That’s right everyone, we just got the announcement earlier this morning and it’s a doozy. Seems that 2K games (makers of Bioshock series and Borderlands) made arrangements with Steam (services owned and run by Valve makers of the Half Life and Left 4 Dead series) and their steamworks engine to launch Mafia II on the pc. So you must be thinking “So what? What does it mean for me.” Well we here at HBHT are more than happy explain how this new business venture will benefit you, the consumer. With this Mafia II being launched on steamworks you’ll be getting the following awesome features; Steam Achievement, auto-updating, stats, downloadable content, and so much more.
President of 2K games, Christoph Hartmann had the following words to share about this exciting news “Using Steamworks to power Mafia II has been a great benefit for 2K Games and our development team. It’s meant that we can spend more time creating content and a great experience for our customers because we know that Steam and Steamworks are enabling these important features within the game.”
If that’s not great enough news we also get to share this with you. If you pre-order Mafia II on steam you’ll also receive a copy of the original game to play right away on Steam. If that’s not a sweet deal then what is? No seriously tell us because it would seem that we don’t know what is..
For all the latest gaming updates like the one you just read stay tuned to Halfway Between Here and There.
We want to know the dark ugly truth. Do you like the idea of Mafia II on Steam or is it a bad business choice. Share your thoughts we’re dying to know what you think.
Thanks to the fine gentlemen over at Rooster Teeth we now have just little bit more information about Bungie’s Halo: Reach which is to be released on September 14th. The RT guys have made this PSA (Public Service Announcement) on their site: http://www.roosterteeth.com where Red Team gets the order to go “home”. Needless to say hilarity ensues and while you’re wiping the tears from your eyes go ahead and check out some of the new toys and gadgets Bungie let them play with. Oh we’re sure that the map will get your BLOOD pumping if you know what we mean *wink*.
When I was younger, I was terrified the first time I saw the black and white version of Psycho. Everything in the genre spooked me. Even things that didn’t remotely related… like the X-Files theme song. I’m not proud to admit it, but I used to be the type of person that jumped at everything and anything, and I’d probably have a nightmare about it later.
However, things change. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but I do remember reading through Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery and thinking: “Wow, that was creepy. I like it.” Suddenly I wasn’t afraid of the genre, and in a random twist of irony, it turned out I liked it. Nowadays, I find myself looking through games, movies and books that are scary. For the most part, things have come up short or have just dissolved down to shock factor, excessive gore, and/or zombies. So, when I find something, like a game (Yes, I’m getting there), that actually is scary, I’m impressed. So, without further delays…
This week’s game…
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Here’s a brief synopsis. You play as FBI agent Ethan Thomas who is now investigating a series of grisly murders by the serial killer The Match Maker. During this investigation Ethan finds out that the killer may still be at the scene with him, and with the help of a few cops in the area, attempt to hunt the killer down. But things don’t go as planned and Ethan soon finds the situation out of control as the killer steals his gun. After being knocked out, Ethan wakes up in his apartment to find out that two police officers were shot using his gun. Now he finds himself on the run from the police while trying to prove his innocence.
In horror/suspense/thriller survival games, one thing that I’ve found maintains the balance of the 1 vs. 100 feeling is weaponry. If your opponents have no weapons, you have a melee weapon. If they have melee weapons, you have firearms. The protagonist always needs to have that little edge against his foes. The folks at Sega decided to say “The hell with that.”
That’s one of the things I like about this game. You find yourself on par with the enemies you’re fighting. Both you and your enemies will either fight hand to hand or with improvised weapons like pipes and axes. There are a few points where you get access to a firearm or two, but ammunition is scarce. However, the better part of your enemies are meth-out psychotic criminal ninjas who don’t feel pain and have a natural immunity to bullets (In truth, this is a minor exaggeration). It really raises the tension in-game.
The game keeps you on your toes from start to finish with a creepy atmosphere that doesn’t give up. No, not even for a second. I found it hard pressed to find any spot in the game where I felt safe for longer than a moment or two before I heard some crazed criminal rustling around in the shadows.
Check out Condemned: Criminal Origins for Xbox 360 and Windows.
