Drunken Monkey Tech – 2009 Game Of The Year Awards

bastardssmall.jpgIt’s that time of year again. Okay, in hopes of helping you with your holiday shopping, we’re doing it a little early.

Games released before Black Friday (November 27, 2009) were considered. Anything released during the remainder of the calendar year will be considered for our 2010 awards.

If you’d like to hear how we came to our decisions, you can listen in on the entire conversation in Episode #106 of Drunken Monkey Tech Podcast.

Without further ado, our winners.

Best Racing Game
Winner- Need for Speed: Shift
Runner Up – Dirt 2

Best Music Game
Winner – The Beatles: Rock Band
Runner Up – DJ Hero

Best RPG
Winner –
Borderlands
Runner Up – Demon’s Souls

Best Action/Platformer
Winner – (TIE) Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time and Batman: Arkham Asylum

Best First-Person Shooter
Winner – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Runner Up – Halo 3: ODST

Best Co-op Game
Winner – Resident Evil 5
Runner Up – Halo 3: ODST

Most Innovative Game
Winner –
DJ Hero
Runners Up – Flower and Dead Space Extraction

WTF?!? 2009
Winner – Noby Noby Boy

Best Portable Game
Winner – Resistance: Retribution
Runner Up – Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Best PS3 Game
Winner – Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Runner Up – Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time

Best Wii Game
Winner – Dead Space Extraction
Runner Up – MadWorld

Best XBox 360 Game
Winner – Halo 3: ODST
Runner Up – Halo Wars

Game Of The Year 2009
Winner – Borderlands
Runner Up – The Beatles: Rock Band

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Game Review: Borderlands (PS3/XBox 360)

Mixing a first person shooter with role playing elements has been done before (Deus Ex, Fallout 3), Borderlands offers something different. I honestly knew very little about Borderlands until after it was realeased. I had heard the name but never bothered to look into it and really didn’t know what it was about until a friend made me check it out.
Borderlands take a different approach on what I like to call a Hybrid genre. Fallout 3 was an amazing game but turned some people off with it’s VATS targeting system and difficult aiming when trying to play without VATS. I love Fallout 3 and still play it but I couldn’t help but have moments where I wished it was a bit faster paced and had some kind of multiplayer. This is where Borderlands comes in, imagine a full speed FPS with a skill tree like Diablo. Add in cooperative multiplayer,a vehicle, and a metric ton of weapons and you have something to talk about.
There are four characters to choose from when playing each with a special ability and prefered weapon types. They are as follows:
The Soldier – Prefers Combat Rifles and shotguns. His ability deploys a turret to attack enemies.
The Hunter – He is the sniper and prefers of course sniper rifles. His ability is a pet Bloodwing that he sends to attack enemies.
The Siren – Prefers elemental weapons. Her ability to phase walk makes her invisible, damaging enemies and move faster.
The Berserker – Likes explosive weapons and his ability is a Rage mode that lets him pund on enemies.
Each of these characters/classes has a corresponding skill tree that with each level (after level 5) grants you one point to allocate to an ability on the skill tree. This method allows you to mix and match many different build types and offers a lot of replay value to this title.
While there are preffered weapons for each class, you can use any weapon you want throughout the game and the more you use a weapon type, the better your profficiency level gets. With each profficiency level you receive a bonus for using that weapon type.
In a nutshell, you are on a planet named Pandora that was thought to be full of rich resources but in the end turned out to have next to nothing of use on it. The mining company pulled out and left behind the colonists and criminal element that they employed. There is a story of a hidden Alien vault that was thought to be just a story to tell children but after some finding could actually be real. This vault has vast alien technology and promises of riches beyond belief. Your a vault hunter and it is up to you to find out if the vault is real and on Pandora.
The visuals in the game are amazing and unique. Utilizing the Unreal engine and cell shading is a nice mix of great effects and a comic book feel.
The humor in the game deserves a mention, I often found myself laughing out loud and often. Some of my favorite mission types are the voice notes from Tannis, they completely crack me up and can very twisted. The voice acting in the game is top notch and really adds to the game and makes the humorous that much funnier.
Playing the game feels like a normal first person shooter with the exception of damage numbers flying in the air as you shoot enemies and experience points for your kills and completing quests. The achievements/Trophies are not terribly difficult to obtain , and even though there are approximately 160 or so quests they don’t ever seem to get boring or repetative to me. There are also in game achievements (kinda like the critierion ones in Burnout) that you can aspire to complete as well and they do have their rewards in the form of experience points.
Multiplayer is also available and comes in my favorite form; Drop in, drop out. This allows you and three other friends to join up and work together on missions that you may be having difficulty with and just have a lot of fun in the process. The difficulty scales on the fly when people join your game and scale back down when you leave. That way it’s not a walk in the park when you have a full team of 4 players.
As you can guess from reading this, I love this game. I Highly recommend that you stop reading this and buy 2 copies right now, one for you and one for a friend.

borderlandsboxMixing a first person shooter with role playing elements has been done before (Deus Ex, Fallout 3), Borderlands offers something different. I honestly knew very little about Borderlands until after it was realeased. I had heard the name but never bothered to look into it and really didn’t know what it was about until a friend made me check it out.

