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01st Jul2011

EDG Podcast Ep. #114 – Too Much Free Speech

by Eric Bouchard

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Xeserox from Just Press Start joins Eric Boucahrd, Chris Maeurer and John Danforth as they discuss the Supreme Court decision on Brown VS the ESA. Stay tuned at the end for a bonus outake from Xeserox.

EDG Podcast Ep. #114

MUSIC

Intro – “Tank” by Yoko Kanno from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack

Break #1 – “The Touch” by Stan Bush from the Transformers animated movie

Break #2 – “Nothin’s Gonna Stand in Our Way” by Spectre General from the Transformers animated movie

Outro – “Dare” by Stan Bush from the Transformers animated movie

TIMESTAMPS

Our Weeks – 11:44

Discussion on the Case Verdict – 19:34

Discussion on the Effects of the Case – 52:20

Twitter – 1:33:04

Bonus Outake – 2:10:59

 

28th Jun2011

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

by Kyle Erwin

Introduction

The first Witcher released in 2007 captured the attention of many RPG players with it’s maturity and new approach to the genre. The Witcher 2 aims to top the first and has pushed both the graphics and gameplay. Aiming even more so for the mature audience The Witcher 2 pulls no punches, it has vulgarity, violence, explicit love scenes, and an incredibly dark atmosphere. So what does The Witcher 2 really offer? Read on to find out!

The Plot

You are Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher obsessed with The Wild Hunt and one of King Foltest’s main men. A moment between you and your “companion” Triss Merigold is interrupted when one of Foltest’s troops rushes into your tent to tell you that you’re needed. The game opens up with a castle siege in which Geralt participates despite seeing the battle as ignorant and selfish. Once the castle has fallen, Foltest reunites with his “bastard” children, but is briefly after assassinated. Geralt tries to pursue the culprit but fails due to the assassin’s wild antics. Foltest’s troops run into the room that the two entered together and find Geralt standing there with the dead king, Geralt is accused of the murder and is thrown into the dungeons. With aid, Geralt escapes and intends to clear his name. 

The Gameplay

This game is possibly the hardest game I’ve had to master, jumping into this game’s tutorial on medium will probably result in your death countless times. The gameplay’s learning curve is steep, don’t go in with the hack n’ slash mindset the real trick is making good use of the “signs”, The Witcher’s magic. Using your powers in combination with your melee attacks is key, spells like Quen will allow you to take a FEW hits without taking damage, and believe me you’ll use it seeing as how you can die quick if you don’t watch it. Rolling away from and blocking hits is just as important, hit and run tactics are vital as the game throws enemies at you that are powerhouses and must be dealt with using strategy. Almost every encounter can be fatal, but each victory is rewarding. Geralt has a a long sword meant for fighting humans, and a silver sword meant for the monsters. Switching up swords will be necessary if want to have the edge in a fight.

Leveling up and getting better gear will make this game much easier as well, depending on your style of play you can level Geralt the way that best fits it. As you progress Geralt becomes more capable, like for example if you have trouble in melee combat you can level Swordsmanship and allow Geralt to hit multiple enemies and be able to take and dish damage out. Gear can be acquired through various means, questing, searching corpses, merchants, and exploring. You’ll want to take your time with this as you want Geralt to build up as much as possible, there’s fights you can get into where you can be heavily outnumbered and you’ll find yourself reloading your saved game because you weren’t prepared and keep dying! As for questing there’s plenty of side quests you can do involving all sorts of shady individuals, and an expansive main quest that gets even deeper as it continues.

The Witcher 2 does have the “moral” choice system. It is more complex thought wise than what can be found in games like Mass Effect, where those choices are black and white, these are gray. You’ll choose sides and that will effect the story board, relations with characters, and outcome of the game BIG time so choose wisely. There is also a crafting system allowing the player to create armor, weapons or potions using certain items, metals, or fabrics. Finding the required items to craft gear is a good investment as it is usually better than what you can loot.  If you just want to buy some of the crafting items but don’t have the Oren (gold) it’s usually pretty easy to come by playing the mini-games and side questing. The mini-games include arm wrestling, fight (I shouldn’t be talking about this) clubs, and so on. The games help change the pacing but usually will only be played for the money rather than enjoyment.

The Atmosphere

The Witcher 2′s art style is a combination of Gothic, Slavic, and Romanian themes. The game looks amazing and is one of the best I’ve ever seen, in particular because of the lighting. The characters’ design and personality are unique and have depth, each plays their role and have some meaning.  The explicit content gives it a sense of realism/familiarity and keeps the Witcher 2 from being too fantastical, keeping you grounded in the setting it’s going for. It’s original and rich, it is guaranteed to be refreshing as the humanity vs evil horde/orcs theme has been played out too many times.

The Verdict

I absolutely loved The Witcher 2, it’s settings, gameplay and story were incredibly captivating for me. This is one game I would recommend without hesitation, it’s challenging and probably not meant for everyone but the people who dig this type of game should not be let down. Aside from sometimes hiccups in combat and not being able to start the game over again after you’ve finished it, I have no complaints, and I fully believe The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings reaches it’s goal and sets out what it wants to do almost perfectly. There’s plenty of replay value here, the game RULES.

Note: Be sure to save often!

27th Jun2011

Fish Food – Episode #35

by Jordan de Boer

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Listen in as Jordan, Eric, and Jordan talk about the latest in gaming, movies, music, and more!

Fish Food – Episode #35

24th Jun2011

EDG Podcast Ep. #113 – Podcasters of the Alpocalypse

by Eric Bouchard

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Listen in as Eric Bouchard, Chris Maeurer and Jay Sims discuss the games the have been playing over the last couple of weeks. including The Withcer 2, Beat Hazard, Torchlight, Hunted: the Demon’s Forge, Two Worlds 2 and some iOs games.

