It’s Halloween ladies and gentlemen and Adam and I would like to teach you all about it. It might surprise you that Halloween has very much science involved in it. Don’t worry, we will flesh out all the details soon enough. This is also our exciting SECOND episode, which means If you wish to win a free steam code for Deus Ex: Human Revolution you should simply follow these instructions. Enjoy the video, subscribe, and tell your friends!
Ever think to yourself, “Man I wish I could win a free PC game?” Well your wishes have come true. The contest is easy too. All you have to do is subscribe to our Youtube channel. Then wait for the next episode of Science Can Be FUN! fun to go up. Once episode 2 is on our channel, comment a science related question in the comments section. Then one lucky commenter will win a steam code for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It’s that EASY! Also, even if you are not chosen, your question will be answered in episode 3 of Science Can be FUN! fun.
Spider-Man has really had a sort of mixed time in video games. There have been a lot of titles featuring the web slinging crusader, ranging from the awful to the amazing. Admittedly, I have not played a lot of these games, but I did play and enjoy Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions so when I heard that the same developer, Beenox, was putting together a title subtitled Edge of Time my senses started tingling. Would this finally be the game to fill the superhero hole in my gaming life?
We’ll do our best to avoid spoilers here! Spider-Man: Edge of Time is a tangled web of a tale written by Peter David of Marvel, who most notably wrote The Incredible Hulk for about 12 years. It involves both Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) and Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man) trying to stop an evil man named Walter Sloan who travels from 2099 back to the 1970s and uses his knowledge of the future to cement his chokehold on the world by founding his company Alchamax much earlier than he originally did. Through a series of crazy sci-fi comic book drama, and a little deus ex machina, Miguel O’Hara and Peter Parker end up with a sort of telepathic link that allows them to communicate with each other in their respective time periods, and the two begin working together to take down Sloan and restore the timeline to its previous state. It’s a little too convoluted to serve as an entry point into the Spider-Man universe for anyone, but the idea is nothing that anyone who has been interested in science fiction for any length of time won’t be able to wrap their head around.
Due to this rift in time, there is a new “cause and effect” gameplay mechanic that makes things a little interesting, especially when considering the fact that the entire game takes place in each Spider-Man’s respective Alchamax building. When one of the Spider-Men changes something in their time period, it affects the other Spider-Man’s environment. For example; Miguel may be overwhelmed fighting a horde of giant sentry robots, but if Peter destroys the robotics research lab in his time, then the robots will simply cease to exist for Miguel. These temporal cause and effect scenarios are limited to scripted events within the course of the game’s events, so unfortunately Miguel can’t just call up Peter constantly and ask him to alter the past to his benefit.
Combat plays an important role in Spider-Man: Edge of Time, and gamers who have played Shattered Dimensions will find the setup to be completely familiar. Each Spider-Man’s attacks are mapped to the d-pad on the Wii Remote. As you pummel enemies you will earn golden spider tokens that can be used to upgrade either an ability unique to each Spider-Man or an ability they share. You also can collect little blurple energy balls throughout each level that also go toward leveling up your Spider-Men. When compared to Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099 felt very overpowered, so it is beneficial to spend more resources leveling up their shared abilities and Peter-specific abilities. Aside from having full control over each Spider-Man’s ass-kickery, you will also be wielding their other spider abilities, such as Spider Sense and wall climbing. By pressing the + button on the Wii Remote, enemies holding crucial items like keys and current objectives will be highlighted by Spider Sense on the screen. Wall climbing worked fine, but the camera control presented some issues. Often when climbing in a confined space, the camera would get stuck in a weird position, sometimes even inside the character model. You do have camera control by pressing the Z button the the Nunchuck and using the d-pad for direction, but it never quite felt as fluid or as controllable as a camera would be if there was a second analog stick. It would have been awesome to see the Classic Controller as a control option, especially since there is very little waggle control and no instances where the Wii Remote’s IR pointer is needed.
