The War On.. Video Game o-Mania, Falcons And Stars

Welcome to the War for another week. In this column, I bring you my reviews of Dead Island and NHL 12, plus some comments on the Dallas Stars and the Atlanta Falcons. So, without further adieu, as it is a long column (I should know, I wrote this piece after I wrote the reviews), I suppose I’d better cue the opening.. Oh, before I do, I need to put this disclaimer: The following reviews include spoilers. If you don’t want to know, then don’t read it, although you probably won’t read it anyway.

Cue The Opening


I was excited for this game originally, going by the trailer I linked in the title (See, it pays to click the links.. all of them), and in the first several hours of gameplay, I was enjoying running over zombies and beating their heads in with a baseball bat, bit as time went by. I felt a sense of deja vu so to speak. For you see, for those that have played it. I want you to do one thing. If you havent played or don’t own FarCry 2, I want you to play it, and I promise you, that it will feel remarkably similar to a game which involves you killing zombies in an open world. Even though Dead Island and FarCry 2 are made by different companies, and several years apart, the play exactly the same. Everything from the way you drive, to the way you use a weapon. Exactly the same. So now I’ve mentioned that sheer disappointment in my book, let’s talk about the story.

First of all, you’re not in Australia, you’re in Papua New Guinea. Let me clear that up. They may not mention it exactly, but Port Moresby is the capital of PNG, and you enter the City of Moresby in the game. Even though Sydney is mentioned at the end of the game, you are trapped in PNG, but enough about that. The story is simple, there’s a guy that needs help because his wife is turning into a zombie, and he needs your help, so that his wife can be saved before she eats him (and not in a good way). You choose from of four characters (ala Borderlands), and help the character known in the majority of the game as ‘the Voice’, all the while, helping survivors and fending off thousands of zombies, with an attacking scheme that can quite easily turn into a clusterfuck, leaving you dead. That happens a lot. If you have more than say two zombies coming at you at a time, chances are you’ll die. If you get attacked by more than two infected zombies (which are zombies that run at you), at the same time, chances are you’ll die. If you end up in a group on zombies, regardless of type, you will, regardless of weapon equipped. The attacking mechanic, is often poor, leaving you frustrated and annoyed, and dead.

There is a variety of weapons, and most of which can be upgraded and modified to create more dangerous weapons. For example, you can re-create Cactus Jack’s famous ‘Barbed-Wire Baseball Bat’, or turn a wrench into an electrified death stick. Which can be fun to strike zombies with various weapons, but the weapons don’t last very long before they need repairing and/or break and become useless until you repair them. Luckily, there’s plenty of places to look for money needed to repair weapons, but also for parts that can help modify your weapons. Another thing, is the health. Besides the Medium and Large Medkits that can be found or bought. Health can be replenished by drinking soda and eating candy. Remember kids, soda and candy doesn’t make you fat, it helps you live longer.

Now to the end of the story, in which you meet “the Voice”, after he tricks you, gasses you, takes the vaccine, and is about to leave for Sydney on a helicopter with his now zombie wife. You may think that up coming is an epic boss battle to end all boss battles. But after you pick off the half dozen officers,  and the fifteen or so infected zombies that Ryder White (aka the Voice) sends after you. You end up facing him, after he gets bitten by his wife and turns into a big infected zombie. However, this isnt as epic as it sounds, because, if you upgrade your rage (rage being the ability to punch people with such force it kills normal zombies instantly), and use this against Mr. Voice, he dies, before the rage expires and the game ends with your characters bar the one that dies, escaping to Australia on the helicopter. Big epic ending that one.. /sarcasm.

The graphics are simple, yet unspectacular. The gameplay is far too familiar. The story is interesting at times, and there are several sub stories or tasks that you can complete as well, in order to get bonuses. The lifespan can be long, if you can tolerate doing the same thing over and over. What I mean is, kill zombies, die,  do a mission, kill zombies, die, repair weapons, die, kill zombies, mission, die, repair, kill, die, die, repair, loot, repair, die, mission, die etc. etc. You can go through the game again from the start, with all upgrades and weapon mods that you finish the game is. But personally, one time through is more than enough.

Personally, if I knew that the game would be as bad as what it is. I wouldn’t of bought it. I’ve heard others say that it’s their GOTY in terms of sheer enjoyment, but for m, the novelty of killing zombies died rather quickly. Besides, the zombie killing has been taken over by two far superior games in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, which have both been re-released recently in HD. My suggestion is, if you want to kill zombies, but RE4 or RE:CVX, rent Dead Island at best.

NHL 12

The sequel to one of the greatest games of all time (NHL 93), has returned! This time with legends! For the first time since retirement, you can play as such greats as Wayne Gretzky, Jeremy Roenick, Patrick Waaaaahhhh, Chris Chelios and Mario Lemieux. Play as them in the all-new Be A Legend mode, (which is Be A Pro mode, but rather than use a created player, you use a legend) and they can be placed in any team you wish. Have you ever wanted Super Mario as a Chicago Blackhawk? Or Gordie Howe scoring goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Or Gretzky back playing for the Oilers? All this can happen. However, don’t play as Roenick, and send him to the Dallas Stars to play. After just four games of the regular season, JR had 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists), and 25 PIM (mostly due to a game-misconduct I received five minutes into one game), and yet this was more than enough reason for the Stars management to send him down to the second line, because I wasn’t good enough. I knew the Stars hated star centres in the past (see Richards, Brad), but this is ridiculous.

