Reflections: Titanfall Beta

[youtube id=”85_ufspaWRw” width=”633″ height=”356″]

I wasn’t sure what I would think about bots being mixed in with human players, but it really does increase the amount of action, downtime isn’t an issue because there’s always something to shoot at.  ~Eric Hollis

Titanfall Beta

Part Halo, part Mirror’s Edge, part Armored Core, this highly anticipated FPS amalgamation was released as a public beta this past weekend.  Does it live up to the immense hype?

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Here are my initial thoughts:

Not to start on a down note, but it would be really remarkable if the environments were at least partially destructible.  Sure, this would make the battle a lot harder for the soldiers, but it would also add a little more heft to the formidable power of the Titans.  Also, blowing up buildings with shoulder-mounted rockets is always an enjoyable time.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Ejecting out of your Titan while it turns into a nuclear bomb and torches your opponent is absolutely thrilling.  You can actually sabotage Titans while in soldier mode which keeps the playing field a little more even.  My favorite moment over the 25 matches I participated in was ejecting out of my Titan, launching my would-be Titan-jacker into the air, and then shooting him in the face before I hit the ground.  I’ve never played a game where I could do that.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

The leveling progression is taken right out of Call of Duty, pre-made loadouts are available at first, but after a few matches customization options open up at a frequent pace.  There is also the introduction of “burn cards” which enable you to temporarily power up your character, these are one-use only items you earn based on match performance.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Titanfall runs very smoothly, I didn’t notice any lag while playing, always a good sign, especially with an open beta.  I was playing on the One, not sure how it holds up on the 360 where most of the copies will be sold.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

I wasn’t sure what I would think about bots being mixed in with human players, but it really does increase the amount of action, downtime isn’t an issue because there’s always something to shoot at.  For people like me who are abysmal at shooters, this means I actually get a few charity kills every match.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Surprisingly I didn’t feel completely out of my element like I normally do in first person shooters.  The gameplay seemed both balanced and accessible.  I’m sure this might change when the full game launches, but I didn’t have any moments where I wanted to quit due to frustration, something that happens to me in every single other online frag-fest.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Titanfall’s beta was level capped to 14, which was a really good idea, because a lot of people would be in the high 50’s by this morning if it weren’t.  The first taste is always free, after that it’s sixty bucks in March.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

My biggest problem with the game?  The release date.  I had a blast playing it, but nothing in my mind can compete with the release of Dark Souls 2. Did you play Titanfall this weekend?  What did you think?  There’s plenty of time left to try it out, they aren’t talking the beta down until the 19th.

WET

WET is a unique-looking game with a lot of fun features. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for with a Kill Billesque storyline and visual styling, and ridiculous gunplay that is over the top and absurdly fun. Unfortunately, WET isn’t a perfect game because it lacks creative depth and can feel repetitive, but it is definitely a fun shooter if you’re just looking to kill a couple of hours. ~Geoff Calver

WET

Gameplay

WET tells the story of female assassin Rubi Malone. Rubi carries a pair of revolvers and a sword, and she dispatches her foes with style. The game obviously focuses on having fun while completing your mission. Rubi is beautiful and athletic. She is able to run along walls, jump high over obstacles, and slide for ungodly lengths of time along the floor, all while shooting not just at one enemy, but at two. The game encourages you to run along a wall and then jump into mid-air and slide along the floor while killing enemies left and right. As you perform such combinations, you have points rack up. The more points you gain putting together awesome acrobatics and the more enemies you kill while performing the acrobatics, the faster your health will replenish and the more points you’ll have to spend towards upgrading Rubi’s weapons at the end of each mission.

WET - Xbox 360

WET tells an interesting, if a bit convoluted story. The game begins with Rubi watching a suitcase being handed between two men in an ornate room in Chinatown. The suitcase is her target – she needs to retrieve it – and she crashes through the glass ceiling and begins shooting up the place. This leads to a chase where she follows Simmons, the man carrying the suitcase. It turns out the suitcase holds a heart, which a man named Ackers has hired Rubi to retrieve so that he may have heart surgery. He rewards her well and comes back a year later asking if she can go to Hong Kong and find their heir to his crime fortune, Trevor. From there, Rubi travels around the globe through a twisted plot of backstabbing, lies, and falsehoods. She gets beat up a few times, engages herself in high-speed chases, and in the end, prevails.

WET - Xbox 360

The story of WET is fun in that it is over the top, just like the gameplay. The twists and turns are at times so ridiculous that you feel you are watching a ‘70s B grade action film. And that’s the point. WET is fashioned to look and feel like a Kill Bill or even more aptly, Grindhouse style of film. It is over the top, action-packed, and features a grainy visual style meant to replicate cheap 70s Technicolor film.

WET - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot

Unfortunately, though the upgrades to Rubi’s weapons are decent (she can eventually gain access to shotguns, SMGs, and crossbows); they don’t change the gameplay dynamic much. The novelty of putting together acrobatic kill combos begins to get stale when you realize that the AI isn’t very intelligent and are mostly just cannon fodder. The difficulty in playing through WET is fighting off huge numbers of enemies rather than thinking about how to do so.

Graphics

The graphical style of WET is completely unique to recent video games. The only other game I can really think of that reminds me of WET in terms of atmosphere, film influence, and graphical styling is the old driving combat game Interstate ’76, where bellbottomed 70s hipsters drove around vehicles outfitted with guns. It, too, was over the top in its action and in its depiction of its heroes, and it screamed of 70s B-movie styling.

WET - Xbox 360

WET makes great use of its graphical deficiencies. The graphics engine behind WET isn’t all that great. The character models look decent but not special, the locales are colorful and varied, but the amount of detail on the buildings, vehicles, and in everything else around you isn’t anywhere near that of many newer titles. What is impressive is how the team working on WET managed to work around the weakness of their graphics engine. The 70s B-movie looks manage to make it okay that the graphics aren’t like Gears of War or Metal Gear Solid 4. The screen has little dots all over it like grainy film, and occasionally a bar will move through the screen like a slide in a film that suddenly shows itself. If you’ve ever see a Quentin Tarantino film, you know what the visual style of WET is. And it’s really unique and fun.

Sound

The sound in WET is a mixed bag. The music is fantastic. It features a great score, and beyond that, there is a ton of original music made specifically for the game by artists ranging from Gypsy Pistoleros to The Chop Tops. It is excellent music that is loud, vicious, and fits right in with the game style.

WET - Xbox 360

The voice acting ranges from good to great. Rubi’s voicework is fantastic. Voiced by Hollywood actress Eliza Dushku (who is the lead character, Echo, in Fox’s Dollhouse) she sounds great and her voice really gives life to her over the top female assassin character.

The Final Word

WET is a fun, action-packed game that takes lots of inspiration from 70s B-grade action movies and Quentin Tarantino’s work. It isn’t going to keep you up at night wondering about where the plot will go next, and it isn’t going to be on any “game of the year” lists, but it certainly is a fun title that is over the top and features great styling, music, and an innovative approach to how you go about taking out enemies.

The Scorecard

73%

+ Great atmosphere that evokes Kill Bill, Grindhouse, and cheap 70s action films

+ Fun gunplay

+ Easy to pick up and play for just a few minutes

+ Excellent music

– The storyline is a bit convoluted and doesn’t really draw you in

– The graphics are dated

– The AI is about as smart as my fish

Family Game Night 4

[youtube id=”hKowz0OOcPY” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Overall I would still recommend this game to anyone with either a passion for board or family gaming.  It has its shortcomings, but they are not fatal, and there’s enough that’s right about Family Game Night 4: The Game Show to override that which is deficient.  Give this game some playtime when you have a hankering for some simple, clean, and non-violent fun! ~Dan Epp

Family Game Night 4

Family Game Night 4: The Game Show is a collection of mini-games set within a broader game environment.  You are a contestant (and can play with others or against computer opponents) playing to win a virtual version of the Hub Network television game show of the same name.  Some of the games you play include: Scrabble Flash, in which you attempt to form as many words from a set amount of Scrabble tiles as possible; Connect 4 Basketball, in which you must aim your basketballs carefully to form a row of four balls or to prevent your opponent from doing the same; Yahtzee Bowling, wherein the pins are the dice that you must knock over with your bowling ball; Sorry! Sliders, a shuffleboard-style (or curling) game in which you must attempt to slide your pawns into the highest possible scoring areas; and Bop-It Boptagon, which is essentially a hand-eye coordination and reaction game.

