri, 17 Jun 2016 06:30:01 -0400 John Robson

Time for a detailed, nostalgia-invoking trip down memory lane looking at possibly one of the greatest video games ever unleashed upon the world. Let's delve into what made Resident Evil 4 so great, and which games were ultimately influenced by its design decisions, mechanics, features, etc.

What Resident Evil 4 Did Right

Seamless Cinematic Feel

Resident Evil 4 introduced a seamless transition between gameplay and cinematics which, at the time of the game's release, was generally considered legendary among critics. Gone were the classic Resident Evil cut-scenes where characters would magically shift from low-polygonal, fairly lifeless creations to glorious, high-definition realizations of themselves.

Characters in RE4 would always appear exactly the same regardless of whether there were important moments or not. Scenes of intensive moments featuring various characters in quick time events (QTEs) would blend seamlessly between regular cut-scenes and gameplay -- and then back again without a hitch.


The fourth official offering of the series introduced a completely different camera, much to the surprise of long-time fans. Gone were the days of simply aiming in an enemy's general direction and pulling the trigger, or aiming upwards or downwards to deal with flying or crawling adversaries, respectively. This camera hovered slightly behind the protagonist's shoulder at a distance which ingeniously allowed players the full view of the character, while allowing just enough room behind to notice approaching enemies from the rear. Furthermore, when players decided to aim their weapons, the camera zoomed in appropriately, allowing the player a closer look at their potential targets.

Action-orientated Gameplay

The gameplay in this installment was purposely more frantic, featuring opponents who were more intelligent than opponents from earlier offerings in the franchise. Enemies would be in large crowds, occasionally attempting flanking maneuvers, or approaching from multiple entry points; this meant players naturally would need to be cautious and intelligent regarding positioning and advancing in occupied areas.

Weapons were another aspect of this more frenetic approach to combat. Now, for the first time in the series, weapons actually needed to be reloaded in real-time, so, there was no hiding in the menu combining ammunition with the weapon. If players weren't careful, enemies would gleefully throw their weapons, or bash them with their weapons, during these reloading sequences, so timing was absolutely crucial.

Hit Zones

Taking a certain amount of influence from classic first-person shooters, enemies featured different hit zones. Depending on where they were hit, adversaries would react accordingly. So if they're shot in the arms while wielding a sickle, they'd drop it. If enemies were hit in the arms while attacking, that would also temporarily stun them, allowing follow-up attacks. One of the greatest aspects of this hit detection was the ability to actually shoot weapons out of the air once the opponents threw them.

But that wasn't all the hit detection goodness. Shots at an opponent's legs would temporarily immobilize adversaries, knocking them down. The useful aspect of this wasn't simply just enemy immobilization, but the ability to utilize a physical attack like a kick. Headshots were unsurprisingly also available and these also stunned the adversaries, allowing players the opportunity to unleash another completely different attack.

Immersive Aiming

The laser sight was completely different to what players were typically used to. Instead of a conventional aiming reticle, the laser sight was utilized for aiming at opponents. This was an interesting addition that made aiming at opponents more realistic and made players ultimately feel more immersed in the experience. The other positive aspect of this particular feature was the obvious fact there was more room on the screen without any aiming reticles taking up space.

Blending On-screen Prompts with Gameplay

On-screen prompts were another intriguing addition to this fourth Resident Evil and they blended seamlessly with general gameplay; these prompts were notably available for combat actions like kicks, which were utilized after stunning or immobilizing opponents. Prompts were also available during quick time events, and these weren't used too frequently to be suffocating. If the player failed to press the correct button during the former variety of button prompts, the character simply wouldn't perform the correlating action. But, if the player failed to press the appropriate button combinations during the quick time events, they'd unfortunately become intimately familiar with the dreaded game over screen.

Inventory System

The inventory screen, like many mechanics and features in Resident Evil 4 was completely different from the previous series' offerings. Instead of a chocolate bar-like 6-10 slot inventory system, things were now much, much larger, allowing players to utilize a large attaché case for storing copious amounts of equipment. This inventory system was significantly more complex and dynamic, allowing players the opportunity to complete different actions on their stored items.