However, with that saying, there isn’t really much wrong with this game. The gameplay is more refined, so it plays like a real hockey game. Players now jostle in front of the net for that tap-in or vital block. Goalies can now fight, be it Goalie on Goalie, or Goalie vs Skater. The Winter Classic is modelled to look just like the real thing. The commentary is still the same however, with Gary Thorne (who can also be heard on MLB 2K11), and Bill Clement, saying the same old things they used to, with a few minor differences. The arenas still don’t really feel like the actual arenas. I know it says that the Stars play at the American Airlines Center, and that the Buffalo Sabres play out of the Brett Hull Memorial Arena, but it just doesn’t feel like the arenas. The music played before, during and after the game isn’t the same as that played in real-life. They made an effort to fix this stuff for Madden 12 (even though that sucked), why couldn’t they do it for NHL 12?

The controls are similar to NHL 11, so fans of previous incarnations will find it easy to play. However, the CPU has been amped up a little, so you’ll find it a little harder to smash teams 10-0. The same leagues from NHL 11 are still in the game, and the national teams still aren’t licensed, which is a shame, because it would be fun playing in the KHL (which is Russia’s #1 Hockey League), especially considering the tragicness of the plane crash that killed pretty much the entire team of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which included former NHL stars Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei and Karlis Skrastins. It would be a good way to honour that side, by being able to play as them in the game, maybe EA will add that side in, as a bonus for NHL 13, as a memorial.

The graphics improve each year, with the legends looking like their real-life prime counterparts. The breaking of the glass is a nice new feature, in which you can now break the glass, with the opponent’s head. The gameplay is as slick as an ice-hockey game can get, it’s seamless regardless of which mode you play. The lifespan is long, with Be A GM, Be A Pro, Be A Legend, Hockey Ultimate Team (which is my favourite mode, where else can I have a second line of Derek Roy, Joe Thornton and Paul Stastny), plus the EA Sports Hockey League returns for those fans of playing online.

Even if you own NHL 11, buy this game. It may not be the game NHL 11 was, but it’s the closest thing you’re gonna get to it.

Finally, I’d just like to comment on the seasons so far of my Dallas Stars, and my Atlanta Falcons. The Stars lost their first game of pre-season recently, but I honestly believe that they’ll do well to even make the playoffs. They just missed out last year, and I think this year the changes they made won’t get them to that next step. Although if they do make the playoffs, then I’ll be the first cheering them on. As for the Falcons, well they fell to 1-2, after losing to NFC South rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-13, not even 140 yards from one of my fantasy WRs Roddy White could get them home. For the team which was #1 in the NFC last year, some people aren’t even picking them for the playoffs this year. Which is a shame, as even though they’re off to a slow start, they’ll make the playoffs, even win the division. That’s my pick.

That’s all for this edition, and in fact, my first real column for Wonderpod Online. I’m glad it’s over, because this took far too long to type, much longer than what I expected.

If you’re a fan of video games, or other nerdy/geeky material or just looking for that cool thing on the internet everyone’s watching, then check out Finally, if you didn’t get my Twitter account, it’s @ThatDamnDoubleC.

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3 Responses to “The War On.. Video Game o-Mania, Falcons And Stars”

  1. _G_ says:

    You know, this was great having two games that I have indeed purchased and have been enjoying the hell out of. I can even dismiss the spoilers (since I have yet to finish Dead Island). I think Bruce here will cater more to some of your criticisms of DI, which are accurate. The issue I have is more so how one plays. Yes, it is repetitive (as are all games), but I find the key to playing is about patience and position. I play this game like I would approach a zombie apocalypse. I would never run in arms flailing… that said, I've still died many many times. In the city of Moresby, I tend to car hop… like mini islands within the wasteland. It takes more time, but damn if it isn't satisfying to cross the entire city without dying. The resort and jungle (and sewers, fuck that place is scary) prove much more difficult with less places to do the same thing. Nonetheless, it's a fair review. I don't think I could win this game in a weekend though.

    NHL 12's review is also very fair. I concur, not that much has changed, but the game feels much smoother in controls and play. The physics, for example, are more realistic in aspects of momentum of the player's acceleration. I've enjoyed the online play scheme as opposed to last year (and especially the abysmal year prior where playing with your friends was discouraged). Goalie fights man, goalie fights. That one aspect warrants attention.

    I really enjoyed your reviews CC! Straight up honest and from someone who clearly invested their time and energy playing the titles. Even more so, I appreciate that you didn't bother with a rating/number. I would imagine much of the video game nerds here, like myself, would agree with that sentiment. I've never been a fan of ratings since I'm not the person rating it. You described the good and bad without the arbitrary crap. Well done, sir!

  2. BruceMcGee says:

    Yeah the spoilers are kind of bad with the game being out so short a time. Other than that good review and I really don't have my thoughts completely together on the title yet. One of those games that kind of puzzles me for various reasons.