Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 review

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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The year’s most anticipated game has finally reached store shelves. Needless to say, the public welcomed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with open arms. First day sales are estimated at 4.7 million copies with a cash value upwards of $310 million. Do you have your copy yet? No? Then allow me to break the game down for you.

Story 7/10

Taking place five years after the events of the first game, Modern Warfare 2 is staged all over the globe. The campaign itself is fairly short, and takes between five to six hours to complete depending on the difficulty level. It plays like a great action film. Most missions are very intense. From stealth missions, to snowmobile chases, to all out war on an airplane junkyard, this game has it all. Intense missions are separated at intervals with slower missions to allow for a smoother play through. Difficulty does not progressively increase in MW2 like most games. Obviously they do not thrust you into the action without the obligatory tutorial, but some early missions are harder than some later missions. The difficulty is fairly cohesive which allows for fairly non frustrating game play. **Please note that I intentionally left out any information regarding the story. I feel that because it is so short, if I were to give any information, there would surely be spoilers.**

Sound 8/10

The sound is done well. Dramatic pieces are placed strategically and allow the gamer to be immersed in each scenario. Successfully done, but not over the top.

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Graphics 9/10

The graphics in MW2 are superb. I have yet to see a texture that does not immediately load. The cinematics of the campaign are simply amazing. Dramatic music only adds to the graphics. Simply WIN. The graphics of multiplayer are the same as campaign play; featuring richly detailed levels with a high level of interactivity. The backdrops of many campaign levels are quite intricate and give the feeling of being on the field of battle. The character models are what keep me from scoring graphics any higher. Facial features are quite possibly the hardest part to get right on character models. MW2 gets close; however I feel that they appear to be a bit on the goofy side. This argument, while true, may be nitpicking on my part.

Game play 10/10

Game play must be broken into its respective components for this game because the different modes do not play the same. As such, multiplayer will be addressed in its own section. Spec. Ops. (a series of challenges you can play alone or with a friend) and campaign play the same way. Auto aim is traded in for quick scoping. If you center your gun near an enemy then look down your sights, the gun will automatically move to where it is centered on that enemy. This allows for quick target acquisition and dispersion of multiple targets fairly quickly. A diverse array of weapons may be found, many of which are used by military forces across the globe today. Campaign features frequent checkpoints that keep you from pulling your hair out on higher difficulties. Using the surroundings to your advantage will make the campaign much easier. It is also wise to stay in formation with your squad as they will draw fire and provide support. Spec. Ops. Features many missions similar to those faced in campaign. These missions however, do not have checkpoints. They are also tweaked to provide a more challenging, but shorter, version. Two missions require a partner, however I advise grabbing a buddy when you tackle these because they get progressively harder the farther you get. By the time you reach the last set of missions, they are pretty tough.

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Multiplayer 9/10

If you enjoyed previous COD multiplayer, you will love MW2. Game types include: Team Deathmatch, FFA, Capture the flag, Demolition (bomb arming and defense), 3rd person game types, as well as several others.  There are challenges like the previous Call of Duty games that you can complete to earn experience. Experience counts towards levels. Levels in turn unlock guns, perks (used to enhance a certain aspect of game play I.E. extra bullet damage), and explosives. Modern Warfare 2 offers an unseen level of customization. Titles and Emblems are unlockables that allow players to showcase their greatest gaming achievements. Furthermore, you may now choose between a wide list of killstreak rewards ranging from sentry guns to a nuke. There is a slight level of auto aim that was unseen in previous games. I believe that this was done to simplify game play for newer players. The auto aim is not as drastic as campaign, and does not water down play very much. Multiplayer maps are well built. Each map features strategic choke points, as well as an environment that is highly interactive. Cars or drums may be shot (which in turn explode) to kill nearby enemies. While multiplayer is extremely fun, there are a few reasons why it cannot currently score a 10. Firstly, party chat is not allowed in some playlists. This was done by Infinity Ward in an attempt to encourage team play. However good the intention, this is a mistake. Younger players (and some older) often fill game chat with annoying banter that forces me to mute everyone except the people I already know. Lastly, the matchmaking system is anything but graceful. When teaming up with multiple friends, players are frequently dropped. This forces everyone to leave the pre-game lobby to recover the lost teammate. Leaving pre-game lobbies even become an issue because the option to bring the whole party is not available.