It was possible to move items around the inventory and rotate them so they were in a preferred order. This was kind of like inventory customization and allowed players to be painstakingly pedantic regarding whether weapons were at the top, or restoratives etc. The inventory system could even be upgraded several times, allowing more impressive weapons to be carried all at once.

(The inventory screen)

Item Attainment

As this chapter of Resident Evil was significantly more action-orientated when compared with previous games, naturally players required more consumables. Fortunately, the game had an ingenious, if slightly unrealistic, way of delivering ammunition when it was needed. Fallen adversaries would often drop the actual bullets needed for the weapons in the protagonist's inventory; this system was perfect for keeping the action going and especially useful when ammunition stocks were depleted.

Health restoratives were also dropped by adversaries; some of these happened just often enough so the player didn't have too many to choose from at any time. Enemies would really only ever drop them if the player was without many restoratives, or if health was particularly low. The genius of this system relates to balancing and keeping the experience challenging.

Weapon Upgrades

Weapon improvements were a completely different addition to the franchise. Sure, in previous installments, there were occasionally weapons parts resulting in more powerful weapons when combined, but now weapons could be improved in a number of different aspects. Weapons could be enhanced in four different ways: firepower, firing speed, reload speed and capacity. What made this system particularly ingenious was the money required for each enhancement. Since every opponent would have a chance of dropping such currency, it made players honestly care about attaining enough for the next upgrade because, deep down, players really knew and cared about such upgrades.

Even better regarding the system was, once the final painstaking improvement was applied, a special upgrade could be applied. This enhancement would either increase damage, capacity or would have other effects. Certain weapons even had their own unique attachments. Sniper rifles could have different scopes attached and several of the smaller weapons even had stocks available for reduced recoil. Customization was a massive thing in Resident Evil 4, and the fact it was only available after various instances in the game meant it wasn't too readily available and things were suitably balanced.

(The Resident Evil 4 weapon upgrade screen)

Health System with Upgrades

The health system also underwent alterations compared to previous iterations in the series. Instead of frequently accessing the inventory screen to discover the character's current condition, there was a constant health reminder featured within the HUD. The health addition to the HUD wasn't too large, either, so most of the screen remained perfectly unobstructed. Another notably useful feature of the health system was the color change which occurred when players took damage. With plenty of health the colour would be green; with around half it would change orange; under 25% health it would be red. The color feature was a useful reminder to keep on top of things, lest players become once again acquainted with the game over screen.

A completely unique feature to the Resident Evil series was the ability to increase the protagonist's health. Instead of the common green and not-so-common red herbs, there were yellow herbs. These herbs, when combined with the aforementioned varieties, would increase the character's health by around a third of a block. As the character's health began at five blocks, this meant it was possible to increase health significantly beyond this amount; the actual increase was 100%, so that meant ten blocks were available in total.

Challenge and Balance Updated Accordingly

One of the greatest aspects of Resident Evil 4 was how everything gradually progressed as the player progressed throughout the game -- in terms of the challenge, specifically. Now, this isn't related the difficulty settings (easy, normal, professional) It's more related to the balancing of the opponent's health, the player's arsenal, how upgraded that arsenal is, and how much health the protagonist possesses. Enemies throughout the beginning were challenging and took a number of shots to defeat, while equipment was somewhat limited preventing players from overpowering the games most basic adversaries.

Gradually as the game progresses additional weapons can be purchased / attained and upgrades can be gradually applied. While this was occurring, enemies with larger health pools were also progressively being introduced providing an essential challenging experience. By the end of the adventure, when all of the greatest weapons were available and nearly fully upgraded, enemies were equally menacing and more numerous. This, in game design terminology, is perfect equilibrium -- or balance, allowing the game to continually be challenging and exciting. Resident Evil 4 certainly scored top marks in this department; there was always just enough power afforded to the player.

The Bosses

Utilizing everything aforementioned above, bosses were also wonderfully done. Occasionally, there would be a QTE to avoid an incoming menacing attack, keeping players on their toes. But bosses were naturally handled using the proper gameplay, and this meant QTEs weren't again too suffocating. The different hit zones were active on the bosses, also, but there were specifically important weak points the player needed to exploit in order to attain maximum damage. This aspect made succeeding at hitting those weak points genuinely satisfying, especially when low on ammunition or on one of the higher difficulty settings available.

