Sharknado: The Video Game – This Is Not A Joke

What's Your Tag?

sharknado2If you can’t wait until July 30th for some Sharknado action, then get your iOS device ready for Sharknado: The Video GameSyfy has promised that the endless runner game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch will be available before Sharknado 2: The Second One airs on July 30th.

I don’t have the word to describe my giddiness over this. My only hope is that it is as ridiculously stupid as the original movie.

(Source: GameInformer)

Bio Card Paul

Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

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Batman: Arkham Origins Blocked Gate

Batman: Arkham Origins BlackgateOne of the better Vita games I’ve played but that isn’t much of an endorsement.

Batman is on patrol in Gotham when he comes across Catwoman for the first time. After a chase and fight, he apprehends her and she is sent to Blackgate. After a time lapse, Batman is alerted to a riot condition at Blackgate. He goes there to settle the situation only to find it worse than he imagined. The Joker, Penguin, and Black Mask are all working plans to use the chaos to expand their criminal enterprises. Now Batman must stop all of them and deal with Catwoman who has tentatively aligned herself as an ally.

Much like the console Batman games, there are good and bad things about this game. As I stated previously, this is one of the better games that I have played on the Vita. With that said though it was also one of the most frustrating. Controls were a big issue throughout the game. When trying to enter an air shaft or other crawl space, you are prompted to hold O or X but if you do not press and hold it as the exact time the game expects you to you may or may not enter into the air shaft. The same timing issue also crops up in game action during fights, particularly when trying to counter an enemy. This is a huge frustration during certain boss fights. On the plus side, the graphics were very good for a handheld game. Keep in mind that this is not meant to be the equal of a Batman console game and is exactly what it was meant to be, a handheld game. The available actions and gadgets are scaled back and this is another plus. It would have been a disservice to the player to try to make them aim a Batarang as they do on the console version.

Even though the name implies a connection to the Batman: Arkham Origins game, there is little if any link other than the name. The story doesn’t hand-off or pick up much if anything from the console game. There is an attempt to bring the two together in the credits if you watch through them. I personally could not figure out when this game fits into the timeline of the Batman game series. It has to be after the story in Origins but felt like it was before Arkham City. If you or anybody knows how this timeline works, feel free to let me know.

As much as I want to recommend this game I can’t, at least not at the current asking price. I enjoyed the game in the long run but also can’t say that its value was worth the cost.  Amazon and other retailers are still asking about $35 for the game.

Unfortunately, this game and its console companion have been less than what I expected. Perhaps the only hope left is that Rocksteady will take the reins back and do things right on the next-gen consoles but will I still be interested by then???

Dead Pace

Dead SpaceA side story to the console classics that makes me want to play the full Dead Space games.

Vandal is tasked by the church on a special mission. Quickly, the mission goods terribly wrong and Vandal’s actions have released an unknown horror that raises the dead as horrible, thoughtless, and violent creatures. In trying to stop the creatures from spreading, Vandal is betrayed again. There is only one last chance to halt the creatures escape and find redemption.

Having never played any of the Dead Space games, this was somewhat new territory for me. I knew a little bit of the Dead Space background and that the iOS game did not have the same characters as the console games. That was not an issue since this game played as a separate story in the same universe. The tone of the game was well done. There were several times I found myself genuinely surprised. Many times it seemed like you were mundanely walking along only to be suddenly attacked.

If you want to play this game you’ll to accept some of the limitations of the platform it is on. The graphics and sound are good considering the platform. For a third person shooter to work the controls had to be modified. Moving around works much like a left analog stick but panning up, down, and side to side is swipe based. The character will only turn so far based on how far you swipe, it will not continue to turn if you leave your thumb at the end of your swipe. This seemed to be more workable than emulating dual analog sticks as other iOS games I have played chose to try.This game played well on my iPad but I felt that the controls may have been better suited for the iPhone screen. I tried to play it on my tv via Air Play but found myself having to look at the iPad when an action required me to tap a specific area.

