Castlevania: The Saga Continues

“Eu sunt Dracul!” – Dracula (Gabriel Belmont) at the end of Castlevania: Lord of Shadows

These words, while cloaked in a foreign tongue, successfully shocked most fans of the Castlevania saga, as they watched the last clip in the hit game Castlevania: Lord of Shadows. This statement revealed the exact nature of the bond between Clan Belmonte and the legendary vampiric lord, Dracula. While gamers had to buy a DLC to find out precisely how Gabriel took up the way of the vampire, the producers of the Lord of Shadows saga were nice enough to have a video at the end of the castlevania credits, foreshadowing what gamers could expect in the future.

Now I personally loved the Lord of Shadows game, though prior to that, I never played any Castlevania games. I thought the graphics were sweet, the story was compelling and the game play was balling, though after I beat it I was curious about the background of the game. When I found out how many previous Castlevanias there were, and how the new one basically had nothing to do with the predecessors, save for using the Belmont name and the Brotherhood of Light, I was all like “WTF”…at least until they released the DLC and I connected the dots, though I still wanted more- the lack of continuity bugged me, and I was hoping for a game to make the connection clearer in the future…

Well…that future has come, as Castlevania Lord of Shadows 2 was revealed at E3 2012.

“In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the origin of Dracula and his legendary connection with the Belmonts was revealed. In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, fans can expect thrilling new twists and challenges. In this shocking conclusion to the Lords of Shadow saga, Dracula returns once again, weakened and yearning for release from his immortal bonds. Facing a new and powerful threat, the vampire lord must reacquire his old powers – and only his castle holds the key. However, the famed Belmont clan also seek his ultimate destruction.” – Castlevania Lord of Shadows Website

There was initially some skepticism about the validity of the first game when run across the fan-lore of the long established Castlevania series, however with the twisting revelation of Gabriel’s ascension/fall to the form of Dracula has closed the gap that bridged the fans of the original saga and the newer Lord of Shadows series. Accompanied with the Nintendo DS sister game Castlevania Lord of Shadows: Mirror of Fate, which tells the story of Gabriel’s battle against his son, Trevor, and the beginning of the war between Dracula and the Brotherhood of Light, Konami has given the Castlevania series the potential for a successful revitalization.

But I try not to count my chickens before they hatch, and I am tentative on how good the second game may be. It has a flashy trailer, I will give it that.

Now, if I get to play with Gab-I mean Dracula, using those sick powers, count me in. The fire whip is sweet! Will the game be as awesome as its predecessors? Only time will tell…but one thing is for sure…

I want that fire whip…NOW!

_________________________________________

Hey guys and gals, I hope that you enjoyed this article; sorry about the gap between this one and the last one. Things have been hectic but I hope to be able to post more in the future.  Feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates. And remember to Like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheNerdNexus)

Advertisements

Darksiders II: Should I buy it?

Have you been keeping up with the new Darksiders II reviews and updates? Still uncertain about whether you should dish out the dough to buy the game? Check out this Youtube channel that has a walk through of the game. Maybe you will make a decision once you see the game in action.

Youtube Series: Darksiders II Walkthrough

Games that Need More Credit- Predator: Concrete Jungle

It’s time for change! A breath of fresh air. A breath that involves inhaling the nostalgic scents of burning metal, smoke, and blood. Rather than following what has become my regular routine of finding a new story and writing an article, I have decided to write about a game that has been out for a while, putting my own little twist on one of my cowriters’ (Dylan) “Better Late than Never” segment. Today I am going to talk about a game which I think did not get the credit which it was due. While this game could possibly have gone by without you knowing of its existence, you probably know about the franchise which birthed it: Predator.

Predator: Concrete Jungle was a game for the original Xbox which hit shelves in early 2005. Created to ride the fan wave made by the film Alien vs Predator (AVP). Naturally, as all video gamers do, I presumed that this game was going to be horrible- a simple attempt to gain more money from the fan base- however, when I bought it, I was surprised. While this game was no Skyrim (clearly, as it came on the original xbox, in a time when gaming was still adjusting to more advanced consoles), it still had its merits.

The Game’s Story

In the summer of 1930, a Yautja (Predator) hunter came to ‘New  Way City’ to hunt the greatest of prey- man. According to the introductory narration, we can assume that the creature had been there for some time, earning the nick name “the New Way Devil”. The Devil had taken to hunting and killing gangsters and mob bosses, and his hunt was coming to an end. However, the devil slipped up, and on the night where he killed Bruno Borgia, the God of Gansters, he sustained serious injury (you find out how later in the game). Dropping his advanced equipment, the Devil fled, making for his final target before leaving the planet. This is where the player is given control of the Predator.