(One of the many bosses)

Plausible Enemy Motives

The science behind the motives of the denizens of the creepy Spanish village was relatively plausible. Like cordyceps, a type of fungus which controls certain anthropods and insects, the enemy's behavior was controlled by a parasitical organism, also. This behavior naturally meant the host, the Human, was completely without any means of control, but also meant the parasitical organism could utilize the host's intelligence for violent, tactical behavior -- and also human social preferences as a guarantee for its spread and success within that ecosystem.

The secondary aspect of this particular parasitical organism's behavior related to "hive-mind" behavior, which is basically the ability of several organisms in a group to behave collectively. This behavior is commonly attributed to many insects, like bees, but it also applies at times to larger animals like Wildebeest. And people.  

But science aside, the denizens would also behave collectively, making their motives and actions scientifically credible. Only when the queen parasite, Sadler, issued commands did the denizens respond, and they also violently defended their master from the protagonist as the player progressed. That's completely conceivable insectile behaviour and relates to Ants and Bees, specifically. Resident Evil 4 really was quite scientifically plausible.

Feeling of Isolation

While the fourth official installment was arguably not as fear-invoking as previous offerings in the series, there was definitely a creepiness about the environment the players found themselves within. Featuring archaic, simplistic farming areas at the beginning made the equipment the adversaries were carrying more credible. As the adventure progressed, areas became suitably darker and grandiose as the protagonist ventured into the castles holding the corrupt leaders who were living in luxury while their servants suffered in obscurity, poverty, and subservience.

What Resident Evil 4 achieved remarkably was the essential feeling of isolation amongst the craziness that was the various environments. The protagonist really was almost completely alone, save for the US president's daughter and a few other companions who rarely showed. It tried its best to carry on this tradition of being isolated throughout the experience by minimizing the amount of companionship and increasing the number of adversaries. It was this one man verses an army in the middle of nowhere mentality that made it both a survival horror and a great action experience.

Twists and Turns

Like Mario, where players are tasked with rescuing a princess, the protagonist of this game had to rescue the US President's daughter. Unfortunately for the protagonist and the player, the enemy is remarkably efficient at remaining one step ahead -- and there's an ostensibly endless amount of (seemingly psychic) adversaries in the way.

This meant that your rescue target was always just out of your reach. The occasional reunions were always brief before she was whisked away again by some plot twist. This could be considered a positive frustration, though, because it forced players to carry on with renewed vigor.

Another way the game's plot was profound was how it combined characters from previous installments. It allowed for a certain amount of character development between the characters throughout the game, perhaps answering questions of what characters were occupied with in the time between the past and current events. Ada, for example, returned with her unique mysterious charm and impressive athletic/acrobatic attributes, continuing the story from Resident Evil 2 where both she and the protagonist originally met. Menacing adversaries like Krauser, again having met the protagonist in another Resident Evil instalment, came back into the fold as well.

One final aspect of the storyline was simply how the game manages to make players ultimately determined to reach and defeat the terrible adversaries which are at the heart of the parasitic epidemic. Every cut-scene features several of these characters gloating about being one step ahead and how the protagonist has no conceivable chance of succeeding. The cherry on the cake really was reaching their final locations and wiping the smiles off their faces, even if that sounded moderately anarchistic.

(The characters and enemies featured in the game)

How Resident Evil 4 Influenced Video Games

Looking around the games industry soon after the RE4 release, it was definitely noticeable that the game had a profound impact on many developers and their subsequent creations. Many video games began adopting similar characteristics, mechanics ,and features notable to Resident Evil 4 -- and many were very large, expensive, and successful games or franchises.

In order to demonstrate just how profound an impact the game made on the video game world, let's fire off a list of just a few of the games that features mechanics and features similar to or inspired by Resident Evil 4.

Gears of War Franchise

Looking around at the electronic landscape, Gears of War is a real standout when it comes to the third-person shooter genre -- and it's easy to notice the similarities in the way the camera is used. Like Resident Evil 4, this camera was purposely zoomed out whenever the player was moving and standing still, offering a 360 degree view of the character, and zooming in would then allow a similar over-the-shoulder view.