Overall 9.3/10

CoD:MW2 is a game of monumental proportions. Combining awesome game play with graphics and sounds, this game offers the complete FPS package. Hopefully Infinity Ward will resolve the current issues with multiplayer, and make this a flawless game.

The FPS and RPG made a baby.

•October 29, 2009 • 2 Comments

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“The FPS and RPG made a baby.” One sentence sums up Borderlands. This statement however, may actually create more questions than it answers. RPG: “Will I be grinding to reach that next area, or will I be doing gathering that are monotonous to say the least?”. FPS: “I don’t know about this RPG thing, is it a disease? I just want to shoot stuff!” Fear not my fellow gamers, all these questions and more are soon to be answered.

Story     6/10

The game begins by introducing the “vault” and the planet of Pandora. It is rumored that the “vault” contains treasure, fame, and possibly even enemies. Soon you are introduced to the selectable characters that you are allowed to choose from. After picking a character, your “guardian angel” introduces herself and you begin to explore the world of Pandora. Your ultimate goal is to reach the vault and open it. The story itself isn’t all that original, and suffice it to say that most gamers have seen some variation of this story line. Characters you encounter along the way offer witty rhetoric that should keep you entertained.  Gearbox obviously has a sense of humor as well, citing multiple pop-culture references throughout the game (with various easter eggs).

Sound     4/10

The sound quality of this game is mediocre. While sound placement (where a shot came from, where that screaming enemy is) is done right, epic scores found in most console RPGs are nowhere to be found. The only time I ever recall even hearing music is during boss fights. This did add to the ambiance, however I feel that it was just a little too little a little too late.

Graphics     9/10

While at first I was turned off by the cell-shading, it soon began to grow on me. Borderlands is by no means the first to use this technique, however it is certainly done right. The art lends itself very well to the feel of the game, emphasizing moments where light is scarce. This also makes the comical moments even more so. Cell shading also serves another purpose in Borderlands (even if unintended). The astute gamer will notice that when first entering an area it takes perhaps half a second or so for the textures to fully render.  Because cell shading is used in place of the more traditional style, this is harder to notice. The dull shade allows less contrast between the backdrop and the actual texture itself. There is also significantly less dead areas (by dead areas I mean that If I force myself into a corner, or ease against a wall, the texture will glitch and a void will be where it the texture should remain) which shows a thoroughness by the graphic designers that I rarely see.

Game play     9/10

The game play of Borderlands makes it among my favorite games of all time. It brings the best elements of both FPS and RPG together to form a fantastically fun game. Elements such as skill trees (seen in many MMORPGS), levels, quests, and even critical hits are taken from classical RPGs and applied to the FPS. Choice of four different classes allows players to choose what weapons they will be best with, and what ability they will use. All of the traditional FPS weapons are available including: pistols, snipers, Rockets, SMGs, and Rifles. In addition to class choice, skill trees allow each player to customize their character to the way they play. While selection of guns in most FPSs is limited to say the least, this is not the case in Borderlands. There is essentially an endless array of guns. Everyone who plays is almost guaranteed to not receive the same identical weapons in terms of stats. While many are obviously similar, variations of the same weapon allow for some to be better than others. Doing quests in Borderlands (story or optional) is a refreshing experience. While there are a couple exceptions, there are no monotonous quests. The gather quests that do exist are fairly easy, and most quests can be completed in a couple of minutes. Quests should be a players main source of experience, however a player may choose to grind if they so wish.  Critical hits are scored by either scoring a headshot (on humanoid opponents) or by hitting a “weak” spot on an enemy. All of these elements combined form a game that is thoroughly engrossing, and I believe (after two play throughs) that I could play through again at least twice more. My experience with the game play of Borderlands is nothing but extremely positive, however it should be noted that many players experience glitching of quests and/or achievements. It is for this sole reason that game play has been docked a point and positioned 9 out of 10.

