Thursday, April 5, 2012

Launch Date Announced for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Beta

The long awaited beta to the next entry in the Ghost Recon series has received a play date. On April 12th, Xbox 360 owners will have the chance to experience (some of) the multiplayer features the game offers. Playstation 3 owners need not worry, though. It has also been announced that Playstation Plus Members will gain access to the beta sometime over the course of April; as of now there is no specified date.

However, this is not an open beta. There are certain requirements before you must meet in order to partake on either console. For those on Xbox 360, you must still own your copy of Splinter Cell: Conviction (you know, that one game released way back when). The beta for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will be located as a selectable option on the game’s main menu. On the other hand, Playstation 3 owners must be current Playstation Plus members to download and access the beta.

If you do not meet either of these requirements, do not fret. There is one last viable option which is to enter the sweepstakes on the game’s official Facebook page (located here: Doing so could snag you one of 400 beta codes being given away. Though, there are restrictions, so be sure to check if you can actually enter the sweepstakes. Here’s one below to eliminate some confusion or questions:

Prize Eligibility

Only persons residing in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and United Kingdom who are at least 16 years of age can enter.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is scheduled for release on May 22nd.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Scariest Moments in Gaming (For Me, At Least) Part Four

Apologies for the week long hiatus on this segment; but, as promised, here is “Part Four” of my scariest moments in gaming.

4. Pyramid Head’s first (technically second) appearance – Silent Hill 2

Being a young, idiotic child, Silent Hill 2 truly frightened me (it was the first Silent Hill I played; I went back to the first game soon after finishing it). Besides Resident Evil, I didn’t really play survival horror games. When I heard about Silent Hill, it made Resident Evil seem like child’s play. Players weren’t a member of S.T.A.R.S. or a cop. Players were a dad, a husband, a lost soul in desperate need of reassessing life’s priorities and responsibilities. The town of Silent Hill made sure this happened. Through a creepy atmosphere where a thick fog hindered players’ sight, and a wailing siren, signifying the altering of reality as players knew it.

I knew about zombies and crazy mutated monsters, but Silent Hill 2 introduced something new to me: creatures that formed themselves through a representation of the character’s sins. They represented everything wrong with the character’s moral standards. Pyramid Head was the one stood out to me because I had never seen anything like him before. He was creepy, lugged around a giant knife, and hunted you down for the entirety of the game. However, nothing compares to the moment I first saw him (well, truly saw him; he chased you down a hallway but I was still in shock from everything the game threw at me).

For your reading pleasure, I will now give an account of what I remember thinking as this moment occurred:

Jeez, this game is so damn creepy. Where the hell do I go? I’m so damn lost. I’ll try this door. Oh, cutscene! I must be heading the right… what the hell is that?! Oh my God, what is he doing to those monsters? What the f**k?! Is he raping them?! That’s freaking gross… that’s disgusting. Good, James, hide in the room with the rapist instead of just leaving. That’s real smart. Wait, what’s he doing now? What is that damn thing on his head? Oh God, he’s killing it. He’s killing the monster. James! What the hell are you doing?! Put that gun down, now! No, don’t shoot at it! You’re just going to piss it-- Great, just great. Just what I need: another crazy lunatic monster after me. Where’d he go? Where’d he… Oh screw this, I’m taking a break.

3. The Bloody Mirror - Fatal Frame 3

While the Fatal Frame series has always gotten my heart pounding, I regret not following the franchise more faithfully. I’ve often looked at each new title releasing and thought, “Oh, those games are usually scary. I’ll try it sometime.” However, looking back I’ve realized that these games are true gems and belong to one of the scariest series ever made. If you don’t know, you are given a camera to snap photos of the ghosts. This is the way you combat them. No guns or 2 x 4’s; just a camera. Because of this, the tension really builds as you explore the environments and fumble to equip the camera when a ghost gives you a surprise visit.

Yet the one moment that truly got under my skin when exploring Rei’s house. This scare isn’t even a part of the main game. Instead, players can miss this occurrence if you aren’t aware of your surroundings (although you almost have to be blind to miss it because the fixed camera directs attention to it). This is due to the fact that there are additional ghosts you can take pictures of in order to earn more points. The earning of points, in my opinion, does take away from the horror aspect somewhat; but that’s a discussion for another time.

Back on topic: I was exploring the house, minding my own business. Moving the character down the hallway, I passed the bathroom and noticed there was a bloodstain on the mirror. As usual, I cautiously entered the premises (in this case, the bathroom) and walked towards the mirror. After taking a deep breath, I drew the camera and aimed it at the mirror. Suddenly, a girl, from behind the mirror, reached up with both hands climbed into view. I literally jumped out of my seat into a standing position, gripping the controller tightly (this was all accompanied by a “oh, shit!”). It was like a scene from “The Grudge” (the original of course). Out of pure instinct, I snapped the picture and earned a few extra points. Immediately after, I paused the game in an attempt to retrieve the runaway heart that leaped out of my chest.

Closing comments

Again, I apologize for the wait but I hope you enjoyed “Part Four.” Now, only one more part to go! I can’t promise it’ll be up tomorrow. However, I can promise will be up by the end of the weekend. Also, expect a couple more blog post in between this and the next part; especially since I’m going PAX East! Maybe I’ll even see you all there! Well, time to get my game on. As always, thank you for reading!