Another notable similarity in Gears of War was the seamless cinematic feel. Like Resident Evil 4, there was always a steady transition between cut-scenes and all gameplay graphics looked very much the same as any cut-scenes featured.

Hit zones were definitely featured within the franchise as well -- allowing head shots, knock downs, and stuns depending on where the target was hit. Then, just like the survival horror masterpiece, button prompts appeared, allowing finishing attacks known as "executions" to be implemented.

Fallout 3

Fallout 3 is another one where the emphasis was again on the over-the-shoulder third-person camera featured within Resident Evil 4. While the amount of zoom could be adjusted appropriately, allowing players a wider viewing angle of their environment, the default camera zoom was very reminiscent of the one featured with the survival horror classic. Even Todd Howard, Fallout 3's game director, specifically mentioned Resident Evil 4's camera as an influence for Bethesda Softwork's version during a demo.

Dead Space Franchise

If there's any franchise which features the most profound number of similarites with the horror classic, it's definitely the Dead Space franchise. Starting from the beginning, the camera in both its idle state and zoomed in version is practically identical to RE 4's. Another notable similarity, which is a rarity among the games listed here, is the laser sight view. Here, there was a laser which was remarkably similar to Resident Evil 4. While different weapons in Dead Space featured different sights, the influence was obvious.

An even more obvious similarity is naturally the genre -- survival horror. And Dead Space was certainly that. While the genre is obvious, the key likeness was the action-orientated gameplay the franchise featured. Enemies were numerous, relatively intelligent and relentless; they featured a quickness which easily allowed players to reminisce about the action-orientated gameplay of Resident Evil 4. Enemies were also humanoid and changed by a parasitical infestation -- the same as the horror classic.

Another notable connection is related to hit zones. While Dead Space's enemies were defeated by dismemberment, basically the same hit zone stuff existed and adversaries would react according to the location of shots. Larger enemies and bosses featured another similarity; this time they had weak points which the player needed to exploit to be effective. Like Resident Evil 4's bosses, (a la Salazor and Sadler), giant monsters had large yellow areas indicating those weak points.

The final notable likeness is related to the weapon upgrade system in Resident Evil 4. Here, the upgrade system is available for several attributes in weapons and even for the protagonist's armor, increasing health and oxygen amounts.

Other notable franchises/games which featured all the glorious similarities are Mass Effect with its camera and QTEs, The Last of Us with its camera, genre, health gauge and parasitical enemy; and Deus Ex: Human Revolution with its inventory and upgrade systems.

So needless to say, Resident Evilwas a really important game with a lot of great stuff going for it. What made the game so good for you? And what other games do you think were inspired by it? Let me know in the comments!

7 most geektastic ways to celebrate your inner geek Wed, 25 May 2016 07:15:27 -0400 Ty Arthur


Tell Us What YOU Plan TO Do!


I intend to try all seven of these methods for showing off my inner geek this Geek Pride Day – which one are you looking forward to checking out, and what did we miss that should have made the list?


Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to mention your best cosplays, geeky party ideas, and perfect gaming drinks!


Get Drunk In Video Game Style


Saturday morning cartoons and Harry Potter movie marathons are all well and good, but we're adults now, so maybe you want to celebrate your inner geek in more adult style. No, I'm not about to link to some NSFW hentai games... I'm talking about getting sloshed, silly!


Make a shot/cocktail for every Pokemon in the Pokedex, stir together a Rainbow Road cocktail while you annihilate your Mario Kart competition, or celebrate the tragic (MASSIVE GAME OF THRONES SPOILER) death of Hodor with some mead that would make the northerners proud (END MASSIVE GAME OF THRONES SPOILER).


We've also got a complete guide to amazing gaming-themed drinks to check out right here.


Return To Your Saturday Morning Childhood


Remember all those really, really terrible animated series from the '80s and '90s based around gaming? They still exist, and quite a few of them have hit YouTube and other sites, as they never made the transition to the ultra advanced DVD technology. But those that did are usually super cheap on Amazon.