There is a part where Peter jokes about a task at hand, making a remark to the effect of “What is this, a video game?” That would have been the perfect opportunity for Beenox to take us in an unexpected and fresh direction, but sadly, they didn’t. The biggest shortcoming of Spider-Man: Edge of Time is the lack of any real variety. As was previously mentioned, the entire game takes place in one building. Despite the fact that the environment is changeable, this mechanic never feels like it is fully utilized and the halls of Alchamax become very repetitive and dull after a couple hours. Enemies are all either giant robots or the same variety of mutated creatures, and all the missions fall trap to genre cliches, such as collecting items like keys or misplaced machine parts. The only real variation comes from boring and needlessly difficult segments of Spider-Man 2099 free-falling through one of Alchamax’s copious amounts of elevator shafts
Graphics are just dandy, and would look right at home next to other current Wii games. Beenox decided to go with per-rendered cutscenes, which is almost always a mistake on the Wii because there is a jolting moment where you think, “Oh, this game doesn’t look nearly as great as I thought it did” as the action transitions between in-game and per-rendered footage. Rather than expecting players to accept the vast difference in quality between the two types of graphics, it would have been better to render all the cutscenes with the in-game engine to avoid that sensation of playing a game that is substandard graphically. It is also worth noting that Edge of Time features more “realistic” graphics than the cell shaded, cartoony graphics of its predecessor Shattered Dimensions. Cell shading works wonderfully on the Wii, and would go perfectly with a game based on comic books and filled with mutated men with spider abilities, robots, and time travel, so it is easy to question why the shift in style was made.
If there’s one unique character trait Amazing Spider-Man is known for, it’s his penchant for delivering sarcastic one-liners at just the right moment, and this trait carried over into the game. Unfortunately, Miguel doesn’t seem to appreciate Peter’s particular brand of humor, but most players will be laughing as he slings his smart-assed remarks at the goons in the game. Bickering dialogue exchanges between the two protagonists is also humorous, if only they occurred with a little less frequency. The rest of the voice acting in the game is decent too, and even features Val Kilmer as the voice of Walter Sloan. Maybe he just didn’t have anything better to do while the recording was taking place, but it was nice to see at least one big name in the credits. It helped drive home the idea that video games can be actual art, not just something awkward teen boys with acne do to fill their time in between rejections from girls at school.
Superhero games disappoint more often than not, so it was nice to see another Spider-Man game from Beenox that makes at least a passable attempt to do the genre right. Will it recapture the magic of you experienced as you sat on the couch watching Marvel cartoons in the wee years of the second decade of your life? Probably not, but you will laugh at Peter’s well-written jokes, your head will ache as you think about the consequences of time travel and quantum causality, and you will thoroughly enjoy smashing bad guys into a fine paste on the floors of Alchamax. With a little refinement of the controls, a few tweaks to the graphics, and a slightly more straightforward storyline, Spider-Man: Edge of Time would be awfully close to being the definitive Spidey game.
[review title=”Spider-Man: Edge of Time” pros=”Combat is pretty fun, voice acting is great, and an interesting new cause and effect gameplay mechanic will keep you scratching your head.” cons=”Controls don’t seem to work quite as they were intended to at times, story could be a little too convoluted for a more casual player to keep up with, differences between in-game graphics and cutscenes is drastic.” verdict=”Spider-Man: Edge of Time has most of the pieces in place to be a decent Spider-Man game, but not quite all of them.” score=65]
If you are a fan of Blizzard and for the purposes of this piece, a World of Warcraft fan, then it is safe to say you’ve heard all the “exciting” news from Blizzcon. Blizzard’s big yearly convention is often known for important news updates and this year is no different. The biggest announcement of course was for the latest expansion for World of Warcraft, called Mists of Pandaria. If you have not seen it, take the time to watch it below.