Players must carve a path through a mob of rioting prohibition-era gangsters. When the last of his victims dies, the player must return to their ship, however the floor collapses beneath you en route, trapping you underground. Predator fans can probably predict what happens next. Bound by the ways of the Yautja, who do not want the population to know of their existence, the New Way Devil activates his ships self-destruction sequence, hoping to wipe its error and existence from the Earth.

The predator had the misfortune of surviving the explosion, and was forced to face the harsh judgement of his kin who arrived shortly after the explosion. Exiled to a desolate planet, the predator had to fight and survive to live his life of shame, atoning for the sins and consequences of his grievous error in judgement. However, we soon discover that the predator must atone for that and more, as his actions on Earth sent ripples through time, effecting the world in a way that was never meant to be.

One hundred years pass, and the New Way Devil has survived his exile. When his kinsmen arrive, he presumes that it is time for him to return to his people- but he is wrong. After watching a recording aboard the ship, he sees that humans found his hunting technology and adapted it into their own machinery, which was used in turn against his kin. As a result of this, he is sent back to earth, where he must atone for the sins of his past, and avoid further damaging the future.

Game Mechanics

Now, as this is an Original Xbox game, it is not surprising that the game will have its bugs and faults, however Predator: Concrete Jungle’s gaming mechanics have more negative aspects than positives. Most of these aspects can be blamed on poor programming and the game engine.

Let us start with one of the largest problems, which is a source for many other issues. The developers could not decide on it’s genre of game play. Instead of focusing on a certain specific genre (such as a stealth adventure, Action RPG, etc) and building on it, the game slapped a general ‘adventure’ genre sticker on the product, which resulted in it having numerous but unrefined game features and playing styles, which result in awkward mechanics for the gamer.

For instance, there are some platforming elements in the game, as players are forced to scale buildings and leap from roof to roof, however it feels as though the developers took the mechanics of Super Mario and made it into 3D. The jumping system is primitive at best, and the mobility lacks any particular vigor that you would hope for while being in control of a massive Yautja warrior.  The game lacks a ‘recharge’ system for health/shields/energy (though it was not as prominent when the game was designed), which means players have to go on a wild goose chase to find health packs and power sources. While this is a negative feature to some gamers, others would find this to be appealing, as it forces them to be more conservative with their tactics and use of powers.

As with most adventure genres, this game comes with several different environments, though most are urban and seem to be similar in regards to the tactics used around them- the environment diversity really just boils down to industrial indoor, dense urban outdoor and industrial outdoor. The world itself is set in numerous non-linear stages that allow players to roam freely within the confines of the environment. These environments were cast in low res X-box graphics, which gave them a boring appearance after a while. The game fails to captivate players visually, though it does have ample amounts of gore to entertain more sadistic gamers.

The game has an interesting variety of weapons (which fell under two groups: thrown/projectile/Special and main weapons- which consisted of your Glaives and Combisticks). While some were the generic swinging blades of death that had a hand full of unique animations, others were very fun to use, such as the Smart Disk, and the Helmet HUD, which allowed for voice recording and mimicking as well as a whole boat load of different vision modes. These weapons, which usually could be upgraded, made for some entertaining and gruesome in game kills.

But what point is a weapon if you have nothing fun to use it on? Well, if there is one thing that Predator Concrete Jungle does right, it is allowing for a diverse array of enemies. While this doesn’t hold a candle to massive modern games in terms of the unique enemy collection, it was one of the few games that did it at an interesting extent in it’s time. We got to fight foes, old and new, including humans, cyborgs, weaponized mechs, the notorious black serpent like ‘Xenomorphs‘ (From the ‘Alien’ films) and even other Yautja. This put the numerous weapons to use, as some weapons worked better on certain enemies than others, which would prevent a player from obtaining a super weapon and using it for the entire game.

All in all, the mechanics of the game weren’t all that impressive, which is why it was not noticed by many gamers, as most reviewers were turned off by this factor.

Conclusion

All in all, while the game was low end in terms of graphics and general gaming mechanics, I do not believe it to be to the point where the game should automatically be written off. Its story and fun factor makes it worth a short term rental. After all, how many chances do you get to play as a Yautja in a large open world environment? If game developers decided to revamp the title, I believe it could be profoundly successful, since we have the technology to make the game visually captivating, and refined game engines to allow for smoother mechanics.

____________________________________

Hey guys and gals, I hope that you enjoyed this article; feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates. And remember to Like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheNerdNexus)

 

Mass Effect Movie (Official): Paragon Lost

That’s right. This isn’t a gimmick. All you fan boys will get your wishes, as Mass Effect is releasing a full length feature film, titled ‘Mass Effect: Paragon Lost‘.

