May 8th, 2009 | by Ryan Fleming News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Business

GamerVania: Your Week in Video Games

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If you have a detective's instinct for minutiae (or you are “that guy” who goes to parties and tells people that Vader's chest plate was totally on backwards when he was fighting Ben in Star Wars Episode IV), you'll notice an addition to the title of this web column. Gone is “GameVania.” But in its passing we can introduce its successor: GamerVania. I know! Awesome, right?

Well, when I came up with the first name, roughly six hours past my deadline, with coffee being ingested like chewing tobacco and my roommates warning others to “give me space," I did a couple quick Google searches to confirm its originality and called it a day. Then, recently, I discovered that there is a Gamevania.com site. Did I just blow your mind? A quick look seems to confirm that the site is now defunct, or at least badly outdated, and yet it is there. Mocking me. It can only be a conspiracy.

There are three possibilities: The first is that I simply overlooked the website. I would like to believe that this is the least likely explanation, but the other two options involve an orchestrated plan that involves the backdating of internet information on a planet-wide scale, and the other involves time travel. So Occam's Razor wins out. To that end, please welcome the letter ‘R' to the title! And without (any more) delay, on to the games—including a game that renewed my faith in movie-based video games, and one that took it right back.

Best Movie-Based Game of the Week

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, PSP, DS)

Wolverine

Holy crap, X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn't suck! It is glitchy, a button masher, and the plot feels forced into the game (no doubt to follow the movie), but it does not suck. Hooray! I almost don't want to jinx it by reviewing it. It feels like the developers, Raven Software, decided to make their Wolverine play like a clone of God of War, and that is exactly the right thing to do. You take control of Wolvie and act out your most antisocial tendencies toward wave after wave of poor, dumb bastards that don't have enough sense to not go charging at the indestructible guy with claws that just wiped out a small country's worth of people. The insane amount of gore and the fast paced combos add to the feeling that when you take control of Wolverine, you are a total bad ass. This is just a fun game to play.

There are a few downsides. The graphics are okay, but nothing spectacular. The enemies are bland and all blend together, plus their idea of evasive maneuvers is to scream “durka durka” while charging Wolverine in an apparent attempt to martyr themselves. Also, the plot borders on goofy. But if you can overlook all these flaws, it is a solid game.Now, if Raven Software had been allowed to make the game they wanted without the limitations of an imposed release date and a predetermined story line, this could have been something incredible. Fans of Wolverine will find a lot to like here, and everyone else will find a good game to buy, or at least a great game to rent.

Worst Movie-Based Game of the Week

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Xbox 360, Wii, DS)

Museum

Where Wolverine is a surprisingly good movie based game, this is the exact level of mediocrity you would expect from a movie-based game. I really don't go out of my way to review crap games. Sure, they are easier to make fun of, but I enjoy video games, dammit! But games like Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, are such a major release (thanks to the Hollywood powers that force it out to coincide with the release of the movie), that there are always copies to rent. You might have to wait days to get a copy of Wolverine, but this is probably in stock. Dammit.

There isn't much to say about Museum; if you have ever played a bad movie-based game, you can guess what this is like. You play a guy that does stuff. The missions are dull and tedious. You run, you jump, you collect junk. It isn't terrible, it just isn't good either. All in all I would give it two “mehs” out of five.

Best DLC of the Week

Fallout 3: Broken Steel (Xbox 360, PC)

Broken Steel

Fallout fans have been dreaming naughty thoughts about Broken Steel since it was first announced. The third of three planned Fallout expansions offers players a new set of missions, but more importantly, a new experience cap from the current level 20 to level 30. If you haven't played Fallout 3, it might not seem like that big of a deal, but to players that quickly leveled up and became so powerful that you walked through the game's ruined vision of America like a harbinger of death that smites his or her enemies like the wind moves a plastic sack, it will open up the aspect of game play aspect that was the first thing to go: the exploration.

As for the roughly $10 expansion itself, it takes place two weeks after the end of the game's main plot. If you haven't finished the main plot, it sucked. It was short and disappointing, and thankfully the new content rewrites the ending and continues the quest after the finale. The location is the same, but there are new quests and missions to go all fanboy over. The only downside to this DLC is that it came out as the weather is improving. Eh, you can always go outside next spring.

HOT COFFEE AND NEWS

  • Duke Nukem Forever news! It looks like the long, strange trip has finally come to a sad ending, as Videogamenews.com reports that 3D Realms, DNF's developer, has closed their doors for good. Anyone that has followed the video game industry has probably heard of the game Duke Nukem Forever. Maybe it is more accurate to say the “game,” since it has been in development hell for over 12 years. That means that when this game first began development, Newt Gingrich was on TV attacking Democrats, OJ Simpson was in legal trouble, and Microsoft was forced to issue a massive patch after releasing a flawed operating system. It is like a window into time!



  • Who ya gonna call? A high priced lawyer apparently. According to PC World, the much awaited Ghostbusters game has hit a snag due to legal complications. Sony stepped in at the last minute and signed a deal they hope will appease everyone, as long as everyone plays a Playstation. The game scheduled to release on June 19 will be a Playstation exclusive, with Wii, 360, and PC to be delayed. The game may or may not come out on the remaining systems the same month. Or later in the year. Or whenever Sony decides that money is cool.



  • Amid a slew of game developers and publishers closing or totally restructuring, there are a few groups that continue to buck the trend and keep the game industry afloat. This week, Nintendo released their annual profits report, which shows that they increased their annual profits by a whole bunch. Like, a lot. An 8.5 percent increase from last year's profits according to Yahoo news. The next Mario game will feature the plumber rolling up on a Yoshi with spinners as he smiles to show off his new platinum grill. The company is preparing for a slowdown in the coming year, which should give them enough time to finally count the piles of money they earned by trouncing the competition over the last few years.



  • Despite a new denial issued, rumors keep surfacing that Apple is looking to buy publishing giant EA games. Gamespot.com reports that Apple insists that there is no deal in place for the purchase, despite the fact that it is common knowledge that Apple wants into the console market. The two companies are essentially spiritual siblings, as both have been accused of secrecy to the point of paranoia, so there may be truth to this. Apple can mock my PC all they want, but the second Justin Long starts dogging on my 360, we are going to have words.



  • LucasArts has announced that they hope to revive the Indiana Jones video game franchise soon. With one game scheduled for the Wii later this year, LucasArts hope to follow with an original game for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 according to Videogamer.com. Although they don't specifically state so, LucasArts hints that they will tackle and gag George Lucas if he attempts to get anywhere near this game. Or at least that is what almost everyone that saw Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hopes. The moment Indy survived a nuclear blast inside a refrigerator was the moment my inner child went comatose.



  • Yahoo News reports that the New York-based company Cellufun, has decided to go insane. They will soon be releasing the cell phone game Made Off, a game based on Bernie Madoff and his super fun Ponzi scheme! You know, the one that ruined thousands of peoples lives. Fun! You will choose to be either a fund manager and attempt to lure players into an attractive investment, or you play as the investor and try to find real deals. Next up for Cellufun is the game Cancer! We hope we are kidding.

 
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