Freaking Pandas man…… Pandas. That was literally my response as well as RoboAwesome’s own Adam Kelley. This upcoming expansion is currently a heated debate in the WoW community and there are two very clear sides. There are those who pretty much welcome the expansion with open arms. They are so ingrained with WoW that it’s pretty much a must buy. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s their chosen hobby and at one time it was mine. Then there is the camp that is scratching its head in confusion. These are most likely former players or players who are on the way out anyway.
There are several small things that bug me about it. For one thing, PANDAS! Next you’re going to tell me that Jack Black is doing the voice. They’ve always been sort of a joke and now the devs are coming out saying that they’ve never been a joke and that Pandas are serious business. The whole Pandaria country baffles me. Azeroth isn’t just a bunch of pre-bronze age nomads. The people have various technology and lots of explorers. How did they not accidentally find it until now? Remember when DeathWing flew around Azeroth and destroyed EVERYTHING? Did he just decide to skip that place? These are questions that I am sure won’t be logically answered.
The pet battle system (think Pokemon) is a neat feature, but I think it is one of those things that should have been implemented long ago, at least with Cataclysm. There is also the Monk class, which will be kinda cool too, but It’s safe to say I am the most wary about this expansion. They could have done something with the Emerald Dream, or maybe revamp/revisit Outland. To me, it just seems like this is forced. They constantly ret-con their stories and change the game completely. Perhaps this is their way of making the game stay fresh, but it starts to bother you after a while with the classes all going through erratic overpowered stages to stages that have clearly been overnerfed.
Allow me to use Cataclysm as an example. I was super hyped for it and in the beginning it was amazing to me. They did do a great thing with how they completely changed the world. Leveling from 1-60 was fun again. There was so much more to explore. There were two new races. They brought fun back to the early game. Unfortunately from 60-80 the game was stale again and could not quite live up to the first 60 levels. Ultimately Cataclysm made me feel empty inside. Apparently I wasn’t the only one as we began to feel what a friend of mine calls “the fall”. The fall hasn’t hit all of WoW yet, just the smaller servers. You see, I played on a medium to high population server. At the time it was great, always something going on. After Cataclysm the population began to fall greatly. Now it is reduced to a low population server. These smaller servers are all feeling the impact, but the bigger more “hardcore” servers have only sensed ripples. I know, I could have just moved, but not everyone can afford to hop servers all the time and having established characters makes it hard for you to start over.
The fall is closing in, but that’s not the only threat to World of Warcraft. Looming over its shoulders is Star Wars: The Old Republic. I am not going to say that SWTOR is a WoW-Killer, because frankly I hate that terminology, but I will say SWTOR will get some of their subs. Blizzard might not show it, but they are at least a bit worried. The reason I say this is because of their actions as of late. Their huge patch that involves the much talked about Deathwing Raid as well as the transmogrify system (which should have been in Cataclysm too) comes out in December. Funny, that’s when SWTOR comes out. Of course now the hardcore WoW fans will have to decide, should we absorb this new WoW content, or go out and try SWTOR? WoW is hoping that these big established guilds will just stay tight since they have new stuff to do, but what happens when they finish Deathwing on hard mode? Will Blizzard have another ace in the hole?
While it’s easy to say “Well, they could play both?” Sure I could have handled that, but not everyone can. Most MMO players stick to one game. Of course, the SWTOR fans that have already pre-ordered may not be effected by this update, it at least attempts to keep the curious parties stuck in Azeroth a bit longer. Speaking of ace in the hole, Blizzard has revealed an interesting offer that could possibly lock in more of their player base. You can sign up to have a year of service locked in. Basically you agree to pay each month for a year, in exchange you will get Diablo 3 for free, as well as Beta access to Mists of Pandaria. Sly move there Blizzard, sly move indeed. I know two people personally who have been tricked by this. Even if you quit WoW to play SWTOR, you still have to pay for that year you locked in. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great deal if you are completely married to WoW and you don’t want to explore other gaming options at all. Just seems to me like you are making a deal with the Diablo. (GET IT?!) Speaking of which, does this mean that we can expect Diablo 3 to come out in a year or more time? I mean, if it comes out in March and you get it free for being locked in, couldn’t you just cancel your credit card after you get Diablo 3? Of course knowing Blizzard they will have their battle.net hooks into you so they could probably just shut off your access to the game.