Borderlands take a different approach on what I like to call a Hybrid genre. Fallout 3 was an amazing game but turned some people off with it’s VATS targeting system and difficult aiming when trying to play without VATS. I love Fallout 3 and still play it but I couldn’t help but have moments where I wished it was a bit faster paced and had some kind of multiplayer. This is where Borderlands comes in, imagine a full speed FPS with a skill tree like Diablo. Add in cooperative multiplayer,a vehicle, and a metric ton of weapons and you have something to talk about.

There are four characters to choose from when playing each with a special ability and prefered weapon types. They are as follows:

The Soldier – Prefers Combat Rifles and shotguns. His ability deploys a turret to attack enemies.

The Hunter – He is the sniper and prefers of course sniper rifles. His ability is a pet Bloodwing that he sends to attack enemies.

The Siren – Prefers elemental weapons. Her ability to phase walk makes her invisible, damaging enemies and move faster.

The Berserker – Likes explosive weapons and his ability is a Rage mode that lets him pund on enemies.

Each of these characters/classes has a corresponding skill tree that with each level (after level 5) grants you one point to allocate to an ability on the skill tree. This method allows you to mix and match many different build types and offers a lot of replay value to this title.

While there are preffered weapons for each class, you can use any weapon you want throughout the game and the more you use a weapon type, the better your profficiency level gets. With each profficiency level you receive a bonus for using that weapon type.

In a nutshell, you are on a planet named Pandora that was thought to be full of rich resources but in the end turned out to have next to nothing of use on it. The mining company pulled out and left behind the colonists and criminal element that they employed. There is a story of a hidden Alien vault that was thought to be just a story to tell children but after some finding could actually be real. This vault has vast alien technology and promises of riches beyond belief. Your a vault hunter and it is up to you to find out if the vault is real and on Pandora.

The visuals in the game are amazing and unique. Utilizing the Unreal engine and cell shading is a nice mix of great effects and a comic book feel.

The humor in the game deserves a mention, I often found myself laughing out loud and often. Some of my favorite mission types are the voice notes from Tannis, they completely crack me up and can very twisted. The voice acting in the game is top notch and really adds to the game and makes the humorous that much funnier.

borderlandsrating

Playing the game feels like a normal first person shooter with the exception of damage numbers flying in the air as you shoot enemies and experience points for your kills and completing quests. The achievements/Trophies are not terribly difficult to obtain , and even though there are approximately 160 or so quests they don’t ever seem to get boring or repetative to me.

There are also in-game achievements (kinda like the Critierion ones in Burnout) that you can aspire to complete as well and they do have their rewards in the form of experience points.

Multiplayer is also available and comes in my favorite form; Drop in, drop out. This allows you and three other friends to join up and work together on missions that you may be having difficulty with and just have a lot of fun in the process. The difficulty scales on the fly when people join your game and scale back down when you leave. That way it’s not a walk in the park when you have a full team of 4 players.

As you can guess from reading this, I love this game. I Highly recommend that you stop reading this and buy 2 copies right now, one for you and one for a friend.


http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&npa=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=FF0000&t=bombbrian-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=B000WMEEBM

PS3 Firmware 3.10 is live!

avatar_37Well not to long ago I put up a story about the new things in 3.10  If you didn’t see that story well read on.

This update will add Facebook features which are as follows

  • Update Facebook status with PSN purchases
  • Update Facebook status with trophies earned
  • Update Facebook status with game events

All these options are something you can turn on or off depending on what you want to do.

If you have them on then Facebook will update your status depending on what you have on.

Also with this update you get the option to change the gray box on your friends list for your PSN ID to a different color that will display for the others on your friends list as well.

This update is a simple one so not to big a deal, and personaly I don’t want to have my PS3 update my facebook for me and bug everyone of my facebook freinds with that stuff.

PS3 Trophy List: Jurassic: The Hunted

Jurassic-The-HuntedDue to the focus on Modern Warfare 2 recently, we almost missed this game. Glad we didn’t cause it’s actually a decent dinosaur game. With 32 trophies in all, check out the full list for Jurassic: The Hunted below.