EDG Podcast Ep. #113

MUSIC

Intro – “Perform this Way” by Weird Al Yankovic

Break – “Ringtone” by Weird Al Yankovic

Outro – “Craigslist” by Weird Al Yankovic

TIMESTAMPS

OUR WEEKS – 7:15

WHAT WE’VE BEEN PLAYING:

Beat Hazard – 32:18

Torchlight – 47:44

Super Meet Boy – 53:42

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge – 58:26

iOs Games – 1:11:04

Brink – 1:17:10

Two Worlds 2 – 1:27:13

Mass Effect - 1:33:32

The Witcher 2 – 1:39:56

Dragon Age 2 – 1:43:39

Monday Night Combat – 1:52:01

Alice – 1:56:50

Amnesia: The Dark Descent – 1:59:48

TWITTER – 2:06:30

 

 

22nd Jun2011

Beat Hazard Ultra

by Chris Maeurer

OK, we reviewed Beat Hazard, last year, and we have given it quite a bit of lip service on the podcast.  If you are not familiar with Beat Hazard, check out my review, here.  Fast forward to this June, and Beat Hazard sees a major overhaul, whether or not you purchase the ‘Ultra’ DLC, remarkably priced at $4.99 on Steam and other digital retailers.  In short, if you are unfamiliar, Beat Hazard,would be the product of a union between Jerry Garcia, a pile of shrooms and Asteroids.  It uses your own music to create the environment, visuals, and waves of enemies that you will face.  So, can a game as awesome as Beat Hazard, really get better, or is this $5 that you could save for a rainy day?

What’s New

5428826 215x128 Beat Hazard Ultra

Beat Hazard has gotten a pretty awesome face-lift, even if you don’t pony up $5, for the new DLC.  If you stick with vanilla Beat Hazard, you will get the choice to play the original, unaltered game, or take the new perk system for a spin.  Only roughly 8 perks are available, for unlock, in the original game, but it does a great job of whetting your appetite, letting you know what Ultra is about, and giving you reason to take the plunge on Ultra.  In addition, you can try your skills out on the new enemies, and enjoy some really awesome, cleaned up visuals.  Now, I didn’t have any problems with the way the game looked or played before, but now everything seems to po, and borders on all of the ships and asteroids, seem much more pronounced.  So, if you buy Ultra, you just get the full list of perks, some touched up visuals, and a couple new enemies?  Well, that’s completely wrong, but, even if that were true, I might be tempted to jump in anyhow.

6300622 215x129 Beat Hazard Ultra

Ultra offers online multiplayer, new game modes, new visuals, social integration and new enemies.  To say that the game has been completely changed, is an understatement.  Where Beat Hazard offered same screen multiplayer, Ultra takes your games online, for head-to-head or co-op.  The functionality is fantastically integrated, you can either look for a match, or continue with your single player pwnage, and wait for a non-obtrusive, on-screen prompt to notify when other players are looking for a wingman.  Single player has become highly addicting, again, with the addition of perks and the new Boss Rush Mode.  I’ve included screens of the new abilities/weapons, in action, but they are the Ultra Beam, Micro Missiles, and Reflect Shield, useful for deflecting projectiles.  With all of this at your disposal, and the tried and true Bombs, don’t think Beat Hazard will go easy on you.  There are tons of new enemies, new attacks for the old enemies, and new boss characters, with their own tricky offensive endeavors.  Spider bosses and serpent bosses, are among my favorites, but the larger vessel bosses, that may look familiar, can now trap you with tractor beams, or launch squadrons of smaller vessels at you, so the action gets more intense much faster.

2011 06 18 00010 215x120 Beat Hazard Ultra

Now, all of those weapons, can be unlocked as perks.  There are many more perks to be unlocked, though.  Starting items, number of bombs, lives, multipliers and perks to be equipped, are also useful perks to unlock.  There are 23, in total, and a mere 10 of those can be equipped, at a time, so choose wisely!  Now, most of your perks can be leveled up, and simply unlocking them does not mean you can equip them immediately.  In order to be able to unlock a perk, you must gain enough experience to advance your rank, one unlock per rank.  Beat Hazard has integrated a currency system-enemies will drop currency, in dollar format, that you must collect.  With that currency, you can purchase or upgrade your already unlocked perks.  Perks such as adding an extra life or two, at the start, will certainly be more expensive than one that simply adds more multipliers.

The Verdict

2011 06 18 00009 215x120 Beat Hazard Ultra

I didn’t think that a game as stellar as Beat Hazard, could possibly get any better.  Beat Hazard Ultra has not only proved me wrong, it has rubbed my nose in it, like a puppy that messed on the carpet.  Only difference is, I am much more happy to be proven wrong here than said puppy(a puppy that co-writer Jordan DeBoer is right now saving from a toss into the furnace).  Beat Hazard was already a go-to game for me, providing hours of intense action, or relaxation, during it’s chill out mode.  The amped up visuals, and star system of new elements have just propelled that status to infinity and beyond.  If you are on the fence about Beat Hazard, go get the Steam demo, and see for yourself.  I have no qualms about telling you to go out and grab both the core game and the Ultra expansion, at $15, it’s the bargain of the century, as it will easily suck hours of your life away.  Sorry XBOX gamers, apparently LIVE could not contain the awesomeness, that is Beat Hazard Ultra, so you’ll only be able to get this awesome DLC on PC.  Shift those gears into hyperdrive, crank up the volume and get blasting!

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out Steve Hunt’s official Blog, here.  He is the CEO of Cold Beam Games, creator of Beat Hazard, and the source for some of my screenshots showcasing the new abilities in Ultra.  There is much more detailed information, and some videos on his site, be sure to look him up!

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