Now, the next thing I am about to tell you will either further encourage you to watch it, or turn you against the film. It is not a real-footage movie, but rather, an anime feature.

The Story

“An untold chapter in the Mass Effect saga, following the early career of Alliance Marine, James Vega, as he leads a squad of elite special forces into battle against a mysterious alien threat known as The Collectors. Stationed at a colony in a remote star system, Vega and his troops must protect the inhabitants from an invasion of the deadly insectoid warriors determined to collect the population for unknown purposes.

Soon after the attack, Vega’s commanding officer falls in battle, forcing the young officer to embrace the responsibility of leadership for the colony’s survival. Having idolized Earth’s greatest hero and warrior, Commander Shepard (the central character in the Mass Effect video games), the young and idealistic Vega must now make life and the death decisions that will effect not only the lives of his squad, but the lives of every person in the colony – all of whom he has sworn to protect…” Written by Henry Gilroy (IMDB)

Wait a minute…this sounds familiar…

Well, if it sounds familiar, you probably paid attention to the dialogue in Mass Effect 3. Vega talks to Shepard about the mission when you interact with him on the Normandy II. He also tells you what happens, but I won’t reveal that spoiler.

Why Anime?

Seeing as I am not a fan myself, I asked this question. If you stop to think about it, the sheer budget for creating a Mass Effect film with CGI and actual actors would be sky high; that, coupled with the risk that the film would tank in theaters is probably what made the produces choose to go anime with the film. Even so, I have to admit that I am still going to watch it. The animations look interesting and I am curious as to how they will frame the Mass Effect movie without having Commander Shepard as the main character.

What Could Go Wrong?

Going from video game to film is never an easy feat; most game to film adaptations suck out loud, and it is impossible to ever satisfy all of the fans. This plus the fact that it is anime creates the risk of alienating potential viewers. While I am personally not a fan of anime, I am willing to give the film a chance, after all, what do you think is more important? The fact that it is Mass Effect, or the fact that it is anime? Along with these things, the fact that James Vega is the main character, rather than Commander Shepard has the potential to alienate even more potential viewers.

What They Did Right 

James Vega

While all of these things have the potential to alienate viewers, there are a few things that make the film attractive. One big thing about the film is that we know the story and the character. Players meet James Vega in the very beginning of Mass Effect 3, and have him as a party member throughout the game. While players will want to see Commander Shepard, seeing Vega prior to his time on the Normandy has its own special appeal.

Another thing that I find note worthy is the fact that this is not a prequel or a sequel, but rather its own story outside of the main arc of Mass Effect. This is a double edged sword with the potential to discourage Mass Effect fans, but it also has the potential to attract people who aren’t fans of the Mass Effect franchize.

Conclusion

For better or worse, the movie is set to come out some time this year. Directed by Atsushi Takeuchi, the animated film is going to be 84 minutes long, and promises to be an interesting addition to the Mass Effect franchise. Thankfully they didn’t release this film until they fixed the endings of Mass Effect 3. Check out more information about Mass Effect: Paragon on their website.

____________________________________

I hope that you enjoyed this article; feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates.

Game Preview: Dishonored

It appears that the ‘First Person’ playing theme has taken root in another genre: Action-Adventure.

Most notably seen in the game Bioshock, we witnessed how the First Person view could be used effectively in more than just in shooting games. Implementing new engines to further immerse the player in the experience was part of the reason why Bioshock was such a successful game franchise. While Bioshock was a great success, we haven’t seen many more games that push the First-Person view to its true potential. That was, at least, until we saw the first trailers for DishonoredMade by Bethesda Stuio, along with Arkane Studios, the same group that created Bioshock 2, this game pushes the bill for First Person Adventure gaming.

The fictional nation known as the Isles is choking in chaos. With the Empress dead, and a plague running rampant, martial law has come into effect. Accused of murdering of the Empress, decorated soldier, Corporal Corvo Atano is given a chance to avenge the people of this land, and his Empress -who suffered from the injustice and evil actions of other nobles, particularly the Lord Regent-, when a stranger enters his cell and grants him supernatural powers. Branded by the mark of the Outsider, Atano begins his quest for revenge.

Trailers that show game play styles: Gamerant Article with game play trailers

Now while much of this sounds similar to Bioshock, there are a few things that differentiate the game from its Studio’s predecessor.

“You could probably say that dishonored is what you would get if Thief and Bioshock had a steampunk lovechild in Victorian England while J.C Denton and Gordan Freeman watch”IGN reporter during trailer for Dishonored.

1. There is no set path in this game. While it is not a sandbox game, players still have the options to play to their preferences. While there is a linear series of missions, each mission is a sandbox within itself. Players can run in guns blazing, or crawl in the shadows.