Scrabble

I found the various games to be a mixed bag in terms of “fun,” which arguably is the best metric to judge a video game based on a television show based on board games.  I enjoyed the Scrabble Flash and Yahtzee Bowling, and found I could play these two games multiple times while still maintaining a sufficient level of “fun” gameplay. Connect 4 Basketball could be challenging once you started shooting simultaneously with your opponent, but the Sorry! Sliders became dull very quickly as the gameplay did not seem to alter much from game to game.  Finally, Bop-It Boptagon was an experience that I did not repeat twice, and the memories of my abject failure are too painful to translate into the written word.

Connect 4

Mr. Potato-Head is the host of the game, and though he is not annoying like the bizarre host of the Family Feud Xbox game (the memory of whom has scarred me for life), he also doesn’t add anything to the gameplay.  The animations of the avatars are a bit silly, and not dismissed immediately with a button-click, which makes them a little irritating.  The play-by-play voice was a constant, “go get ‘em, tiger” kind of happy, which lost its charm over time.  Note to developers: if you want to see how a host can be engaging, perhaps even annoying, and yet bring you back for more, check out the You Don’t Know Jack series of games.

Bob it

A quick note: although the game features Kinect compatibility, as I am one of the last Xbox 360 owners in North America without a Kinect accessory, I did not test it with anything besides a standard wireless controller.

Family Game Night 4

Overall I would still recommend this game to anyone with either a passion for board or family gaming.  It has its shortcomings, but they are not fatal, and there’s enough that’s right about Family Game Night 4: The Game Show to override that which is deficient.  Give this game some playtime when you have a hankering for some simple, clean, and non-violent fun!

Thanks to the Classic Game Room for the awesome video review.

Limbo

limbo

First of all I’d like to say that for a puzzle platformer, Limbo is a solid game. It’s easy to pick up and play, the controls are simple, the physics are great, and it’s not terribly frustrating. It’s selling point however is supposedly the atmosphere that the game brings and the mystery behind the meaning of it all. It’s decent, not the best, but great for what it is. . .unless you’ve played other games like it.

limbo

There was a video on Youtube where in the comments people were talking about theories for the ending/non existing story for the game. The only thing i had to say was this;

limbo

My theory: he found his sister, the end. The only clues given about this game is the title and that this kid has to find his sister. That’s about it. sure there are things throughout the various levels that you can speculate about, but games of this style have been done before & better (another world, braid, etc). As much as I would love to pull theories out of thin air, I don’t feel there’s any reason with this game. it’s not THAT engrossing as a whole, & seems kind of lazy comparatively speaking. *end comment*
limbo
I guess the reason why I’m NOT ABSOLUTELY LOVING THIS GAME is because games like Another world and Braid were great simply because they were something different (and if you wanted a game shrouded in obscurity and dripping with existentialism, there’s always Passage and Yume Nikki) They were stand alone games. This whole “guessing game” within games buried in silent mystery and artsy-ness seems to be a new genre emerging.

limbo

I’m not sure that I like that idea of that so much. It’s not that I don’t like these types of games, in fact I love these games and games that make the player think and feel a sense of immersion, but I feel that it would give new developers an excuse to make a poorer product. This game seems to be an example of that. Don’t get me wrong, it’ still a decent game, and a lot of fun to play, but I feel they could have done more with it. It just doesn’t have the same charm as the other games.

Of course, if you haven’t played those other games that I mentioned, then yes, this game will be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever experience. It’s short, worth a play through, and definitely worth checking out.

Runner 2: Legend of Rhythm Alien

runner2

Platform games will probably always be my favorite genre of gaming.  This is certainly due to cutting my proverbial teeth during the heyday of the NES, the era where every other title had some sort of influence from the brothers Mario and their army of copycats.  Before I picked up Runner 2: Legend of Rhythm Alien I had never played a Bit.Trip title before, and I was only familiar with the main character Commander Video from his cameo appearance in Super Meat Boy, arguably one of the greatest games of the past decade.  Now I’m certainly going back to explore the titles I missed, because Runner 2 is unfiltered platforming bliss.

runner2

Runner 2 might as well be a checklist of how to do everything correctly in a video game.  The gameplay is extremely accessible and enjoyable, coupled with eye pleasing, unique graphics and an amazing soundtrack.  Difficulty in the game gradually scales but is unbelievably fair; you start off with a simple selection of moves and then slowly learn all of the combinations required to be successful.  There’s also some great humor (the hardest thing to pull off in gaming) and some phenomenal references mixed in to the package that I wouldn’t dare spoil here.  Gaijin Games even added hidden retro levels (unlocked by finding golden cartridges) that are extremely challenging and pay homage to those glorious days of the NES and Sega Master System.

runner2

Originality comes with how your character interacts with the soundtrack.  Every jump, slide, dodge, block, and kick corresponds with an intended beat or noise that complements the music.  You can miss these beats with little consequence besides failing a scoring opportunity (thankfully you don’t get a grinding Guitar Hero-esque interruption noise) but the soundtrack simply swells with a crescendo of awesomeness when you hit them on time.  In most modern games (especially first person shooters) I almost never experience what Billy Hoyle and Sidney Dean remarkably refer to as “the zone,” where the entirety of the room ceases to matter and you aren’t even thinking about what buttons you are pushing while conquering every single obstacle on pure muscle memory.  Playing flawlessly causes everything to click into place and you achieve an almost Zen like experience.  Runner 2 just has a magically fluid feel I’ve rarely seen replicated anywhere else, especially in other titles that also employ auto running and rhythm based play.

runner2

I did get frustrated often while playing, but it was the type of frustration that made me want to persevere to perfect the level, not the type that makes you want to place your controller under a rusty jackhammer.  When you make a mistake it’s never the game, it’s simply your lack of skill.  It’s certainly not as difficult as the aforementioned Super Meat Boy, but it still takes impeccable timing and precision to get through some of the harder sections, exactly what you should want in a quality platformer.

If you like platformers, pick this up immediately.  For fifteen bucks on the marketplace it’s an absolute steal, especially when there are sixty-dollar titles (Aliens: Colonial Marines for example) that won’t give you a fraction of the enjoyment contained here.  I realize that it’s barely March, but this is unquestionably the best title I’ve played this year.

Capcom’s Arcade Cabinet Review

Capcom, a staple in the world of video gaming for decades, is celebrating their 30th anniversary with the release of Capcom Arcade Cabinet, a downloadable game pack for the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3.

avengers

For 400 Microsoft Points (or $4.99) players can now purchase the initial release pack containing classic shooter 1943: The Battle of Midway, side scrolling Black Tiger and the hardly remembered Capcom arcade release Avengers. Other games will be made available for add-on packs to Capcom Arcade Cabinet periodically, all at a higher price per-game than this introductory release.

Seemingly influenced by the earlier Game Room download for the XBox 360, Capcom’s multi-game set-up doesn’t exactly provide the same arcade-like feel. The majority of the screens are filled with a generic backdrop that is more akin to a plain arcade cocktail table kit than anything distinctive to the original arcade feel. Given how perfectly the ambiance of the arcade was captured in Capcom’s previous Final Fight download, this comes at a bit of a surprise and disappointment.

1942

The emulation of the games included thus far appear to be spot-on, even providing the options for different versions of the game from around the world. Graphics, sounds and music look and sound just like the arcade originals and controls are very responsive.

One of the potentially biggest issues I can see with Capcom Arcade Cabinet, however, will be the depth of game selection. While several early Capcom arcade titles proved popular when new, the average gamer never saw the majority of them. Capcom’s main claims to fame in the 1980s came from it’s successful Nintendo Entertainment System releases, followed by the Street Fighter II series in arcades the following decade. For every Ghosts ‘n Goblins will be a lesser title such as Son Son that most gamers simply won’t remember.

black tiger

This first game pack represents this perfectly. While 1943 was a huge coin-op success across the world, Black Tiger saw far less success and distribution. Avengers seems to be included only due to the name, perhaps trying to capitalize on a familiar sounding name instead of nostalgia. The game has nothing to do with the comic book or popular film, providing players with a weird top-down beat-em-up game that is totally lacking in appearances by Iron Man, Captain America and Scarlett Johansson.

That being said, the early price point isn’t a bad deal for the still-fun 1943, and worth a download at least to have that as a fun way to pass the time. Otherwise, the player’s experience withCapcom Arcade Cabinet will live and die mostly on what they knew or remember from the earliest arcade releases from the now-iconic video game company.