Bronze

Welcome to the Jungle
Kill 50 Deinonychus

Woah
Kill 1 dinosaur during an Adrenaline Burst

Preparing for the Future
Repair all broken entrances before unlocking the gate

Pack Hunting
Kill 3 Raptors with one grenade

Who Needs a Bug Zapper?
Kill 50 Pterosaurs in Rise Above

Death from Below
Kill 1 Pterosaur with a grenade

Blast in the Past
Kill 20 Dinosaurs with grenades

Plumber Stomachache
Destroy 50 exploding mushrooms

1-Up
Kill 1 enemy using an exploding mushroom

Crispy Critters
Kill 5 Scorpions with the RPG

Scorpion King
Kill 50 Scorpions

Chicken Chaser
Kill 50 Velocirators

*Die in a Fire
Killed by fire or lava

*Allergic Reaction
Killed by thorny plants

*Clever Girl
Died in a Raptor Melee sequence

*Mari-Ouch
Killed yourself with an exploding mushroom

Silver

Raptor Extinction
Kill 100 Deinonychus

Not so Fast
Kill 3 Raptors during a single Adrenaline Burst

Adrenaline Junkie
Kill 25 dinosaurs during Adrenaline Bursts

Gunman
Kill a dinosaur using each weapon

Firepower
Kill 50 dinosaurs using stationary weapons

Dinomite!
Kill 50 Raptors with a single shot each

Six Foot Turkey
Kill a Utahraptor

Outta Nails
Complete any fortification objective without repairing

Handyman
Complete any fortification objective without the dinosaurs getting in

Gold

These are not the Hammer
Kill 20 dinosaurs using melee attacks

What a Prick
Suvive a Spinosaurus attack

I’m the King
Kill a Tyrannosaurus

Nuck Chorris Rex
Complete the game without dying

Life Finds a Way
Complete the game

Hard as Nails
Complete the game on Hard difficulty

Platinum

Platinum Trophy
Get all the trophies

PS3 Firmware 3.10

avatar_37PS3 Firmware will hit soon, we are not sure when, but we do know some info.

This update will add Facebook features which are as follows

  • Update Facebook status with PSN purchases
  • Update Facebook status with trophies earned
  • Update Facebook status with game events

All these options are something you can turn on or off depending on what you want to do.

If you have them on then Facebook will update your status depending on what you have on.

Also with this update you get the option to change the gray box on your friends list for your PSN ID to a different color that will display for the others on your friends list as well.

This update is a simple one so not to big a deal, and personaly I don’t want to have my PS3 update my facebook for me and bug everyone of my facebook freinds with that stuff.

Game Review: Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 (PS3/XBox360)

mw2boxAs we wind down 2009, the list of anticipated video game titles is getting shorter, and our list of Game Of The Year contenders gets shorter.

Modern Warfare 2 has managed to turn up the pre-release hype to unprecedented levels, and if the early numbers are to be believed, it could be one of the highest selling games of all time.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, you’re most likely in the minority.

Just in case, I’ll sum it up for you.

MW2 is a first-person tactical shooter set in the immediate future. How immediate? Only about three or four years.

While the game isn’t so hard-core that you’ll be issuing commands to a squad, it does offer a surprising depth in tactical response from AI enemies and compatriots alike.

Controls are very familiar, L1 to aim and R1 to shoot, but the ‘snap to target’ added for campaign players instantly makes the game accessible for newbies, as well as being comfortable for veterans.

If you’ve struggled with FPS controls on a console in the past, you may want to give this one a try.

The story plays out like one of the better seasons of the television show ’24’, bouncing between several playable characters, and finally bringing the disparate narratives together in a high speed finish.

Sometimes a little far-fetched, Modern Warfare 2 manages to capture the essence of what makes a summer blockbuster fun: big explosions, big guns, betrayal, and the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

The game begins with a few tutorial levels based in Afghanistan, then sets the scene for the real story. A Russian mercenary frames the United States for a terrorist attack, and you’ll be trying to avert a full scale conflagration over the event.

It’s not a literary breakthrough, but you’ll be entertained.

I found myself noticing some odd conceits in the game, things you wouldn’t see from many other developers.

Short gameplay sequences that include new and interesting mechanics are used, and then discarded. Other developers could easily taken one of these ideas and created a complete game around them.

For example, one of the early levels has you scaling an ice cliff using the L1 and R1 buttons to controls your ascent. It was fun, it was interesting, and it lasted just long enough to entertain you.

