Four Letter Nerd

Tag - Video Games

Casual Game Review: Mad Max

Mad Max was easily my favorite film of 2015. Everything about it was perfect, and I’ve seen if five times, and each time I watch it, I see/catch something new. Not many movies can keep showing you different things after that many viewings. A couple years back at E3 (the annual gaming convention) the game was announced, and I was instantly excited. I grew up watching Mad Max, I remember when USA or TNT used to always play those movies, and my brother and I would be glued to the screen, and fascinated by the post-apocalyptic world that George Miller brought to life. Mad Max is actually the series that started my love for the post-apocalyptic film genre. To this day, my brother and I will watch any movie that falls in that genre, no matter how bad or cliche it is. But luckily, Mad Max: The Game, doesn’t fall into that category of bad or cliche.

According to MadMaxGame.com the plot to the game, is as follows:
In a world gone mad, only the savage survive. In the Wasteland it’s every man for himself. Playing as reluctant warrior, Mad Max, you must embark on a treacherous journey to build the ultimate war vehicle, and leave the madness behind.

Overview:
I would say that I have logged in at least 15 hours of game play in the last two weeks. I’m not a hardcore gamer, and that will show in the review, hence why I’ve only logged 15hrs of gameplay. But, in those 15 hours, I have had a blast playing as Max Rockatansky facing off against the savages that occupy the wasteland. The game is a fun “sandbox” game, which means it’s open world and has a ton of activities that you can partake in, besides the main story quests. The main objective of the game is to build the ultimate “Magnum Opus,” which is the ultimate war vehicle. After your Interceptor was stolen/destroyed and you were left stranded and forsaken in the desert by a group of Warboys, (run by Immortan Joe’s son Scabrous Scrotus) you meet a character named “Chumbucket,” (no, he’s not Plankton from Spongebob…) who is a zealous blackfinger (mechanic) and believes you are the chosen one to harness The Angel of Combustion. He then helps you rebuild your car, the Magnum Opus, in order to make the Wasteland a better place, you must team up with survivors and defeat the warlords of the Wasteland on your journey to the Plains of Silence.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is awesome. As I said above, I have been a Mad Max fan for years. Honestly, I never dreamed of the day when I could play an open world game as Mad Max. As a kid, I always pretended that my Hot Wheels were either cars from James Bond or Mad Max, so it’s a special feeling to be 22 and playing a video game that you imagined at 8 or 9 with toy cars. The gameplay reminds me a lot of two previous video game franchises that I think people will be able to relate too: Twisted Metal, and Batman: Arkham.

I mention Twisted Metal because of the vehicle dynamics. I would dare say you spend about 75% of the game driving in your vehicle, and waging war on patrolling vehicles, and war parties. The further you go into the wasteland, the more powerful the vehicles become. So, it’s very important to always level up your vehicle. The way of leveling up consists of destroying enemy vehicles, or enemy building, and collecting the scrap metal from explosions. The more scrap you collect, the more you can upgrade your Magnum Opus, and Max himself. Most upgrades cost between 300-600 pieces of scrap, which can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour depending on where you are searching, or how many vehicles you encounter in the wasteland. Like Twisted Metal, this game is all about destroying the enemy’s vehicle. From using the Harpoon Gun to rip them out of the vehicle, throwing boomsticks at enemies, and
sometimes being forced out of your vehicle and fighting in hand to hand combat with Warboys.

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Always customize your Magnum Opus, so you can fight effectively.

This is when the Batman: Arkham series tie into the game. The fighting combat is very similar to Batman, where you are prompted before counters and the flow is very similar to the feel of that game. The fighting scenes can be absolutely brutal in the game. There are moments when Max will pick a character up and drop him on his head, causing his neck to snap, other moves involve your iconic sawed off shotgun being pressed into someones stomach and you just blow them away. One of the most painful moves would be the bone breaking counter, which snaps the bone out of a warboy’s arm and leaves them stunned for a moment, and while stunned you can stab them in the back of the head with a shiv, similar to something you would see in one of the prison scene on Sons of Anarchy. The game is absolutely brutal when it comes to fight scenes and when Max reaches Fury Mode, all hell will break loose. And leave all enemies dead on the ground.