Opinions are fun. Everyone has them (even though most of you are wrong). So why not assign simple numbers to a complicated thought process? It seems to work for Dragonball Z. Instead of justifying why someone is the best, they were just given an arbitrary number, and the higher it was the more badass they are. Simple enough. If it’s good enough for Dragonball, it’s good enough for me. That being said, I don’t conform to the stand zero to ten scale. It’s not deep enough, and besides, I didn’t come up with it, so it certainly can’t be any good. No, my scale of 12 is substantially better. Here’s a quick rundown on how I judge everything and anything I see on a daily basis (note that numbers are in no particular order):
7: Sevens are average, or are have good ideas with crippling flaws. A seven can be a good score or a bad score. For example, despite extremely positive first impressions, Brutal Legend was demoted to a seven because it was missing about a third of the game. An example of a good seven would be Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. I know I didn’t care at all when it was coming out, but in a very rare occurrence of me being wrong, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Anything seven or above can be considered good. Off the top of my head, some other sevens: The Darkness (again, surprisingly good for a game I didn’t care about before release), Fable 2 (glitchy, laggy, unbalanced, short, ugly, yet so easy you have to play it), and any shooter made by id after Doom 3 (including Rage. I am right, you will see).
8: Eights are pretty good. An 8 is often a 7 with one quality that redeems it. You have fun when you play 8′s. You would consider playing them again but likely not follow through with that because of laziness or having better games. Any company that produces a game, or movie, or whatever, that earns an 8 should be proud but also work harder to make the next game better. Some recent-ish 8′s: Resistance, Mass Effect, MadWorld, Batman: Arkham Asylum.
9: Nines would be what most people would consider great. This is probably the part where this scale lines up with your average reviewers. A seven here would likely corresponding to an 8 point something to an average reviewer. You love playing nines. I love playing nines. Everyone loves nines! The fall of 2009 gave us many nines (irony?), here are some: Demon’s Souls, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Assassin’s Creed 2, BlazBlue, Dragon Age: Origins.
6: I told you this was in no particular order. 6′s are almost good. You can play them, but you won’t have a lot of fun. They usually have crippling flaws that frustrate and/or annoy you. I’ve noticed I give out very few sixes, but here are some for your reading pleasure anyways: Prototype, 50: Cent Blood on the Sand (Hiiiilarious, if you’ve never played it.), Red Faction.
5: Seven is the first important division of the scale, 5 is the other. 5 is the lowest score you can give a playable game. 5′s suck pretty badly, but you can still play them because they are easy, give you achievements, have a redeeming story, or are just really funny. Any recent Tomb Raider games come to mind, Red Steel, the newest Banjo Kazooie game, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t see on my shelf from where I’m currently sitting.
10: Doubling our previous score, we reach the 10. Usually the pinnacle of most review scores, I determined after minutes of difficult studying that 10 wasn’t enough. 10′s are almost perfect and can best be described by generally meaningless words such as “awesome” or “excellent”. The most recent game I gave a 10 to was Mass Effect 2, which very nearly earned the score you will read about next, provided you haven’t got bored and stopped by now. Other 10′s: Fallout 3, Dead Space, Super Mario Galaxy, Call of Duty (any of the ones made by Infinity Ward, not their much less impressive odd numbered counterparts), Portal.
11: Eleven is the best anything has ever achieved. Even though I use this scale for absolutely everything, I have only encountered a handful of 11′s. I have certainly never seen a person who’s attractiveness I would rate an 11. Sticking with the video game theme of this article, the 3 11′s (like that band, anyone?) I have given out belong to The Legend Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Go ahead laugh at the cliché, I dare you), Okami, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I am ashamed/proud to say that I have the Symphony of the Night soundtrack on my ipod and can shred a few of the songs on guitar. Anyways, time to jump again.
1-4: Can be considered at best “a game”. Playing them is like work, or torture, and can only be excused for achievement grinding. Since I am too lazy to give examples of each individual number, here are some 2′s: Any Sonic game from the past decade, Lair, Haze, Anything called “Blank: the game” or “Blank: The Movie: The Game”
0: Zeroes are the garbage equivalent of 11. Impossible to actually consider a game, they almost transcend human imagination and inspire fear in the hearts of those who most play them. I’m sure everyone has games they would consider this bad. To avoid the usual clichés (Superman 64, anyone) I’ll just give one example: Trigger Man. My friend gave it to me for free and I overpaid. Maybe I’ll write a more in depth review of it some time. Anyways, time for the last unexplored number.
12: There will only ever be one 12, ever (maybe), across all mediums. I consider it completely theoretical because it is so perfect that the entire world stops to bathe in its glory. This is essentially God descending to the earth. This number exists solely because it is required to show that even the almighty 11′s aren’t perfect.
Anyways, that’s the scale. I give it a 10 on the scale. If you want to whine that there need to be decimal values, too bad. It’s staying as is. I suggest starting to use it to judge everything you come in contact with. Get other people to do it too. If their number is off by more than one either way compared to yours, they are wrong and must be set straight.