2. The steampunk theme allows for a unique weapon set; rather than having simple guns, players are given intriguing weapons such as a mini-crossbow, and razor wire bombs. Along with these weapons, Dishonored has unique supernatural powers- doing away with simple fire, ice and heal magic, players have the ability to ‘blink’ (short range teleport), summon rats, and possess people and animals. These powers and weapons work together in a symbiotic way that allows for cool combined attacks as well as one of a kind game play strategy.

3. While this game has a similar paint-like visual art style to Bioshock, the environment itself is far more unique. Coupling desolate slums with breath taking wealthy areas, all tweaked with a touch of steam punk, the world easy on the eyes and appealing to gamers.

4. Complementing the ‘No set path’ game play system, an interesting acrobatics system has been put in place, allowing players to leap from roof to roof, as well as scale walls. While these stunts are not as easy on the eyes as those of Assassin’s Creed, they still add an interesting element to the game.

With these unique characteristics, I believe that Dishonored has the potential of being a mega hit in the video game industry. The combination of a intriguing story, a visually appealing world, and a unique game play model allows for it to be a one of a kind game. Be sure to look out for Dishonored in October of this year.

____________________________________

I hope that you enjoyed this article; feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates.

Information (Who we are)

Are you tired of having moments like this?

Image

What is the Nerd Nexus?

Don’t you hate the experience of waiting in line and spending your hard earned cash only to be disappointed? I know I do. Have you ever found yourself debating whether or not you should read a book or watch a show? Have you ever been afraid that all the praise you hear about the newest show or film is simply hype, and that it would be a waste of your time to watch it? Have you ever wondered if you should spend that 60 bucks on a new game that has decent trailers, but unclear reviews?

Well look no further, because you have stumbled onto a blog which has the goal of solving these issues for you. This is no marketing B.S. nor is place that harbors to bias. The Nerd Nexus was created to give you the facts, whether they are good, bad or ugly.

The Nerd Nexus is a blog that focuses on all things nerdy; we look at film, T.V., video games, and books. We analyze adaptations and we review original products. We look at the new releases that are not worthy of the title block buster. We look at the older things that prompt fits of nostalgia. We look at what is being hyped up, and what is being neglected.

We have the information that will push you to either buy a game, movie, book or show, or let it gather dust on a shelf at the store. This information was made by those with passion for media, not passion for making money. We have information that you have been dying to find and use in an argument with your friends about whether the book or the movie was better.

Image

What we hope to do

As a nerd, I have always found myself in heated discussions with friends about whether something is genius or garbage. Many can relate this experience, and can attest to the fact that in many arguments people fabricate evidence and stretch the truth. It is the goal of the Nerd Nexus to debunk false arguments and show the truth about the dynamics of something, whether it is an original film, game, book or show, or an adaptation of one (or multiple) of the above.

Services

  • Reviews (Film, Television, Games and Books)
  • Analyses of certain aspects of a film, tv show, game or book (eg. What makes Sandor Clegane [Songs of Ice and Fire] awesome]
  • Comparisons and Reviews of Adaptations (eg. Eragon the book vs Eragon the film)
  • Random nerdy articles of interest all around nerd fun.

About the Authors

While I know that I should keep myself extracted from my articles, I feel that you, the audience, have a right to know a little bit about me to aid in legitimacy purposes (Because we all have those friends who question sources when they are proven wrong).

My name is David, I am from the Turks and Caicos Islands, though I currently live in the United States. I am fresh out of college, holding a Bachelor of the Arts degree in the field of Communications. I am a nerd, through and through. I have always been a lover of scifi, fantasy and the paranormal, and this love has woven itself into my personality. I am a huge fan of Star Wars, as well as media that revolves around the concept dystopias [post apocalypse films, Orwell’s 1984, V for Vendetta, etc].

I hope you find this blog to be worth reading and showing to your friends. Have fun!

Dylan M:

Hello, I’m the other guy. You know, that guy. The guy you always introduce to your friends because they don’t have any friends you don’t already know? Yeah. That guy’s me.

I’m Dylan, obviously, and I’m from Portland, Oregon. I’m currently enrolled in Portland Community College, and I love to write. My passion started when I was 11 writing as the leader of the sports section for my middle school newsletter. From there I advanced to editor by the time I left for high school. That’s when I started to become a real nerd. I always aced my English classes, and even took a Sci-Fi writing course as well as one in Mass Media. I am one of the Gods of useless information. I know a lot of stuff that nobody would ever want to know until that one time that you’re on a game show and that sucker pops up in a question, but I wasn’t cool enough to be your phone a friend and you lost. Bummer bro.

Oh, and I Love My Ducks. You already know.