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Final Thoughts:
If you have seen Fury Road, or any other Mad Max films, this game is a must have for a fan of the series. The game takes place somewhere between Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road, so seeing Fury Road isn’t a requirement for the game, but it will seriously make things flow easier for you. The game is very much like the movie where it’s all out crazy and far from sanity. From one of the first cutscenes to much deeper in the story, my stomach has turned and I’ve witness gross things in the wasteland. This game truly takes a savage to survive. From eating maggots in rotting corps to stay alive, to fighting warboys and vultures, you will always be left wonder what’s going on, and wandering the wasteland. Two final notes that are worth mentioning, since the game takes place in Australia, the driver side of each vehicle is on the right side of the vehicle. EVERY TIME I enter the vehicle, I get in on the wrong side, and chumbucket was mentioned this multiple times in the game. Also, always keep a spare thing of guzzoline in your magnum opus because the vehicle WILL run out of gas. It’s a very neat, but also frustrating aspect of the game. But, in a world where guzzoline rules the land, if you don’t have it, you won’t survive.

Local Spotlight: The Score

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This week I interviewed Zach, the new co-owner of The Score. The Score is a video game store located just outside of Nashville, that has been open since 2009. I got to pick Zach’s brain on lan gaming, the future of used games, the selling of violent video games and much more.

The Score focuses on being a part of the game community, rather than just another game store. They have specialized in selling retro games and consoles, now under new ownership they plan to to take things to the next level and focus on competitive gaming. When asked on specializing in competitive gaming Zach says: “Everyone that works here has been to some form of big scale tournament. Scott (co-owner) and I have been competing at MLG events since 2006, so we like to think we have a handle on that part of things.” The Score wants to make LAN gaming a staple in the Nashville gaming community. “I would love to give everyone a place to come hang out and game, whether its League of Legends, Counter Strike, or Call of Duty, I just love being in that atmosphere; If you go to a LAN center you already know that when you walk in you have something in common with the other people there.” says Zach. In addition to no lag, the interaction that you have with fellow gamers offers a great environment for community and gaming. The staff is working hard on adding a LAN center to the store, to provide a place to game and hold events. The plan is to include 10 top of the line gaming computers as well as Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles.

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The Score has competitive prices on used games as well. They base their pricing around the bottom third of Amazon prices and on 90 day moving averages online. The distribution for videos has changed a lot over the years, however. With internet speeds becoming faster and more accessible, digital downloads are becoming a popular option among gamers because of convenience, among other things. DRM has been a hot topic as well, for negative reasons. Microsoft just went through a PR nightmare regarding the Xbox One, in which they planned to allow a game that you own to be played only on your system and to pay a fee if you would like to transfer that title. This would have essentially eliminated the used game industry, had there not been such an uproar among gamers. Obviously these changes are going to have an effect on traditional brick and mortar game retailers. “That has been a concern, but people will always want used retro games. I just sold a NES with every Mario Bros game. It is a huge challenge we will all have to overcome, but I do not believe that used games will become any less relevant.” says Zach. By being focused on community first, I expect The Score to be around for awhile.

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Another controversy that has been around since the days of Doom and Mortal Kombat, is violent video games. There are restrictions put in place to prevent these games falling in the hands of younger games, but they manage to fail a lot of times. It’s not uncommon to go in to Walmart and see a mother purchasing an M rated game for her 11 year old son. Does Walmart care if a 11 year old kid is playing Grand Theft Auto and killing prostitutes? No, most would assume they only care about the profits. This tends to backfire and make the gaming community look bad. The Score wants to build on their community and prevent those things from happening by taking proper precautions. When asked about this, Zach says: “There have been around 30 people that I have either turned down or talked out of buying M rated games. I wouldn’t want my children exposed to some of the elements in certain games, so why would I sell them to kids or unsuspecting parents?”

If you’re a gamer looking for great gaming, community and competition, check out The Score because that is what they are all about. Expect to see more from them in the coming months, with the releases of all the new game consoles and holiday game season. Always support small businesses, especially one like The Score that empowers a local community of gamers. Be sure to check them out at the Nashville Wizard World next week. They are holding a free to enter Injustice: Gods Among Us tournament, with the grand prize being a Playstation 4.

 

 

 

“Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right,B,A. CUT! That’s a wrap.”