Today's a perfect day to fill a bowl of your favorite childhood cereal and watch some those wonderfully awful live action Mario Bros. intros that led into some baffling animation. Don't forget the Mega Man or D&D series either!



Get Into Tabletop Gaming


Wait, wait, wait... you don't have a dice set yet? You don't even play Pathfinder at all?!?


While there's a ton of games of jump into for the console or PC crowd at any given moment, why not give the more social tabletop gaming a try?


You don't have to go full blown geek with LARPing (Live Action Role Playing), but there's a ton of fun to be had with friends and family around the table (or the couches, we aren't picky) for a few sessions of D&D.


High fantasy isn't your thing? That's no problem, because the world of roleplaying has exploded since Dungeons And Dragons hit the scene. From the grim dark future of the Warhammer 40K setting to the wackiness of Toon: The Cartoon Roleplaying Game, there's something for everyone: Gothic horror campaigns, tabletop games set in the Dragon Age or Dr. Who universes, zombie apocalypse simulators, steampunk titles and more are all waiting to be discovered.


Pimp Out Your Dice Set


Why not buy yourself a fancy new dice set so you are the envy of your gaming table and the bane of bare feet everywhere?


From those wicked metallic thorn dice to giant foam d20s, glow in the dark d6s, and even sets made from mammoth tusk and meteorite, there's some killer new dice waiting out there for you! Check out our full guide to buying the best of the best in dice right here.


Hold A Marathon Viewing


Now that you've got your cosplay skills all honed, it's time to put it to good use with a theme party! You know you've always wanted to try watching every single Harry Potter or Star Wars movie (well... not the prequels) back to back to back in one sitting.


There's no time like the present: whip up some themed invitations, rig some “floating” candles (probably don't light 'em though, cuz fire and all that), and have your guests show up with some licorice wands and every-flavor beans.

If that's not your speed, just imagine your home bedecked in destroyed Gears Of War form complete with cover points or done up like the underwater city of Rapture... the possibilities are endless!


Try Your Hand At Cosplay


There's more to the way of the geek than just playing games or having video game knick knacks around the house. In fact, there's a whole huge culture based around crafting costumes and showing off your skills to make the rest of the room jealous.


We've covered some of the most jaw-dropping cosplays before from games like Smite or League Of Legends, but you don't need to be a level 95 seamstress or have a beach-ready bod to get into the practice.


Most people start with a trip down to the local Goodwill and a plan in mind for an easy way to try out a new character costume and work their way up from there.


Maybe one day with some dedication, you and your lucky offspring can come up with something as amazing as the Bioshock cosplay above!


Drop Some Cash At Think Geek


After giving us the most glorious plumbus for April Fools, of course Think Geek has you absolutely covered for Greek Pride Day -- or any day, really.


His and hers Han and Leia hand towels? Check. Rolling BB8 car USB charger to fit in your cup holder? Double check. Bowing knight executive pen holder so you can always be the king of the office? Check and mate.


They also have contests going every Geek Pride Day with prize packs available for those who submit a photo showing off some real geekiness!


Did you know there's a whole day just to celebrate the glory of geek culture? It's true, we devoted gamers and sci-fi movie lovers of the world made it up and now everyone has to celebrate on May 25th or get fed to the Sarlacc pit.


It all started with a gigantic game of live action Pac-Man in Spain back in '06, and now it's a hallowed tradition that is spreading far and wide. Sweden even held a parade to honor the day, and now its time for the U.S. and rest of the world to get up to speed and celebrate all things nerdtastic!


But what if the 25th has passed you ask? No worries, every day can be geek day if you let your geek flag fly high!


Here we explore seven ways you should be celebrating your inner geek (or maybe just going along with your geek spouse even if you aren't super enthused about the whole thing).

The fall of the AAA empires is inevitable Thu, 05 May 2016 13:25:48 -0400 Damien Smith

With the big AAA companies ever expanding and the expenses of video game development continuing to grow, the fall of these enterprises is inevitable. With such high costs, companies just can not withstand it forever, but is it possible to avoid the collapse if companies make changes?