Capcom Arcade Cabinet

capcom_arcade_cabinet

Retro gaming is as popular as ever and this is evident by all the releases of classic games. Capcom recently announced its Arcade Cabinet which will feature classic Capcom games in full HD and you can customize it on your PS3 or XBOX 360. A total of 15 titles will be release from Feb 19th until May featuring titles from 1984 to 1988 and you can purchase the ones you like, but if you order all 15 you get two bonus games for free.

Here is more information from Capcom’s Press release:

Downloading an individual title or pack will also give access to the Capcom Arcade Cabinet ‘platform’ which provides additional features including DIP switch functionality, a music player, and the ability to capture and share screenshots or video. When playing in standard mode, players will be able to access DIP switch-like settings to adjust their number of lives and difficulty, including a Casual Mode which tones down the difficulty level and makes it more attainable to see the end credits. Further features include 2 player online play for certain titles; a global leaderboard; a training mode with infinite lives to hone your strategy and an option to select either the Japanese or international versions of the individual titles.

In order to share their experiences with friends, PlayStation 3 users will be able to capture video of gameplay to post on YouTube, while Xbox 360 users will be able to upload screenshots to Facebook. Further additions include a sound gallery that allows players to listen to the background music of any of the games in their cabinet, and an art gallery which fills with new pieces as players progress through the games.

So in the first pack released this week we have the following:

1942

1943: The Battle of Midway: players pilot a P-38 Lightning over the Pacific Ocean and take on waves of enemy fighters, bombers and aircraft carriers in this vertical scrolling shooter.

avengers

Avengers: It is time to get tough on the streets of Paradise City and as players work to rescue six girls from the clutches of gangland boss Geshita and his henchmen in the vertical scrolling beat ‘em up Avengers.

black tiger

Black Tiger: heads to a fantasy realm where a bold barbarian encounters all manner of creatures and enemies in classic side scrolling and platforming action.

Now you can get Black Tiger for free and the packs will range from 3.99 to 9.99 with all 15 plus 2 free game for 29.99. So check it out and let us know what you think.

Twonky Beam app review

Twonky beam app

Digital content can now be seamlessly streamed to your television set through your XBox 360 console using the Twonky Beam app for iOS and Android devices.

While the XBox 360 already has a variety of video and entertainment applications available, the Twonky Beam app provides the user a greater variety of options as easily as pressing the touch screen on their smartphone or tablet.

For this review the Twonky app was tested on an XBox 360 using a Samsung Galaxy tablet 10.1.

Twonky beam app

Using the Twonky app proved quick and easy, with nothing to press on the XBox 360 itself other than the power button. Upon opening the app, a menu with a variety of available content choices including YouTube, ESPN, Funny or Die, NASA, the White House and Vimeo came right up. No clutter or ads got in the way of simply clicking one of the many choices and getting straight to the content. Simply click the Beam button on your choice and it will begin play on the XBox 360 within one second.

In addition, users can surf other websites while using the app and also gain the option to beam video content embedded within those sites. This is an awesome concept for those times where you choose to surf the net from your smartphone or tablet and find an interesting piece of video content. A simple press of the beam button can send the video to that big television screen in your living room to enjoy in style.

Twonky beam app

The video quality of the beamed content was just as good as the content appears within the websites themselves. While using the app only a little buffering was apparent early on in some higher quality videos, but at a level far less than often encountered when playing content straight from the built-in XBox 360 applications. Each HD video used to test the application, once streaming on the television, was indistinguishable from broadcast quality programming.

The Twonky Beam app is free for download and when tested for this review did as advertised, managing to seamlessly stream quality video content from the tablet device to the television screen by way of the XBox 360 console. A highly recommended download to your smartphone or tablet, especially if you use them to surf the web and view video content.

Skylanders: Giants

Skylanders-Giants

Whoever came up with the concept for Skylanders is a marketing genius.  The recipe is so pitch perfect it’s hard to believe it took this long for someone to execute:  Take the elemental centered and “gotta buy them all” appeal of Pokemon, mix it with the addictive RPG leveling and character progression that almost every game utilizes today, and then pair it up with a plethora of collectable figures that you can transport both between and across consoles.  The results are a franchise that has already grossed upwards of 500 million dollars between two releases with zero signs of slowing down.  But is the game any good or just a flagrant cash grab aimed specifically at children?

Skylanders-Giants

Actually it isn’t half bad.  I spent the majority of this past Saturday playing this with my nephew Jacob (he’s 8) and really enjoyed myself.  The game is akin to many dungeon crawlers like Diablo and Baldur’s Gate except it takes place in the uber-colorful and child friendly world of Skylands.   The interface is very simple and easy to understand; almost anybody could pick it up and play with little instruction.  Character leveling is extremely balanced and it has the familiar “just one more level” appeal as you constantly unlock better powers and upgrades for each of your individual Skylanders.   Jacob spent the better part of our lengthy session saving up hard fought treasure for a battle-axe made entirely out of bees for his favorite giant Swarm, and his joy upon finally earning the weapon was completely palpable.

Skylanders-Giants

Each Skylander represents one of eight different “elements” like fire, wind, technology, or undead.  The levels are divided with multiple gates and hidden areas that can only be accessed by certain elements, meaning in order to fully unlock everything the game has to offer you must own at least one character from every element.  If you are defeated, the only way to continue the level is by swapping out figures on the fly, making the game near impossible with only the starter set, but very manageable with a stable of Skylanders figures at your disposal.  (Defeated characters can be used again on the next level but not before)  The aforementioned starter set only comes with three characters, the game disc, and the necessary Portal of Power; so more characters must be purchased (Hey Mom!) in order to fully experience and enjoy what the game has to offer.  Some Skylanders are also much rarer than others (especially some of the newer Giants) making collecting these things highly addictive.  Again, sheer marketing brilliance.

Skylanders-Giants

Skylanders: Giants is also compatible with all of the toys released for the original game, and the level cap is increased from 10 to 15 for all of your previously purchased characters.  There are also new Series 2 versions of the original Skylanders that have more effective powers and different poses than their original counterparts, a very wise move by the developers to keep fans of the original excited about the sequel.   I’d be absolutely shocked if a third game wasn’t released this holiday season, right now the game has legs, something that Activision is notorious for exploiting on a yearly basis with all of their other major franchises.

Skylanders-Giants

It is also interesting to mention that the first game was titled Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, featuring popular gaming icon Spyro the Dragon who has appeared in almost twenty other titles.  Spyro never speaks in either game however, and doesn’t give you any sort of advantage over any of the other characters.  It almost seems like the developers were hedging their bets to get the game off the ground with a mascot familiar to the intended demographic.

If you are looking to enjoy some gaming with one of the younger people in your life you could a lot worse than Skylanders: Giants.   The title is certainly geared towards children but contains many of the familiar trappings of an addictive video adventure; I certainly didn’t grow bored playing it as I have with many other games.  Just plan to shell out a lot more than the initial seventy-dollar investment if you want to see everything in the game or actually get through it successfully at all.

Midway Arcade Origins

midway arcade origins

Nostalgia can be extremely arresting.  Can a gamer ever return to the feeling experienced when first taking out the Death Star in Star Wars, smashing multiple baddies with a single rock in Dig-Dug, or playing a flawless board of Ms. Pac Man?

midway arcade origins

Gamer nostalgia is also conjured by environments and contexts.  I’m sure most middle aged gamers have swapped stories from their youth about visiting the local arcade (remember those?) to plunk some quarters in their favorite machines. In those golden years, we played for nothing but score and bragging rights, and we were fascinated by graphics that were so remarkable that they couldn’t yet be reproduced on our home systems or personal computers.  I used to beg my father to take me to the PX on base (military brat, represent) so that I could play one of my retro favorites—the cartoonish cop chase game A.P.B.  It was my fond memory of this 1987 relic that led me toward Midway Arcade Origins. I do not regret the purchase.  At the same time, some of the classic titles within this trove of 30+ games simply don’t reignite the longing to play arcade games that I fondly remember from my childhood.

midway arcade origins

The first problem with the compilation is that some of the classic control schemes just don’t translate to modern joypads.  720 is a prime example. In my youth, I would eagerly line my quarters on top of the black-and white-checkered plastic control panel assembly, but without the circle-locked joystick on the arcade cabinet, the game is almost unplayable.  Too much die, not enough skate.  The same unfortunately applies to A.P.B., a game that is dysfunctional sans its steering wheel and pedals.  Granted, you can still get some enjoyment out of the titles, but they just aren’t the same without the respective racing wheels and other cabinet specific peripherals.

midway arcade origins

Unfortunately, there is also a lot of useless filler in the compilation.  The less you remember about Pit-Fighter, Xenophobe, and arguably the worst sequel of all time, Spy Hunter 2, the better.   In light of these weak choices, I found myself wondering why Paperboy, NARC, and Roadblasters were left out.  All three were extremely popular Midway titles from my youth, and all three could have easily made the compilation exponentially better, especially since Paperboy is no longer available on Xbox Live Arcade.

midway arcade origins

Thankfully I was able to get a lot of enjoyment out a few of the included offerings.  Joust and Joust 2 hold up extremely well, as do Satan’s Hollow, Robotron 2084, Spy Hunter, Rampage, and both Gauntlet games (just don’t shoot the food!). Two titles I’d never played before, Wizard of Wor and Bubbles, ended up being my favorites.  Smash TV and its sequel Total Carnage also play well with a modern controller, and they still serve as a reminder that most of these games were simply designed to get one more quarter out of the pocket of your Kangaroos.  This is certainly a staunch contrast from the “save anywhere, unlimited lives” mentality that permeates game design today.