As much as this game made me interested in the Dead Space universe and story, there is little chance that I’ll actually play the console games. There is just too much coming up that I want to be in on. Perhaps if there is a lull in new releases I’ll come back for these.

At $9.99 the game is in the pricey range for what it is. Beware of the micro-transactions in the game. A lot of money could get dumped into this game real quick and I’m not sure it would be worth it. I had gotten this game for free while Apple was giving it away and I don’t think the in-game purchases are worthwhile even with not paying for the actual game.

Force Pinball 2

Zen Pinball 2Zen Pinball 2 Star WarsYou like the pinball? You like the Star Wars? Then you like the Star Wars tables for Zen Pinball 2. I did.

This is a straight out pinball game so no plot to evaluate here.

On to the game play. Like I said, it’s pinball. Get yourself in the game, hit the buttons for the flippers, and use the sticks to bump the table. The game is just fun to play. Play a quick game or keep playing for hours. Multiplayer matches and leader boards will keep you keyed in.

Get the game free with your PlayStation Plus membership. What? You aren’t a Plus member? Then you have to pay $9.99 but you get both the Vita and PS3 version. The better idea is to just invest that money in your Plus membership. You know you want and need it.

Vita – The Undead Rises and Crawls

PS Vita

Do you own a PlayStation Vita? Come on, be honest. I own one. It is a fine piece of hardware but has obviously been suffering. Let’s get the gripes and problems out-of-the-way first. Then we’ll get on to the hopeful, cheery part of the post.

There are plenty of things that are wrong with this system. Let’s start with the hardware. As beautiful as the screen is, all of the proprietary hardware is mind-bogglingly stupid. The power connection is proprietary. More baffling is that there is a proprietary connection on the Vita end but the other end(what connects to the power supply, computer, or PS3) is standard USB. Why not make the other end micro USB like so many phones or other devices use? Then there is the proprietary memory card. Not only did Sony have to pay for the research and development on this but then they had to invest in the manufacturing of the readers and cards. Are not the usage rights to the pre-existing and dominate SD memory cards and readers cheaper overall? Then the memory cards are crazy expensive. Speaking of expensive, the whole system is expensive. I bought the Black Ops bundle for $250 which I felt was $50 over priced but I really wanted the system because I believed it had promise. I still believe in the promise and potential but I find that $250 was a bit much. The 4GB card is almost worthless since I basically can only have one game installed at a time since it takes the entirety of the card to store it. I hate to say it but the Black Ops: Declassified game was by far the worst game I played on the Vita. With my PlayStation Plus membership I got “free” access to games that were better than Black Ops. Then there is the mystery port on the top of the unit. I’ve wondered and searched the Internet for answers but have not found any answer as to what it is for. If anyone out there knows better than I, please let me know. If you want to look back at the games, you’ll be sad again. Games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss were amazing and stunning. Games like Black Ops Declassified were so bad I pulled out the game card, uninstalled it in the second mission and have never played it again. Despite the Black Ops game having great graphics, I could not get past the overall gameplay problems. I didn’t feel so bad hating the game since almost all of the reviews I later read were about on the same page. Do you want to talk about the lack of software and games? We get to that chicken and egg syndrome of are there not any good games because the hardware is not selling or is the hardware not selling because there are not any good games? AHHHHHHHHHH…..Ok, enough negativity.

There are good points that the system has and shows great possibilities. As I mentioned, the screen is amazing. When used properly, the five-inch screen will blow away any other screen. Games like the aforementioned Uncharted game are nothing short of gorgeous. Even Black Ops was graphically great. Download the YouTube app and watch some videos. Once you get past the different user interface, you will find that even the lowest quality videos look fantastic. Even the touch interface is very responsive. Granted, some of the implemented uses are less than ideal, it does mechanically work extremely well. I think the use of the touch interface can be resolved with developers learning how to use it properly. WiFi is rock solid on the unit as well. Netflix will take advantage of both the screen resolution and WiFi connection to give you a great experience. I watched several entire episodes of Arrested Development on the Vita just to see how it performed. My only regret was that I had to hold the unit through the entire episode because I did not have something to prop it up against. The controls work very well when used correctly. I say it that way because I have played games where the analog sticks were “wonky” and other games where the same sticks were spot on. This tells me that developers just aren’t on the same page on how to use the resources on this device. The system feels good in your hand when playing. I have what I consider large hands and I feel comfortable with the system.