From anyone other than Infinity Ward (okay, maybe Naughty Dog too) that gameplay mechanic would have been used for the entire game. It would have been a gimmick, and it would have been a bullet point on the box cover.

The shifts in gameplay are so smooth and subtle, when coupled with the insanely polished graphics, there were times I thought I was watching a cutscene. The only thing that made me realize it WASN’T a cinematic was angry radio chatter informing me that my squad mates were waiting for me to make the first move.

There are so many twists and turns through the single player campaign, it would be nearly impossible to describe much more without spoilers.

You’ll want to play the campaign, trust me.

mw2rating

Multi-player is essentially the same as the previous MW, although co-op challenges are now available, more importantly these co-op challenges support local split screen action.

Call me a happy gamer.

Online play is fun at the moment, but I anticipate it’s going to have the same problem the genre always seems to suffer from after a few months. With an experience/perks system in place, and matchmaking that is never quite perfect, it won’t take long before new players will be unable to enjoy the experience. Veteran players will make the experience very uncomfortable for rookies in no time.

Que sera.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is highly polished, well paced, and easily accessible in single player. It’s also tailored for hard-core players online. There’s nothing wrong with having the best of both worlds.

Go buy it.

Order Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Game Review: Lego Rock Band

61IdLC2erLL._SL160_Plastic people with plastic instruments.

I’m not a big fan of the Lego games. The movie tie-in games were charming in their own way, and I understand the appeal to younger audiences. They just weren’t for me.

On the other hand, rhythm games are my forte. Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and DJ Hero see more hours of play in my household than all other game types combined.

Lego Rock Band combines these two worlds, and is at least partially successful in making it work.

LRB is a more ‘family friendly’ version of the venerable Rock Band series, with a song list that you can (generally) feel comfortable playing around younger members of your household.

While I thought this might also translate to a dumbed-down experience, I was pleasantly surprised to find that difficulty on the higher end, Hard and Expert, play exactly like Rock Band 1 and 2. Most of your downloaded songs will also work for Lego Rock Band, but songs that are intended for more mature audiences are filtered out.

From that standpoint, LRB is Rock Band with a bright plastic paint job and an edited for younger audience setlist, but there’s a lot more to the game.

For less experienced or younger players, some of the basic mechanics in career mode have been changed. If you quit or restart a song, there is no longer a penalty for doing so. You won’t lose fans or money (studs are the currency in the Lego Universe).

Also, in most venues, and only with songs that are included on the disc, you now have the option of playing a shorter version. Short attention spans get… whoa… something shiny!

You can also finish ALL parts of the game on ANY skill level, even the new Super Easy difficulty, and failing out has now been replaced with a Recovery Mode. Instead of failing the song, or if you’re playing with friends, waiting for them to use Overdrive to bring you back into the song, you go into a ‘Time Out’ where you continue to play but aren’t scoring points. During Recovery you’re playing to gain back points lost for your life meter hitting bottom. Recovery isn’t used in the Challenge Stages, you really CAN fail those songs.

Challenge Stages? Those are new too. At various milestones during your career you’ll be presented with a gig that strips away all Overdrive segments, the entire band shares a single life meter, and each instrument gets a ‘solo’ section (except vocals).

During these stages a cutscene plays in the background instead of the usual stage show. An example is using The Power Of Rock to demolish a building for construction workers. Pass the song with the special rules for Challenge Stages, and you unlock roadies, consisting of grateful construction guys.

legorbrating

In case you didn’t pick up on it, a narrative story has been included this time around. Bizarre, terminally cute, and occasionally funny, cut-scenes are scattered through the game, much like in previous Lego games. Also, in keeping with the Lego lineage, item collection is a HUGE part of the game.

Everything is customizable, including your roadies, manager, and PR personnel. All your changes also appear accurately represented during songs AND during cutscenes.

My roadies all have pig tails, beards, and eye patches.

Your kids will love this game, and if you’re into rhythm games, you won’t feel annoyed playing it with them.

Some drawbacks to the kid friendly format: there is no online play, leaderboards, and some of the menus are unnecessarily slow loading in order to show off more Lego eye-candy.

If you haven’t got any children, and you’re not a fan of Lego, you’re probably better served picking up Rock Band 2 or The Beatles: Rock Band.

If you like Rock Band AND Lego, or you want to play Rock Band with your kids but are concerned about lyrical content and difficulty levels, then Lego Rock Band is definitely a buy.

If you’re a Trophy/Achievement junkie, you’ll want to look into this as well. I’m 20 hours into the game, I’ve nearly completed everything, and should have the last three Trophies in another hour. It’s an easy Platinum/1000GP.


Buy Lego Rock Band