Leaderboards are also included so you can still appreciate how badly you perform compared to other hardcore retro gamers.  Further, multiplayer is offered on any title that traditionally supported it.   While the limitations of portable console gaming and the omission of certain titles does make the compilation feel a bit incomplete, the game isn’t a bad purchase if you are looking to scratch that retro itch. Just don’t expect most of the games to play like they did when you were waiting in line behind that skeevy dude in the Iron Maiden t-shirt to get one more crack at Sinistar.

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman_Absolution_gameplay-screenshot-1

After an unheard of six-year console hiatus, Agent 47 triumphantly returns in Hitman: Absolution.  This title is certain to please fans of the Hitman series.  Actually, any fan of a thoughtfully composed stealth action game should definitely enjoy what the  designers at IO Interactive offer here.  The familiar mechanics of the series remain polished and fluid, the classic kills are plentiful, and the level design is top notch.

hitman_absolution_crowd-chinatown

This adventure is set five years after Blood Money, the only Hitman game offered on current gen consoles, until now.  In the world of the game, your handler and best bud Diana has sold you down the proverbial river.  After you assault her in the shower with your trademark Silverballers, she reveals a bit of information that sends the tightly scripted narrative flowing through multiple varying locations.   One thing you will notice right off the bat is how gorgeous the crowd scenes look. I paused the game multiple times in the Chinatown level to marvel at how many different NPC’s were milling about the marketplace.   The abundance of careful detail gives all of the levels an extremely realistic feel.

Hitman-Absolution

One of the signature features of the Hitman franchise is freedom of player choice. There are always multiple ways to dispatch your targets, ranging from the extremely silent and stealthy to downright straightforward and brutal.  You truly have the option to go completely guns blazing, more so than you might in other entry in the series. Yet, this approach is not without consequence, as it increases the difficulty exponentially.   The silent and creative approach is often the ideal method (especially if you are going for a high score) and is certainly the way the game was intended to be experienced.

Hitman-Absolution

 

For instance, the game welcomes the player to arrange creative ways to pull off the hits. The first level alone features at least ten different ways to take down the target, and each kill method is coupled to a challenge that will increase the score on repeat playthroughs.  Playing the levels multiple times is downright encouraged, especially if you want to best the scores of your friends. The incentive for the best score is heightened by constant displays of rankings, friendly reminders that you (or one of your friends) could have done a little better.  This certainly adds value to an already chunky package. With so many choices and encouragement to replay, the campaign took me roughly 18 hours to complete.

hitman-absolution-multiplayer

Multiplayer (a first for the series) also feels very adaptable.  Campaign levels are opened up sandbox style; any NPC on the map can be chosen as a target and then sent to your respective friends list.  Gamers can place restrictions on the assassinations; you can compete with your friends to see who can complete the hits most efficiently based on the parameters dictated by another player.  This adds an even greater level of replay to the game, and it also welcomes the creative contributions of gamers.  Hundreds of thousands of player-made challenges have already been uploaded, giving play time a durability that previous entries in the series failed to achieve.

If you are a fan of the Hitman series then you likely picked this up on launch day and have already relished in brutally murdering your targets with well-timed sniper shots, convenient natural gas leak explosions, “accidental” chandelier mishaps, and of course Agent 47’s signature fiber wire.  Hitman  neophytes will enjoy this title as well, as it is a suitable springboard into the series.  In Hitman: Absolution, the series has never been more polished and the level design is impeccable. I certainly enjoyed the stealth mechanics of the game much more than in any other assassin title released this holiday season.  Hitman: Absolution is therefore highly recommended; it has certainly provided one of my favorite gaming experiences this year.

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken announced on Kickstarter

Nexus 2 - The Gods Awaken

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken announced on Kickstarter

HD Interactive and Most Wanted Entertainment have announced the next stage in their quest to develop a sequel to their highly-rated Space RTS game Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, with the company launching a campaign on high-profile crowdfunding site Kickstarter to supplement their own financing.

“Nexus 2 is a very special project for the company”, said company director Mike Horneman,  “Nexus was our first game, and we still have many of the original team-members on board, with full plans in place for what we’d do for a sequel”.

Nexus 2 - The Gods Awaken

Launched in 2004, the game was highly acclaimed as one of the best spaceship battle games ever made, and continues to attract fans even to this day.

“We re-launched the original Nexus on Steam a while ago, and even now we see a substantial amount of new players buying the game each month”, said Horneman. “We have a very vocal fan base, and know that there’s a large number of people out there who would love to see a sequel made”.

 

HD and MWE are looking to finance the project with a mixture of their own funds supported by crowdfunding.

“We’re happy to put a large chunk of our own resources into making Nexus 2”, said Horneman, “but realistically we cannot fund the whole project ourselves. So, with Kickstarter, we can offer all our fans out there a chance to be part of the Nexus 2 project.”

Nexus 2 - The Gods Awaken

“The more you pledge, the more you will benefit; from thanks in the credits, through special boxed editions, right up to designing spaceships that will appear in the game. The largest donor will also receive a completely unique version of the game, where he or she is the hero, complete with facial likeness and voice over. We’re all very excited!”

You can find more info on the game as well as the funding details here

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhZQEvg1V0Y[/youtube]

About the Developer

Most Wanted Entertainment was formed when a band of Hungary’s hottest games talent joined forces with Dutch games company HD Interactive to create one of Central Europe’s longest-lived and most prolific game developers. We have launched games across many platforms, including PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo DS, iPhone/iPad in all sorts of genres.

Strategy and tactical games are our greatest love, however, with products like Joint Task Force and Nexus: The Jupiter Incident being some of the titles we are most proud of.

With our ranks still numbering most of the original Nexus development team, no other developer can match the experience, insight or love we have for this classic game.

www.mwent.hu

 

Weird Games: Naughty Bear

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

Sometimes you have a bad day and it appears Bears are no different. In this game from 505 Games, we meet a Naughty Bear that does not like being cute and cuddly like the rest of the bears and as a result is shunned and made fun of. Because of being ostracized by the community Naught Bear seeks revenge on his fellow Teddy Bears and you have thousands of different ways to scare, punish and disrupt bear society.

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

In Naughty Bear you have an entire island to explore and cause mayhem on. The island itself is divided into four parts with some sections and areas needing to be unlocked. There are a total of 28 levels on the island and tons of different objects to use and obstacles to overcome. Your job is not only to get revenge on the bears who tormented you, but also to avoid the law abiding bears who will try and stop your mischievous ways.

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

Now the game is not just about beating up bears. There is a “Mischief Points” system where the more you scared the bears and the different ways you scare them earns you more points. Not all bears will be frightened by the same thing so you have to mix it up. This combination along with the open world model keeps the game from getting stale as you come up with new ways to cause havoc.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfznS5Rw_UQ[/youtube]

You can find Naughty Bear for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Long before the movie “Ted” this bear was naughty and the game is definitely weird.

Sega Vintage Collection for PSN and XBLA

sega_vintage-collection

More retro gaming from the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis are on their way to both PSN and XBLA. Soon you will be able to play the Monster World Collection, which comes with Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World and MWIV on May 23. Next up will be the arcade edition of Golden Axe along with Golden Axe 2 & 3 and the Streets of Rage Collection, which will feature all three games. These collections sell for 800 Microsoft Points each.

sega_vintage-collection

For the PSN you get Wonder Boys, Super Hang-On, Revenge of Shinobi, and Alex Kidd in Miracle World on May 22. These will sell individually for $5 each. Expect more retro gaming to be released in the next few months for both networks and as we get the details, we will bring it to you.