Multiplayer 6/10

The multiplayer of Borderlands leaves something to be desired.  Many feel that having only a Co-op mode (with no versus) is a drawback. I feel that this allows players to immerse themselves into the story and experience it together. You may duel your friends, or other online players, once you join a game. The arena allows for a versus mode that is similar to many online versus FPS games. The biggest hindrance of co-op is the matchmaking system. Higher players (and people past the first play through) may have a very hard time finding games with similar progression. The matchmaking list is flooded with people on the first play through, and on the first half of the game. I found myself posting on forums to find people around my level because the matchmaking system was so horrendous.

Overall  7/10

Borderlands have been a delightful game to play, however I cannot rightfully give it a higher score for a couple reasons. Firstly, mediocre story, sound, and a terrible matchmaking system leave something to be desired. Lastly the sheer audacity of a game developer to release a game with many known glitches and problems is a sad day for the gaming industry. A patch is already in work (so soon after the release date may I add) so hopefully these issues may soon be resolved.

Checkpoint makes the leaderboards!

•October 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Operation Flashpoint #1

We have a couple of awesome updates for today. One of Checkpoints followers, CkP Blitz, has dominated the world of Operation Flashpoint. He has risen to the top of the leader boards for infiltration. Not only does he rep our clothing, but he reps Checkpoint in his name (CkP). To learn more about Operation Flashpoint, Gamespot gives an awesome review with videos and pictures here.

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In apparel news, we will be releasing a design in a few weeks for the Gaming Angels, an amazing community of women journalists and hardcore gamers. This design will be our first shirt that is specifically for women. To learn more about the Gaming Angels, you can visit their website at www.gamingangels.com.

Brutal Legend Review

•October 15, 2009 • 1 Comment

 

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If you haven’t seen a commercial for Brutal Legend, you obviously haven’t been watching much television recently. Normally I do not usually play games based solely on air time. It seems most over-hyped games fall way short of where many would like to see them land. Needless to say, Brutal Legend cannot be thrown in with these games. Themed on Heavy Metal music, this game caters to anyone who loves metal. Do not be afraid! Even if you do not fancy Heavy Metal, the story and game play are sure to keep you interested.

Story      9/10

The game starts by introducing the main character, Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black), who is the roadie of a “metal” band. A member of the band starts showboating on top of a stage piece. Eddie is forced to step in and save the band member, however as a result he is crushed by the falling stage piece. He wakes up in a “hellish” place, and the story begins…  While the story is intriguing in itself, comedy helps break up the monotony one often finds in most games.  The Metal theme carries through the game, destroying emo kids becomes common place as the game progresses. While quite intriguing and very funny, the main story is short. Playing on “brutal” (hard) difficulty, the main story line took roughly eleven hours to complete.

Sound     10/10

Sound, is where this game takes the cake. The voice acting is simply incredible. It is quite possibly the best voice acting I’ve ever seen in a game. Numerous artists compose the game’s soundtrack. There are older metal songs, as well as a few from more current years. With over 100 metal tracks from original artists such as ozzy osbourne, Motley Crue, Megadeath, and Tenacious D, you won’t be listening to the same song repeatedly (unless of course you choose so). One of the first things I noticed was songs, and sound effects seem to “skip”.  Since the story of Brutal Legend is on a vinyl record (Jack Black enters a record store before the main menu, and shows a record-Brutal Legend), the sound sometimes skips. Anyone who has ever listened to records can attest to this happening at one time or another.  I thought that this was an ingenious inclusion by the staff at double fine.

Graphics    8/10

Graphics are about average in my opinion, and what I’ve come to expect out of most games. The graphics could have been improved, however I feel that this would have dramatically affected load times when entering a different area of the map. Texture-wise Brutal Legend excels. This is the first time I’ve seen the ridges and pitting that naturally occurs in human skin on video game characters. This may be hard to notice on smaller TV sets, but is clearly visible during cut scenes.