The cost of video game development

A perfect example of how the expenses of AAA companies is ever growing comes with the interview that Epic Games' Tim Sweeney had with Polygon's Allegra Frank this week. Sweeney spoke about just how much the cost of developing the Gears of War games has increased with each entry into the series.

Gears of War cost a total of $12 million for its development in 2006. Gears of War 3 cost between five and six times that which would be between $60 to $72 million. Epic Games estimated the latest installment in the series would cost a total of $100 million. That is almost ten times more in development costs in only a decade for a single title.

Such a substantial amount of money would mean that the company would need a massive profit otherwise it would put them out of business. This risk is why Epic Games sold the Gears of War IP to Microsoft and began developing games using a Free to Play model.

With the cost of video game development increasing to almost ten times that of what it was just a decade ago, can companies keep making games at this rate? All it would take is one game to be a financial failure, and it could ruin a company.

It also explains why AAA companies lack creativity in video games today and why we get so many games that feel the same. They can not afford to take the risks without massive investments.

Why does it cost so much money?

I am in no way an experienced entrepreneur sitting on a multi-billion dollar business tycoon, but I can see changes that companies can make to lower their development costs. My first argument is how can indie video game developers create video games that are both creative and fun for only a fraction of the price of an AAA company?

An example of this would be the developers of indie horror game Outlast, Red Barrels. For the development of the game, they were looking for $1 million funding from the CMF (Canada Media Fund) to hire developers for the game. This money is not including having to somehow gain another $300,000 before they could apply for the CMF.

For approximately $1.4 million, Red Barrels was able to create an outstanding horror game. If this is the case, how is it that it costs an AAA company so much money to develop one title? When you think about it, the answer is quite simple.

Outlast consisted of a team of ten developers in total. A small yet manageable team which would be easy to communicate around efficiently. One AAA title could include a group of over three hundred employees. A video game designer earns between $32,000 and $100,000 a year.

A video game programmer makes between $40,000 and $120,000 a year. Those figures are just for one employee. Imagine having a team of over three hundred employees, including artists, a PR department and more. It comes as no surprise why AAA titles cost so much to develop.

These costs do not include the cost of advertising the game and hiring voice actors (often Hollywood actors), which would also come in costing a pretty penny. 

What changes could help avoid the collapse?

Looking at how Red Barrels achieved such success with Outlast consisting of an approximately $1.4 million budget, it is clear that excellent video games of high-quality are possible to develop for far less than an outrageous sum of $100 million. The problem is numerous cutbacks would be essential which is something the AAA companies would not be used to.

The most major of these changes would be team size. Drastically lowering the size of the development team would reduce the overall cost immensely. The issue with this is that it will increase development time for a title. On average, it takes an AAA developer a year to develop and release a title.

A reduced team could potentially double if not triple the time it takes to develop a game. Increased development time is something that a publisher would not be particularly happy about unless the developer publishes the game in-house.

Then there are also marketing cutbacks. The extremes that AAA companies go to with marketing a single game can at times be ridiculous. With the current day and age we live in there really is no need for it. With the likes of Steam and YouTube not to mention websites like GameSkinny and many others, video games get all the free advertisements they need.

There is little need for posters, billboard posters, TV advertisements and any other similar form of ads, which cost money. Why pay for advertising when you are already getting more than you need for free?

A final cutback would be the expensive music composers, Hollywood actors voice acting, and overpriced artists. There are equally as many talented individuals in each of those professions who would be more than willing to contribute to a video game for far less an asking price than others.

Hollywood actors like Morgan Freeman can charge as much as one dollar a word, and famed music composers can charge as much as over $300 per minute of music. It is ludicrous pricing that will continue only to rise as long as companies keep paying them.

There are so many cutbacks that the AAA companies can make to lower the cost of developing video games. What are the chances of them making such changes? I am confident when I say; it is not likely going to happen anytime soon.

The aftermath of the collapse

If or when such a collapse of the AAA empires happens, the result may not be as bad a thing as you may think. If anything, it would most likely lead to better and more creative video games. It would be much like the industry was back in the 90s.