Weird Games: Sneak King

If you only saw the title, you would think this is some weird Japanese stalking game. Instead, what you have is a weird and creepy advertisement for Burger King that should have been a web game not an actual game for the Xbox 360.

Sneak King COVER

Sneak King was one of three different games that Burger King offered back in 2006. I think you could purchase then for $2.99 with a value meal or something like that. In this game, the objective is to sneak up on people and deliver Burger King Burgers to them. Personally, I rather sneak up and deliver sausages but that is just me.

Sneak King COVER

The gameplay works like this, you are in what they call a “sandbox”, which is a set area where you can walk around freely. You will see various people walking around and as they get hungry, a hunger icon will appear above their heads. Now I have no idea why you would need to sneak up on a hungry person to give them food, but that is exactly what you do.

Sneak King COVER

Now like in games like Metal Gear Solid the idea is to stay out of their cone of vision. You can sneak up from behind, but the King makes a lot of noise so you have to be careful of that as well. You can also hide in places like garbage cans, (seriously, would you accept food from a guy popping out of a garbage can, what is this Final Fight?) or other such places.

Sneak King COVER

So you can earn points for delivering fast or hiding versus sneaking. Also, the hunger meter starts blue and then turns red. If you wait too long to deliver the food the person passes out for a while. Now why are there hungry people walking around until they pass out, I dunno. Even stranger is if you time your food delivery just before they pass out you earn more points, way to care about humanity, Burger King.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OnPXrOTBWc[/youtube]

This game has 80 challenges and once you finish them call you get a, Stealth Suit Overall, if you get this game for free or a few bucks maybe the weirdness is good enough to warranty the purchase, but don’t expect great graphics or long lasting gameplay.

Raptr’s Minecraft Give-a-way for XBL

raptr logo

Raptr is giving away 2,500 copies of Minecraft on Xbox Live for the Xbox 360 as part of their Raptr rewards program. Mojang’s award-winning game Minecraft will be available on Xbox 360. The Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the game features an innovative new crafting interface, natural controller movements, a full tutorial mode to teach the basics, and an all-new split-screen multiplayer mode on Xbox LIVE.  It will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade on May 9, 2012 for 1600 Microsoft Points.

Minecraft-Xbox_360_Edition

So if you are signed up make sure to log into your account on May 10th 2012 and check out the rewards section. If you are not a member of Raptr join today because the rewards will be offered on a first come first served basis.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LqZ4_g18xk[/youtube]

Eligibility to redeem rewards will be based on games played and ranks earned on Raptr; ranks are determined by time played and achievements unlocked. The Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition reward is available in all Xbox LIVE regions listed at the following link:.  All rewards will be offered on a rolling first come, first served basis. More details about the reward and who is eligible to earn it, will be available on May 10, 2012.

Trials Evolution

The much anticipated Trials Evolution has finally been released on XBox Live.  The sequel to the very popular 2009 title Trials HD, fans had high expectations for this motorcycle stunt game and will be pleased to learn it is everything it needed it to be.

trials-evolution-box

Trials Evolution finds the perfect balance between rehashing the same formula from before and remaking the game to the point it loses the charm of the original.  The game instantly feels like the original in your hands but quickly stuns with amazing new graphic detail and personality.  Very few video games have ever successfully managed to make such a deep improvement while retaining everything that made the original popular as well as this one has.

Trials-Evolution_gameplay-screenshot

Perhaps drawing inspiration from some of the user-created levels of the original, Trials Evolution uses obstacles and environments in far more creative ways than the original.  Even the earliest tracks have a more “extreme” feel to them while later tracks add elevators, moving cars and over-the-top explosions like never before.

trials_evolution_gameplay

Those that missed the original Trials HD will find quick tutorials to help them pull off various moves.  The Single Player levels increase in difficulty in a balanced manner and should provide players of all skill levels a fair level of challenge throughout.

Trials-Evolution_gameplay-screenshot

The level editor mode has grown by leaps and bounds and comes in two flavors:  a basic mode and a more advanced editor.  Both versions allow for an exponential amount more than the original Trials HD editor did while somehow still managing to be easy to learn and use.  This feature alone makes the purchase price of 1200 Microsoft points a bargain.

Trials-Evolution_gameplay-screenshot

The multiplayer mode provides the only real issue thus far.  At the time of this review, online matchmaking was taking several minutes at a time and would fail altogether on many attempts.  Once in a game, however, it ran flawlessly and could easily become a serious competition for many XBox Live fans.  Be aware if you lag behind the rest of the pack the camera will turn toward you once the race has finished, putting all eyes on your efforts to complete the track.  Hopefully the matchmaking issues can be remedied quickly.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43tj8X7dQ2s[/youtube]

All in all, Trials Evolution is easily the best XBLA game released in quite some time.  Such a deep gaming experience is rarely seen in a downloadable title and should provide hundreds of hours of play.  A must-buy for all gamers.

Latest sales figures show all three modern consoles now top lifetime NES sales

xbox 360, playstation 3, nintendo wii

Latest sales figures show all three modern consoles now top lifetime NES sales

The Nintendo Entertainment System defied the odds as the 1980s came to a close.  Released in a video game market that American retailers had written off as a fad, the NES not only revived the gaming entertainment industry but set sales figures that blew away the earlier console generation and the previous king, the Atari 2600.

The NES lifetime sales figure of  61.91 million consoles became the biggest prize for anything released after it.  Going into the current crop of gaming consoles, only two consoles ever topped the lofty mark set by the NES:  the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2.

Now, according to sales-tracking website VGChartz.com the PlayStation 3 has now also topped the lofty NES numbers.  Not only does this put all three PlayStation consoles into the top five best-selling consoles of all-time, but it also means the PS3 joins the Nintendo Wii and XBox 360 in that short list.  All three modern consoles have now topped the NES lifetime sales figures, a first for any console generation in history. (Author’s note: All three consoles have also topped the NES software sales figures, according to the same website.)

“It was just a matter of time before gaming became so popular that the modern big three topped the original console that revitalized the gaming industry,” said Eric Cummings, founder of the group Gaming World Wide.  “I’m happy about it.  It means that the industry has really arrived.”

Another gamer who remains an NES player to this day provided similar thoughts.

“I feel this is proof that gaming is more than just people who play games,” said Eric Perez, host of The 8-Bit Eric Show.  “It is part of a worldwide culture.  The fact that three separate consoles have outsold what I feel was the pioneer of revitalizing gaming shows that the industry is in great shape.  The Nintendo Entertainment System will forever hold it’s place in history, but this is also history in the making.  The next generation of consoles will be something to watch.”

The Top Ten Selling Game Consoles of All-Time (source: combined data from VGChartz.com and Wikipedia listings.  Excludes handheld gaming devices.  All stats are as of date of this article’s publishing.)

1.  PlayStation 2 (Sony, 2000) – 153.68 million units

2.  PlayStation (Sony, 1994) – 104.25 million units

3.  Wii (Nintendo, 2006) – 95.25 million units

4.  XBox 360 (Microsoft, 2005) – 65.80 million units

5.  PlayStation 3 (Sony, 2006) – 62.11 million units

6.  Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo, 1983, 1985) – 61.91 million units

7.  Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo, 1990) – 49.10 million units

8.  Mega Drive / Genesis (Sega, 1988, 1989) – 39 million units

9.  Nintendo 64 (Nintendo, 1996) – 32.93 million units

10. Atari 2600 / VCS (Atari, 1977, 1985) – 30 million units

 

Indie Game Gems: Mr. Gravity

The Indie Game Gems feature will focus on the hidden treasures that can be found on your XBox 360 for just one dollar.  For those that don’t look up from the latest Call of Duty long enough to notice, XBox Live Indie Games contains a massive amount of games created mostly by smaller studios and downloaded for very little money.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

This section will sort through the heavily stocked shelves of XBox Live Indie Games to find the hidden gems that will provide fun well worth the low prices.

We start this regular feature with Mr. Gravity, a game developed by students at the University of Utah and released last spring.  The object of the game is to help a happy little fellow named Mr. Gravity traverse through a maze and reach his bride Mrs. Gravity, who is patiently waiting somewhere else in the maze.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

Along the way, Mr. Gravity must use the power of gravity he holds to cling to walls and avoid spikes and obstacles.  He also must collect as many gems as possible along the way, though he can complete a level without doing so.  Once he reaches his smiley wife at the end of the maze the level ends.