Gameplay    7/10

Brutal Legend is hard to classify. It has elements from many different game types. Somehow it manages to integrate these almost flawlessly. Almost.  RTS- The bulk of the main story line is in this fashion. Simple commands allow you to create troops, and position them at your will. While many console RTS games are clunky and very awkward to manage, Brutal Legend takes a simpler stance. Many of the classic functions are available, but designed in a format that is far more console friendly than any of its predecessors. Action- While RTS, you may choose to take your character directly into the fight and smash some emo kids for yourself. Simple combos and a limited number of upgradeable moves (and weapons) hold this area back in some aspects, however new integration of units should keep you happy until you finish the story. Driving/Racing-Side quests allow for racing challenges, and driving is the main method of transport in game. Numerous upgrades for the vehicle (including weapons) made this the most enjoyable aspect of the game for me. That being said, when using the handbrake to pull U-turns is the only time in the game when I found myself fighting the camera angle.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer follows the form of the main story line, offering RTS gameplay against others. “Fans” are gathered the same as the solo game. Players also have the option of choosing from the three main factions from the single player. Trueskill is used to measure ranks. Not much else to say here other than RTS fans will rejoice in this aspect of the game as matches tend to be short, but fun.

Overall 8.5/10

Brutal Legend is truly original; from the storyline to the sounds Metal enthusiasts rejoice! Never have I laughed so hard playing a video game. Brutal Legend is at the very least worth a rent to try out. *throws up the horns*

30% Discount till August 13!!!

•August 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Checkpoint is having a 30% off sale till August 13!!! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to buy some sweet gamer clothing!

*edit* Coupon code: Roflcopter

Remember that BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21-22. This event is going to be huge! Make sure to stop by their website and enter the Choose a Champion contest. If you attend the event, send us a picture of you wearing a Checkpoint t-shirt and we will send you a 50% coupon code.

Have a great friday and remember to follow us on Twitter to receive quick updates about Checkpoint!

Checkpoint Clothing Sponsoring an Official Gaming T-Shirt Giveaway

•June 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

Checkpoint  is sponsoring a t-shirt giveaway at the Gaming Shogun. Make sure to stop by their website and enter to win! Check out what they have to say below…

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              We at GamingShogun.com have been bringing the latest gaming news, reviews, and a whole lot more to our readers for darn near two years now. In that time, we have seen several clothing companies attempt to break into the gaming marketplace and fail miserably because they either offer low-quality products or target those products too ‘inside’ geek culture. This is one of the reasons why we asked Checkpoint Clothing to sponsor a giveaway for our site: They offer top-quality products and aim to make designs not only accessible to the hardcore gamer but also to the common Joe off the street.

Checkpoint Clothing is giving two of our randomly-chosen readers the chance to win a shirt (design and size of their choosing) in our official Checkpoint Clothing Giveaway! So stop by the official contest page and leave a comment explaining in ONE sentence why you should win a shirt. The contest runs from Monday, June 15th through Monday, June 29th.  Oh, did we also mention you will have to create a free account on the site to do this? No? Well then, do not worry as it is free to join and we do not share your private info with anyone, anytime, anywhere!

Games Shirts Music

•April 23, 2009 • 2 Comments

Want to meet the guys at Checkpoint Clothing, buy yourself a rags-to-riches Millenium Athlete t-shirt, AND enjoy some good music ALL at the same time?

This Friday, April 24th 2009, the boys over at Checkpoint Clothing will be selling some of their swagger in downtown Bryan at the Stafford Main Street venue; featuring the witty rock-R&B songwriter Dave Barnes along side acoustic indie sensations Philip Murtaugh.

Throughout the course of the show CC will conduct interviews with members of each set on their opinion on gaming. Simple stuff such as “what’s your favorite video game” or “what was your favorite gaming system growing up”. Keep an eye out for a few off-the-wall questions you wouldn’t quite expect. Who said gamers can’t be artistically inclined?

Show starts at 7:00pm, visit the Stafford Main Street website for maps and directions.

Can’t make it out to the venue? Support us and shop online.

Check back here next week for results from the interview!

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