Movies based on video games are historically terrible. They often end up being the film equivalent to whatever Harry Dunn left in the toilet in the famous “Turbo-Lax” scene from Dumb and Dumber. And they don’t stop. Recently, an official release date was announced for a Warcraft film and I feel like that have more potential for failure than success. Now I am in no way a WOWer, but I honestly HOPE that the movie will be good. The source material makes me think that if they approach it the right way it could be a more brutal and barbaric version of Lord of the Rings. Plus, being a metalhead, I’m aware that the lead singer of Cannibal Corpse is into Warcraft and I feel like making a bad movie out of something that is beloved by a guy whose nickname is “Corpsegrinder” might inadvertently put you on his shit-list.

 

"Hi. I heard you wrote the World of Warcraft movie that bombed at the box office. I'd like to have a talk with you in a nearby abandoned slaughter-house."

“Good evening. I heard you wrote the World of Warcraft movie that bombed at the box office. I’d like to have a ‘conversation’ with you in a nearby abandoned slaughter-house.”

 

Also recently, a trailer was released for the feature film version of Need for Speed, staring the brilliant and talented Jesse Pinkman. Aaron Paul! I meant Aaron Paul! (Sorry, I’ve not yet accepted that Breaking Bad is over.)

 

 

I’m in Aaron Paul’s corner, so I’ll see it regardless of how nothing-like-Need-for-Speed it is. But frankly, this just looks like another car-revenge movie that they slapped the “Need for Speed” logo on. I mean, just because I put on a Miami Heat jersey and shoot hoops in the driveway with my kid (and selfishly forsake a professional sports team in the state I was born and raised in, thus forsaking the entire state itself) doesn’t mean I can call myself Lebron James.

 

I *might*... still be a tad bit resentful.

As an Ohioan, I *might*… still be a tad bit resentful.

 

I don’t feel like any movie based on a video game has totally nailed it yet, with maybe the exception of the Resident Evil films which I’ll leave off this list as they really need no defending due to the fact that the franchise is VERY successful and probably the only real representation of how to make a quality video game movie. But, I feel like not ALL video-game-based films were as horrible of abominations to humanity as they get labeled, and I’d like to take a minute to give those few some deserved credit, in no particular order…

 

Silent Hill

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I remember seeing this movie in the theater at the latest showing and me and my friend were creeped out walking to our car afterwards. The creature designs here were incredibly morbid and the scene where Christabella is murdered by haunted razor-wire… that still goes down in my book as one of the most horrible cinema-deaths of all-time. (If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.)

 

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

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While not quite being as financially successful as the first one, the Tomb Raider sequel was infinitely better and, in my opinion, is a much better representation of how great Angelina Jolie is at being an action hero. (Although, Wanted is by far her best action film.)

 

Max Payne

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I love Mark Wahlberg. I think the dude can do anything. Does this movie have some flaws? Sure. Is is loyal to the plot of the game. Absolutely not. But it’s fun to watch. The special effects and cinematography are great, and this is one video-game-film you can watch with your mother. (Say “hi” to her for me.)

 

Double Dragon

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Time magazine listed this movie in their “Top 10 Worst Video Game Movies of All Time” list. But, I love this movie so my gentlemanly response  is “f— Time Magazine” (cause they’re worried about my opinion right?). And, granted, pretty much everyone else who’s seen this movie also passionately loathes it, but f— them too. I’m probably just biased to this, relentlessly awful, film because I watched it so much as a kid and would pretend to be Jimmy and make my brother be Bo Abobo and I would kick him in the head. Basically, I just love this movie because it gave me a fantasy reason to kick my brother in the head.

 

Mortal (f—ing) KOMBAT!

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Just like Double Dragon, my sentiment for this movie is what keeps it on my favs list. Oh my god, the make-up effects for Goro made him look so unbelievably cheesy but when I was 10 I didn’t care one bit. I love every fight scene in this movie. I wanted to be Johnny Cage SO BAD. Every time me and the dudes in my neighborhood would play Mortal Kombat I would always be him. I remember recreating the Johnny Cage – Goro fight scene in the woods by our house. There was this big ditch there and I would kick this dude Lucas down into it (he was a douche-bag so we always made him be Goro).

 

None of these movies are perfect. Pretty much all of them are FAR from it. And you could argue that most of them would have been better had they been rated R, but that didn’t help video game movies like House of the Dead and BloodRayne be better films so who’s to say. Hopefully the future of video game films proves to be much brighter than it’s past but even if it isn’t, we’ll always have this…