Mr. Gravity nails the feel of some of the earliest days of video gaming.  The concept sounds simple enough and seems easy enough at first glance, yet is difficult to master.  It doesn’t take long for the game to become quite challenging yet still manages to find a perfect balance that allows it to frustrate you just enough to make you keep trying again rather than turn it off.  I felt reminded of what hooked me on the original Lode Runner on my oldCommodore 64 in the 1980s on some of the upper levels of Mr. Gravity, as the more frustrated I grew each time a narrow move saw me crash into a spike the more I wanted to beat the dang level because I felt I could.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

At the end of each level the player is awarded stars based on their performance in the areas of gem collection, speed of completion and how many lives were needed to get to the end.  You need certain amounts of stars to unlock later worlds, giving the player a reason to go back to earlier levels again and play them in different manners in order to obtain them.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

The graphics for a game like this don’t need to be complex yet don’t need to be too simple, and Mr. Gravity nails this aspect to.  The fairly simple graphics are given a color vector look and glow, reminiscent of classics such as Tempest and more modern hits such as Geometry Wars.  Both characters in the game change facial expressions based on what is going on in the level with a simple yet fun charm.  The background music is excellent, especially for an indie game, and adds a great extra element for the player while attempting difficult moves.

Mr. Gravity - Indie Games - Gameplay screenshot

Mr. Gravity is well worth the price of 80 Microsoft points (or $1.00 in human talk) and far more.  It manages to bring several original and uncommon puzzle game aspects together to make a challenging yet addicting puzzler with far more replay value than most puzzle games from far bigger game studios.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxKvdyzP8XI[/youtube]

Please share this article with your friends before trying the game for yourself or you might not be back on the internet for quite some time.  You can download the game from the XBox website by clicking here.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

Passwords of the Past

We have to thank our gaming developers for coming up with a way of saving our progress without those annoying long passwords. Remember the good old days of the NES where you would be very far in a game called Metroid. You decide to take a break and go outside for a change and write down the long grueling password. You have fun with your friends and come back for another session of alien beating goodness only to find yourself getting an error message while imputing the password. What did you do wrong, you wonder? Sadly, that was the reality of the golden ages of gaming especially with the Metroid game and don’t get me wrong, the game is great but the most important part of the whole game is knowing how to write the password. I had many problems with this, in fact I had so many problems with this game that I learned to beat the game in one run without turning the NES off so I would be able to see the ending and boy did I have a good ending!

Metroid-NES-Cartridge

Now, I won’t spoil it for you guys because maybe there are a few of you who have never touched this game so let’s just say the ending is well worth it, especially if you beat it fast enough. Anyways, I don’t think my NES minded me playing it for three-four hours straight. It was actually very usual for me to play it that long, but of course, with different games. Now, the only ones that were lucky enough to evade this were the Japanese as they got the game released on the Famicom Disk System which was an add-on for the original Famicom that would let you run disks. The idea was really good until they realized the disk drive would break very easily. So much for making a low cost gaming console… Either way, the Metroid disk would have saving available unlike our version. It made their lives more stress-free and ours a pain in the ass.

Metroid Disc

There were other games with the same situation like Kid Icarus which also got a Disk System only released in Japan and even Super Mario Bro 2J which was never released in the United States until years later. Super Mario Bros 2J would keep a track of how many times you beat the games by adding a small mushroom at the top of the screen, it was quite interesting because I bought a couple of those games for my disk system and found myself with a screen filled with mushrooms! Someone sure loves his Mario! Overall, we have to take into account the changes to video games over the years, things such as passwords were used up all the way to the Playstation one and Nintendo 64 era so they are not that old. Of course, we don’t even use them anymore due to having advanced consoles such as the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

XBox 360 passes Nintendo Entertainment System on all-time sales list

Xbox-360-Elite
In the midst of a strong holiday sales season, Microsoft’s XBox 360 has now reached lifetime sales of 62.6 million console units, overtaking the Nintendo Entertainment System as the fourth highest-selling game console ever (not counting handhelds).

Released first as the Famicom in Japan in 1983, the NES first came to North America in 1985 and quite literally brought the American video game industry back from death. Production on the console finally ceased in 2003 when it was finally discontinued in Japan. Through this lifespan, the Famicom/NES sold 61.91 million total consoles worldwide.

The XBox 360 first hit shelves in November 2005 and despite weak lifetime sales in Japan, the Microsoft unit has managed to reach this mark in far less time than the NES, taking only six years to reach this mark.

However, despite toppling the NES in all-time sales the 360 is still the distant second overall in the current console generation, trailing behind lifetime sales of the Nintendo Wii’s 93.4 million units.

The current console generation is likely to see a hat trick in regards to the NES before all is said and done, though, as Sony’s PlayStation 3 is also catching up with the NES sales figures with 59.1 million units sold to date. Even as big as the Nintendo Entertainment System was in it’s day, it appears destined to find itself ranked under all three modern consoles on the all-time charts.

The all-time best selling console (not counting handhelds) is Sony’s PlayStation 2, which shipped 144.45 million units during it’s lifetime.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

El Shaddai: The Ascension of the Metatron

A Little Bit on El Shaddai’s Developer and Director

El_Shaddai_Game_Cover_Art

Ignition Tokyo, founded in 2007, is a branch within UTV Ignition Entertainment that developed El Shaddai and interestingly enough, El Shaddai is their first game according to the International Gaming Network. It certainly shows with the game’s originality and creativity which is its strongest feature. Ignition Entertainment has published well known titles like Muramasa: The Demon Blade and various other games for different consoles and handhelds.

Takeyasu Sawaki is the director of El Shaddai in Ignition who is known for being the lead character art designer for Okami and the first Devil May Cry. This was no surprise to me as I played it, seeing similarities that are only positive. In many cases this could be considered a bad case but I digress.

Story

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LKdmChm96A[/youtube]

This is a modern (jeans, cell phones and all), fictional, and somewhat biblical account derived from the the Book of Enoch. It tells of seven fallen angels corrupting mankind and a scribe named Enoch who is sent by God to purify or send them back to Heaven with Lucifel’s help. Grave consequences await man should our heroes fail, including the coming of the second Great Flood.

The story concept has a lot of potential, but I feel that the development of it was El Shaddai’s Achille’s heel. There is a lot of information they could have expanded on from the original tale or not, especially because the game is not very long as it is. I personally did not understand the ending, which created more questions than answers. I felt it was a very simple story even though so much was said and implied that seemed to be ignored. There was a problem, there were hiccups in the hero’s progress, and then it was solved(?). It sounds normal, but suppose I wanted to spoil the ending, I wouldn’t be able to describe it with any kind of sense. I’ll just say I have mixed feelings about a sequel. I want an explanation, but it could also only make things worse.

Characters

Enoch_and_Lucifel
Enoch and Lucifel

Lucifel, the Lucifel we all know but don’t exactly love, joins Enoch in his journey as a save point and is the narrator of the game. It’s interesting he is a Korean pretty boy who speaks to God on his cell phone every time you see him, simply because it’s the opposite of what you would expect from such an infamous figure. Lucifel looks like he’s a club goer and Enoch sports a pair of jeans with his armor which you don’t see in many games. The more damage he takes the less he has on. I found this amusing.

Gameplay and Graphics

In my opinion, they are what make the game. I could go on forever about color choice and creativity. The color black is innovated for use in contrasts with others throughout the game. It works with many other crafty, artistic strategies to create an intriguing and sometimes even abstract environment. The stages are never a disappointment and change almost constantly in color, shape, and structure. This could happen as Enoch is running, walking, or not even doing anything.

Another great aspect of the gameplay is the fact the plane changes back and forth from 2-D to 3-D while keeping Enoch in a third person view. I haven’t seen a game so innovative with its graphics in such a long time, so it was refreshing to experience. Overall it’s no less than visually stunning.

The Battle System and Its Difficulty

El Shaddai has a hack and slash battle system that is difficult at what seems to be random times. Some bosses throughout the game are easy, but the strategy to others can be difficult to find, especially before the discovery of the Veil. It’s a shield that doubles as gauntlets that are overpowered and that I rarely switched out for other weapons. The other two are the Arch, an arrow-like blade, and the Gale which shoots projectiles and is meant for long distance. The latter two weapons make jumping easier and Enoch run at a faster speed but unless you need them for those rare purposes, at least I didn’t find myself using them. Difficulty is important in a game and you’ll find it in El Shaddai, but expect it to come at awkward occurrences.