The employees of the giant companies would disband to form small indie video game development companies much like Red Barrels and begin making their games. With crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and services like Steam Greenlight, there would be no problem with gaining funding and a game being available for digital distribution.

I believe that such a collapse would be one of the best things to happen in the video game industry. It would give professional developers an enormous amount of freedom to create what they want to create as opposed to what publishers and big development companies want them to create.

I can only see the clear benefits from this as it would surely bring some incredibly original video games into the market--which the indie market has delivered for several years now. The AAA collapse is bound to happen without changes, but overall it wouldn't be a bad thing for the industry.

What are your thoughts on the AAA video game companies? Do you feel a collapse is inevitable? Let me know in the comments below.

Game franchises that never got the movies they deserved Tue, 19 Apr 2016 14:46:36 -0400 Ty Arthur

It's been more than 20 years since the first game arrived, and now Warcraft is finally getting a movie adaptation (which may or may not be a ploy to boost the sales of the Legion expansion).

Blizzard isn't alone in getting on the movie bandwagon, with titles from nearly every genre soon getting CG or live action entries. Ratchet and Clank and Angry Birds are the next game-to-movie transformations due to hit theaters, and there's a lot more on the horizon.

Assassin's Creed is slated to drop at the end of the year, with Uncharted and a Tomb Raider reboot (reportedly starring Daisy Ridley of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) penciled in for 2017 releases. There's of course also that Castlevania flick has been listed as in the works at IMDB for years now.

There's a big problem with all this adapting though: most game-to-movie shifts are truly, unrelentingly, awful. Super Mario Bros. Prince Of Persia. House Of The Dead. The previous two Tomb Raiders.

It's not just games that have that problem, as there's a similar issue with related media like comic books and graphic novels. Watchmen was everything I want in a movie. Superman Returns was like a bad joke.

  Only time will tell which direction this one goes...

There's myriad reasons for this phenomena on the gaming front, whether due to someone committing the unforgivable sin of handing over the rights (for anything) to Uwe Boll, a low budget, a bad script, or a director who just doesn't know how to transfer a good game experience to a good movie experience.

But for all the schlock that never should have been made, there's still some franchises out there that could – if done right – make for excellent viewing material. Like...

Magic: The Gathering

For the longest time my local pen and paper game store had a joke poster up with pictures of actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger portraying MTG characters, and the lack of a big budget flick seems like a serious oversight.

There is an absolute wealth of lore to draw on here for an endless number of stories: the brother's war, ice age, phyrexia, and on and on with decades of new sets.

A writer and director team could take this any of a dozen directions, from telling personal and intimate stories in an overarching fantasy world to huge, epic-scale battles across the planes.

Why It Won't (Or Shouldn't) Happen: Wizards Of The Coast does not have a good track record with fantasy IPs making it to the movies. I'm not even going to name that one abomination, as it only serves to angry up the blood. I'll just say it had Marlon Wayons and a bunch of CGI dragons and... yep, I've gone an done it, now I'm so steaming mad I have to punch a baby. BRB.

Follow-up flick Wrath Of The Dragon God was better by leaps and bounds, but I'd still present it as “good for a D&D movie,” rather than, “hey have you seen that really good movie?”

While Magic is long, long overdue for a film, keep in mind the Warcraft flick was a two decade pipe dream, so maybe this will happen one day too? Back in 2014, a press release came out saying plans were in the works for a full series of movies, but nothing has come of it, much like with how last year Wizards insisted a totally not-awful D&D movie was in the works as well. I'll believe it when I see it.


Although a non-stop clickfest ARPG isn't exactly ripe for being converted into a drama or horror flick, there is a ton of lore in this universe that could make for an interesting live action movie. The angels vs. demons aesthetic would be stunning rendered on the big screen, and there's lots of room for having either side be the real bad guys.

Why It Will Never Happen: Religious parents. No, seriously. If you think the Satanic Panic and hate for D&D is over, just see what happens when concerned moms on the Internet find out about “that evil Diablo game” getting a film adaptation. Throw in a flaming red pentagram and a demon face and you'll have a massive outcry (which, amusingly, would probably serve just to increase sales and brand recognition).