Why should you have hope for this system? First off, price drop. Sony announced a $50 price drop on the system effective the day after the announcement. Beware though, it seems that this has not been enacted accurately. The Black Ops bundle I bought from Amazon, shows as selling for more than I paid for it months ago versus at this time. Hopefully this is just an error in their system at this time or the fact that it has become a rarity over time. Even the proprietary memory cards got a “substantial” price reduction. But there are also new games coming soon. I played a beta for a game coming soon to the Vita. I have nothing to say other than it convinced me to order it. I didn’t think I would even be interested in this game but I completely converted and now I must have it. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is also coming. This is poised to be a terrific compliment to the Batman: Arkham Origins. I’ve pre-ordered both of these games. Want to talk remote play? With the impending release of the PlayStation 4 in November of this year, we wait with bated breath as to which games will support remote play on the PS Vita. I’ve played Wii U games on the handheld controller of the Wii U and if Sony can replicate that experience, there will we a good reason to run out an buy a Vita. Granted, there will be limitations and differences when playing on a Vita versus a full fledged PS4. There has to be since the button configuration is not the same. A sacrifice that the PS Vita designers made and now have to live with.

The Vita isn’t ready to run, maybe it isn’t even walking yet. Poor marketing and poor development have hampered it. But the coming months could be the beginning of its glory days. I whole-heartedly await the day that I can be watching a college football game on my tv and playing a full fledged PS4 game on my Vita. That will make the commercial breaks much more tolerable.

Fast & Furious Sux: The Game

ff6Do you like cars? Do you like fast cars? Do you like cars racing? Do you like loose plots of people racing cars and fighting crime? Then you are a Fast & Furious fan. While you wait for the sixth movie to arrive, take some time to download this game but set your expectations appropriately.

Let’s take a look at the good and the bad things about the game.

Good things – it’s free, great graphics, and good controls. The base game is free but it uses micro-transactions(more on that later). I played this game on an iPad 3 and was very impressed by the quality of the graphics. Every car looks exactly like its real world counterpart and as you add upgrades the detail is shown every time you race. You don’t steer your car in this game. The game is based on drag racing so your controls are for shifting, drifting, and nitrous.

Now on to the bad – unclear ranking system, micro-transactions, and waiting for purchases. Each car is rated based on the its abilities/characteristics(grip, power, weight, gearbox, and suspension) but it doesn’t seem to correlate correctly. For example, in one race my car has a rating of 300 and the opponent has a rating of 278. Based on that I should be able to win but some how this opponent blows past me on the last half of the race every time. As far as the micro-transactions, some are not so micro. There is a $99.99 transaction in this game and I’m not sure that gets you everything in this game. To get upgrades and cars you have to spend the points and gold you earn racing. If you want to fast track you can buy fake gold for the game with real money from your life. To further exacerbate this, when you buy upgrades for your car you will have to wait fifteen minutes for it to be delivered or you can use gold to get it immediately. This is a blatant and terrible way to draw people into spending money on this game.

The game is both fun and frustrating at the same time. The races are short but well laid out and the controls are easy to follow. Trying to progress through the game is limited by your car’s ability. You won’t be able to progress in the main story line until your car is good enough to win certain races. This goes back to doing other races or straight out paying to earn upgrades. If you are willing to drop cash into an iOS game, you can spend as little as $2.99 or as much as $99.99. I’d be really curious to know how may people paid $99.99 in a free game but I’m sure we’ll never know. The game is good if you want to jump in and out of a quick race every now and then. Check it out and if you don’t like it just delete it. I won’t cost you anything unless you want it to.