This video is a good example of the battle system and environment, at least for the start:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owk6VntXfNs&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

Replay Value

The game is a decent length for the type it played out to be and has decent extras like an art gallery and character voice clips you can unlock. From what I have heard so far, they are tidbits to add to the story and possibly elaborate on it. DLC isn’t likely but it certainly is possible. Like many games these days, the replay value is dependent on whether the player wants to collect the little extras and fulfill achievements.

The Audience

This is hard to tell but not everyone will like it, that’s for sure. I appreciate art, creativity, and innovation in the games I play and that seems to be what is emphasized the most. I love El Shaddai’s originality and I can bet money there is no game like it right now. There is no gore or apparent violence so if you’re looking for that, this isn’t where you’ll find it. It isn’t a children’s game either because of its complex storyline and that’s why I agree with the “Teen” rating it has.

The demo is SO important in deciding whether one is going to enjoy the game or not. I know I certainly did.

A Summing Up of the Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good
-Hack and slash battle system but it isn’t noticeably repetitive thanks to the brilliant environment and graphics.
-The environment and graphics. I see colors and images like those in my dreams.
-Original; there is no game like it.
-The art created for El Shaddai is outstanding. I’m waiting for my artbook to come in the mail.

The Bad
-If there is a sequel to be made and it ends up not straightening out the story, not even the graphics and gameplay could save it.
-Difficult at awkward times, but this could vary from player to player.
-Limited audience.

The Ugly
-It’s ending.

Sonic on Sale

sonic-the-hedgehog

Xbox Live is continuing its sale giving gamers additional presents up to the New Year. Today’s deal is on everything Sonic, well almost everything. Take 60% off the normal price of the following tittles.

Sonic 4, Episode 1

800

320

60%

Sonic Adventure

800

320

60%

Sonic Adventure Upgrade

400

160

60%

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

400

160

60%

Sonic the Hedgehog

400

160

60%

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

400

160

60%

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb6ibNBFtcE[/youtube]

Thanks to Major Nelson for the info. Now get out there and get the goods!

What are the best-selling video game consoles of all time?

gaming-consoles

With the holiday season upon us, it appears each modern-day video game console is primed to do more big numbers.  While this is nothing new to video gaming throughout most of the past three decades, the sheer numbers are telling of just how much the industry has grown and how much more it may grow before it levels off.

The original “must have” game console was the Atari Video Computer System, later called the Atari 2600.  While it didn’t catch on right away, the 2600 was the clear sales leader of the early generations, selling around 30 million units in it’s lifetime, six times more than competing consolesIntellivision and ColecoVision sold combined.

Even with such numbers, however, the lifetime figures of Atari’s classic console have been beaten many times over.  While 1996’s Nintendo 64 failed to catch on like retailers had hoped, it still managed to outsell the 2600 in the end my almost 3 million units.  Nonetheless, it was tagged a failure by Nintendo compared to previous consoles.

classic_video_game-consoles

The biggest Nintendo console for some time was theNintendo Entertainment System, which moved almost 62 million consoles in it’s lifetime, saving the video game industry in North America.  Only recently did Nintendo manage to defeat it’s own sales record with the Nintendo Wii, which has now hit the 90 million unit mark.

The NES may come down the lifetime charts by the end of some other console runs, however.  The XBox 360 is nearing the 58 million unit mark with Sony’s PlayStation 3 not far behind it with over 55 million units sold as of this writing.

Even though it is in last place in the current console generation, the PlayStation 3 may still reach the top five selling consoles of all time by the end of it’s run, giving Sony three of the best selling consoles ever.  The PlayStation 2rules the roost with a whopping 153.5 million units sold, a mark that beat Sony’s own record with the originalPlayStation, which shipped over 102 million consoles.

While this article isn’t including handhelds it is interesting to note that the Nintendo DS has sold 149 million units (not including the 3DS model), a number that means it’s already trumped the unreal sales numbers of the original GameBoyhandhelds that had ruled the market for over a decade.

classic-consoles

Here is a list of the top selling consoles of all time, according to Wikipedia.  Where do your favorite systems rank?

1.  Sony PlayStation 2 (2000) – 153.5 million

2.  Sony PlayStation (1994) – 102.49 million

3.  Nintendo Wii (2006) – 89.36 million *

4.  Nintendo Entertainment System (1985) – 61.91 million

5.  Microsoft XBox 360 (2005) – 57.6 million *

6.  Sony PlayStation 3 (2006) – 55.5 million *

7.  Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1990) – 49.10 million

8.  Sega Genesis (1988) – 39 million

9.  Nintendo 64 (1996) – 32.93 million

10. Atari VCS/2600 (1977) – 30 million

11. Microsoft XBox (2001) – 24 million

12. Nintendo GameCube (2001) – 21.74 million

13. Sega Dreamcast (1998) – 10.6 million

14. NEC TurboGrafx-16 (1987) – 10 million

15. Sega Saturn (1994) – 9.5 million

* = Console still in production as of press time.

Holiday Hardware Guide

pile-of-christmas-presents

Do you remember getting your first console system or computer? The feeling inside must have been great, so much so that you most likely did not realize how much your parents suffered to get it for you. Check out my tale about one Christmas and the NES hunt.

You would think that you could not replicate that feeling once you are buying your own gifts, but that isn’t true. When I purchased my black Xbox 360 I felt just like a kid again even though I was spending my hard earned bucks and the same can be said for games like Batman Arkham City and the upcoming Star Wars, The Old Republic.

So you may have purchased your gifts this year and if you are lucky you have others buying gifts that you know you will love. Here at Obsolete Gamer, we look at modern games and systems that can also have a Retro twist to it, but in the end will bring smiles to our faces when we open it.

Genesis Desktop System: Origin PC

origin-pc-genesis

Here is the simple truth, you can build your own system or buy similar systems from any of a thousand retailers, but like the sexy MILF next door told you experience counts.

The Genesis is the premier desktop system offered by Origin PC and what makes this system and the company great is the different configurations they offer and the service and support they provide. You can go with an Intel P67 or X79 or even AMD. You can select the case you want and have multiple choices for everything you put inside. Best part is if there is something you want to add that you don’t see, ask them and they can hook you up.

Sure, you can have a nice house that looks like everyone else’s home on the block or you can create your own masterpiece by custom designing your rig with paint, artwork, lights and more and since pretty much everyone at Origin PC has been a gamer and in the business for over a decade or more you know when you need help you will get real answers.

The key for the holiday shopper is you don’t have to spend 5K on a system, you can build it to exact specifications and remove anything you don’t need guaranteeing you get exactly what you want.

You can check out the Genesis here.

iCADE: ION

I got a chance to see this system at the last CES and was impressed of how well it played using an iPAD. Now we all know you can find classic games on emulators, downloads and even in flash, but there was just something about using the arcade style joystick and buttons that made the iCade really fun to play.

Now currently it only runs Atari classic games which you can find more on the App Store so for Apple haters this might not be for you, but for everyone else this is a really cool device to have in your office or wherever you might game and for just under 100 bucks it won’t break the wallet.

You can check out the iCade here.

Siberia Headset & Sensei Mouse: SteelSeries

SteelSeries-Sensei-Mouse

Everyone has their favorite devices, for me it is all about comfort, control and durability. Having played pretty much every type of game and game system I learned what works best for me. For instance, I like the Xbox 360 controller the best because it works for me and the same is true for the mice I have tested and use from SteelSeries.

From turn around blind shots in FPS games to fast scroll movement in RTS games the SteelSeries mice have the precession and comfort that makes gaming and everyday tasks a breeze. I still use the XAI mouse I tested some time ago today and have no plan to replace it and the new Sensei mouse is now married to my gaming laptop.

Now as for headsets I fell in love with the Siberia because of its comfort and sound quality and the black and gold edition is pretty bad ass. Check out the full review here. I have been impressed with Steel Series products and their price point doesn’t leave you in debt after the holidays so for the people in your life that need computer accessories they are a great place to shop.

You can check out SteelSeries products here.

M.A.M.E. Arcade Cabinet

Northcoast Custom Arcades

Before the anti-pirate people come out the woodwork there are plenty of legal ways to play classic games on a M.A.M.E system including owning the original game. Honestly, one of the best ways to play M.A.M.E is on a full size arcade cabinet which you can have built or build yourself.

Personally, I never owned one, but I know a few that have and they built them themselves and it is pretty awesome. Pretty much the hardest part is knowing how to cut the wood and put it together, the wirework is not too hard, and there are a ton of websites that can show you step by step how to do it or you can search for several companies that will build you a system.

If you are going to go with a builder go with a professional like Northcoast. Just check out the awesome arcade cabinets they have already built and see images from customers. You also know they do good work because they were featured on the DIY network. Sure, these can get pricy, but it is worth it and if you are going to spend the cash make sure you get the best.