If Blizzard immediately capitulates to “won't somebody PLEASE think of the children” soccer moms who are upset that butts exists, I can't see them putting themselves out there with a movie about the devil conquering the earth (although to be fair, the replacement pose did seem to be a direct middle finger at the original complainer...)

Dead Space

Yeah, it got an animated movie, but this is one that would be ripe for an all-practical effects, no-CGI horror fest a la The Thing meets Event Horizon. The weird religious themes, the alien artifact, the twisted necromorphs with insanely contorted bodies: Dead Space would make an excellent sci-fi/horror extravaganza.

I'd like to see games like Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite made into movies for similar reasons, even though those take the unsettling ideas and horror in a significantly less gory and more psychological direction.

Why It Will Never Happen: Actually, this one might. My only concern is that it would be a low-budget, poorly acted, direct-to-DVD cheese fest.

Gears Of War

OK, so think about it. If Warcraft does well, why not Gears Of War? Although set in a gritty sci-fi setting rather than a fantasy one, logistically speaking it would be a similar setup with human actors and most likely CGI locust warring it out for domination of a planet. Swap out orcs for locusts and you aren't too far off.

Why It Maybe Shouldn't Happen: While the gameplay, visual aesthetics, and extreme gore are all top-notch, the stories in Gears have always been the weak links. They'd have to really re-think the whole idea and give us some compelling characters with an interesting antagonist to make this one work.


Can you imagine? This one could go one of two different directions:

  • A frantic, fast paced bizzaro movie that just never gives up in the vein of the first two games with insane characters like Tiny Tina
  • A more even-keeled, deadpanned flick along the lines of the Telltale Games entry

Either way has the possibility to be deeply satisfying, and have a whole new generation of kids yelling “oh screw it, just call them boner farts or something!”

Why It Won't (Or Shouldn't) Happen: I imagine this would be a tough sell to a studio (“a 13 year old girl with an unhealthy sexual obsession towards twins blows up bandits at a tea party, and then it really gets weird...”) and of course there's always the possibility it would get taken TOO far over the top and just be un-watchable.


There are a whole lot of interesting horror games that could go in this slot as well: Alan Wake, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, Fatal Frame, and so on.

Among them all though, Outlast has the right length, the right subject matter, and the right horrifying, human-shaped enemies to make a great movie without needing a gigantic budget. The excellent SOMA is another recent first-person horror entry that would work well.

Why It Probably Won't Or Shouldn't Happen: I mean, it's sort of already a found footage movie, since you can conceivably play it through in two hours or so, and they'd probably want to shake up the story a bit rather than just doing the exact same thing as the game.

There's also the fact that found footage seems to be on the decline lately after a long reign, with some of the later entries in the genre going significantly downhill. I'd rather it never get made at all then it get made and be bad -- but then again, I'm a major pessimist.

Even if these games never get their proper big screen debuts, there's still a massive game movie bubble coming, much like the superhero / comic movie bubble that is now in the process of bursting due to extreme over-saturation.

There's about to a be a storm of game-to-movie adaptations, and hopefully some of them won't be the absolute worst. There's an absurd number of games that would make great films if done properly, from Life Is Strange to Fallout and everything in between.

Let us know what game YOU want to see turned into a movie before the bubble bursts!

Gears Of War 4 Footage Leak! Wed, 13 Apr 2016 04:39:42 -0400 JunaeBenne

Hey Gear heads, we’ve got official footage of Gears of War 4 multiplayer. Or rather, we did. Fifteen minutes worth of Gears of War 4 gameplay was leaked recently, showcasing the game's multiplayer mode. The footage was officially leaked on YouTube but quickly got taken down. 

The gameplay appears to show Locust and Coalition going at in in a Team Deathmatch. Characters look a bit more exposed in Gears 4 than they did in Gears 3, because there’s less armor. We’ve already seen the weapons available this time around.

We may not be able to check out the leaked footage anymore, but there's still plenty of video content that's been officially released for us to look at, like this trailer that is supposed to showcase footage from the beta.

There's also footage (below) which was released at E3 2015. It shows the son of the late Marcus Enix. 25 years have passed since the last battle, and there are still things to shoot and destroy.

The Gears of War beta goes live April 18th.