SWTOR is not the only thing that Blizzard has to worry about. What about Guild Wars 2 next year? I know a lot of people as excited for that game as I am for SWTOR. There’s also The Secret World next year, which is growing quite a fan base. With the projected date of Holiday next year for Mists of Pandaria, will that be too late? Perhaps it will be just in time to wrangle some old players back. Even still, Blizzard has that top secret MMO they are working on, and I’m sure the minute WoW is really about to bleed out, they will pop that card out on the table and watch people fold. Maybe this isn’t Blizzard’s last stand, but they need to watch their back, because the west is about to get a little wilder.
Halloween is fast approaching. It seems like when you’re a kid Halloween is all about getting candy. When you’re a teenager it’s all about getting scared. When you’re past that, it just becomes about dressing as sexy as you can get away with. That is until you have children of your own and it becomes all about them.
See you next week.
It’s a busy season for Rockstar Games. A little over a month ago, the company announced Max Payne 3 would arrive in March 2012 ending an eight year hiatus for the series. Today, to the delight of millions of fans worldwide, they broke the news that Grand Theft Auto V is on the way.
At this time, there are no known details of the game regarding setting, characters, or story, but we expect more to be revealed on November 2nd when GTA V‘s debut trailer hits.
The announcement coincides with the ten year anniversary of Grand Theft Auto III‘s release.
Sonic Generations appears to be an attempt on SEGA‘s part to return its iconic anthropomorphic hedgehog to his roots. In addition to redesigning some of the franchise’s most beloved classic levels (Sky Sanctuary Zone!!!), it was confirmed at Paris Games Week that the team behind the project will show their dedication to the return of OG Sonic by making the original Sonic the Hedgehog unlockable in the game.
Even though I have Sonic the Hedgehog on the original SEGA Genesis cartridge, and on Sonic Mega Collection Plus, as well as SEGA Genesis Collection for my PS2, and further still, a free version I got for being a PlayStation Plus subscriber, this is great news. While most gamers in their late teens and older have likely had some experience with the classic Sonic titles, the inclusion of his debut could reach younger audiences and foster an appreciation for older games. And if those kids respond with “why does this look so ugly?” or “how come this isn’t in 3D?” it still provides a little nostalgic kickback for their parents.
First off, full disclosure. I’m not a soccer fan.
It’s not that I have anything against soccer, per se, as much as it’s just not a game I’ve ever really followed. I realize that the rest of the world is fanatically, insanely, player-shootingly obsessed with it, but it’s just not that big over here in the States. When I hear ‘football’, I don’t think about a little white ball, I think about how much I hate the Packers.
But that’s neither here nor there. This is the other kind of football. This, is soccer. This, is FIFA.
FIFA is the international governing body of soccer, and FIFA 12 is the most recent iteration of the officially licensed sports game by EA Sports. Soccer has been gaining popularity in the US, and I’ve even got a few pals that have been delving in to the FIFA series. So, the writing was on the wall, and it was time for me to give this game a shot, and see if I could bend it like Mr. Posh Spice. So, if you’re looking for subtle differences between this game and previous versions, I’m afraid I can’t help you. This is more like the 33 Year Old Soccer Virgin. Continue Reading
Project Soul has announced a release date for its newest fighter, Soulcalibur V. The game will be out January 31st, 2012 in the United States. NamcoBandai has also released a new character for the game, another special guest to the tale of souls and swords. Continue Reading
With the second episode of Science Can Be FUN! fun on the horizon, Jessie decides to give everyone a run down on where science came from and the various forms of science. Be prepared to learn even more about Science to gear you up for the next installment.