Just keep in mind this is a full size arcade cabinet so if you live in your dorm or small apartment you will quickly find yourself out of space, but if you have the room this is just an incredible addition to the classic gamer’s game room.

Check out NorthCoast arcade cabinets here.

Supaboy: Hyperkin

SupaBoy

So I first heard about this product on the Jace Hall Show page and knew I had to try one out. This handheld system plays original SNES carts and plays them on a 3.5 inch display that can even be connected to your television and two original SNES controllers.

Sure, you can get these on phones or pads or your PC and consoles, but there is something about having the original cartridge sticking out while gaming. Well, at least to me it is cool. The SupaBoy can be picked up for only 80 bucks which isn’t bad especially if you have a large SNES collection. I’m thinking Retro Stocking stuffer!

Check out the SupaBoy Portable SNES console here.

Get to shopping!

Now there will be more to come, but for now check out these products and see if any of them fit into your holiday gift giving plans. We also want to hear from you. Suggest to us some great holiday gaming hardware and we will bring a review to you.

Evolution: Indie development in Russia and one company’s transition to the U.S.

The year 2011 – the year of hopes – is coming to its end and it is time to sum up the results. It is about six years of own game projects’ development and 11 years in the gaming industry. Next year means new goals!  For sure, they will be more ambitious than those in 2007, when the idea of Deep Black project was only emerging.

deep black

What was it like?

In the far 1997, when I was 18, I first saw PlayStation console.  I worked for a company that was doing semi-legal localisation of gaming software at those “wild” times in Russia. Working for the company was something beyond description – there were not more than 3 similar companies in whole Russia at that time.  I was very interested in software development and it took me three months to do first “game” that would successfully run on a modded PS1 console. That game earned me 1000 USD, which was very decent pay at that time in Russia – taking into account that I did both programming and drawing.

Starting with 1999, I worked as a producer of western products in the Russian market. It was easier, than developing games myself. My core tasks were to find indie games developed on GNU and buy them to publish in Russia. Indie developers were surprised, that they could earn some money in Russia.  Later there were Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and much more game systems.  Semi-legal companies would become legal or disappear, owners of companies would change, but the localisation issue was still important. A DVD-format came to Russia.

biart_logo

It was in 2002 when I decided to set up my own company – Biart.  A first version of the company’s logo was introduced and then changed in 5 years’ time.  We were a young team and didn’t think about business-strategies – things were going well anyway. So we started experiments with design, internet services, opened three sound-recording studios and two authoring studios.  And  I hoped  that one day we would  have enough potential to develop own gaming project. So why didn’t we start developing our own game at that time? It was because we understood that we didn’t know the market well.  Besides, we felt that everything had its time. You cannot force yourself.

In 2005, I met an indie developer with an interesting concept and as I also had similar ideas, I decided to make it a commercial project.  So I made up my mind to go into the project and started searching for a script writer, team, and product placement partners etc. We had a small office and some money to finance the development. The development took us a year. We worked hard and devoted our souls and hearts to our work.

So in 2007 Diver: Deep Water Adventures appeared on PC platform. Deals were good at that time and we decided not to play with royalties and prefer a flat fee scheme. Publishers were more adequate then compared to the period after the economic crisis. Publishers were hungry for games.

But our German publisher cheated us and we did not get the last payment from them. It was a guy from Gost Publishing who sold rights to Frogster without paying to the U.S. No need to say that Frogster assured us that they had paid it all. Stephane Gonod – the guy from Gost Publishing – disappeared and half a year later announced himself bankrupt. It is funny that a year ago he set up a new company in cooperation with an ex-Frogster employee and when we accidentally met at a conference, his only words were “Shit happens”. God will judge him.

So the project was released and there was a question – what’s next? I always strive to set new, more complicated goals, so development for PC was not so challenging for me anymore. Everybody was talking about game consoles and I realized that we should slow down with Diver 2 for a few years and devote ourselves to own multiple platform technology’s development.  And accordingly, our new goal was now to create own engine for next-gen titles. I sent an inquiry to Microsoft and a miracle happened – we got a status of an official developer! Thank you guys, if not for you, we would most definitely remain one of those numerous PC-only developers from Russia. So I was one of the first who brought Xbox 360 devkit to Moscow. It was not easy at all to deal with the Russian customs, but once again, thank you to our account manager – Alistair, you are the best!

There was another challenging task – where do we get people and how do we get a team if nobody in Russia can program for consoles, optimise the code and – most crucial – artists do content of very low quality level.  But as they say, believe and love what you do and you will find people who will believe in you and in your project.  Another hint – feel and understand who you are going to employ, for someone without experience is able to learn and the other is only going to “eat” your budget.  Speaking of numbers – it took us a year to experiment with staff and content. The real development itself started in late 2008 – 2009, when the team got skilled enough.

PS3-Deep-Black

The project’s original title was U-Wars. Later we renamed it to Deep Black. Platforms – PC and Xbox 360. It is a third-person shooter with key moments being fought onshore and underwater. Special underwater mechanics, jet pack etc.  The idea of the game appeared after I read various articles about special underwater operation forces. We started doing a game about these Special Forces but then I changed my mind and we did it in the sci-fi genre, abandoning the previous script.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FPSF8-d28Q[/youtube]

The period of active development of the game was 2010. At the same time, we went into agreements with publishers and started working on PlayStation 3 version of the game. It was not easy, but for sure it was a challenge for the team!

2011 is a year of the technology’s optimisation and content polishing. And now I am going to tell you about all drawbacks we had. I think this may be interesting.

  1. Content

We replaced our game designer three times. There are no experienced game designers in Russia, who know how to do shooters. In 2011, I took over and we spent the entire summer polishing and balancing the game.

We should have done feature cuts earlier. It hurt to cut when we had to do it later. Still even after the cut there were 10 hours of gameplay there. We also cut some game mechanics. Gradually you come to understand that it is better to do less but in decent quality.

The pipeline settled by the development’s final stage. I relied upon level designers’ common sense and some of them were wrong when incorrectly putting emphasis in level design.  For instance, level designers used to pay too much attention to places; a regular player would run by within three seconds and would not notice.

Our major problem was that we lacked experience. As a result, too many iterations.  If I started the project now, I could economize not less than 1.5M USD (total to-date budget 4.2M). The pipeline and exact task setting – this is what counts. When you feel that your ship is going in the wrong direction, do not be afraid to change your staff. I said good-bye to those who didn’t match our dream team in 2011. If you are an indie, fire those who only work for their salaries and who do not go with the level of your team.

  1. Technology

First, there was weak understanding of the architecture and some mistakes of the lead programmer.  Let me put it like this: we were unlucky with our technical architect and had to re-do the technology three times before we dismissed him.  Integration of new features to the render was changing the pipeline in terms of art. As said above, it took us one year to experiment with the technology and develop first toolset. To me, it was like a joker in the pack – the arts and programming departments would set some terms, but in reality it appeared that nobody had control of the situation. Difficult? It was. Especially when you invest your own money. And your employees do like to experiment 🙂 As a result – we finally got a working technology for Xbox 360 and PC in 2010… But our publisher then wanted PlayStation 3. I have to admit that we were afraid of it. And not in vain.

At that moment we had strong guys in our team and decided that we could do it. We got the hardware in August. And we realized that we had to do the impossible – once again re-write the whole architecture of the render and do refactoring of the engine, as our engine was not ready for PS3 architecture. And in October we had to show the Playable to the publisher.

Gritting their teeth, guys got down to work and analysed the entire code in every detail.  The publisher waited patiently for something playable for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I, as a producer, had to look into it too – it was a serious step to do considerable refactoring of the code. But I trusted the guys and they did it.

biengine

At the same time, we provided for the possibility of the engine to easily add new platforms, as well as mobile platforms. The previous code was designed for Xbox 360 and DirectX. The new one became a real engine. Within three months a playable for PS3 was available. …. But how slow it was! 🙂

In 2011, while doing a team test and fixing multiplayer for Xbox Live and PSN, programmers were focused on optimisation of the engine code and PS3 render. Numbers? Ok! We raised these two-three times for Xbox and four times for PSP! We had 25-35 fps on PS3 without Cell optimisation.   At the final stage of development. We even used to joke about Stereo, but had already dealt with feature cut and knew the importance of total concentration on our tasks.

We reduced our staff by middle of 2011 and left only key people. It was clear now that it was not enough to do a game and fix critical bugs. One has to pass certification! And, let me tell you, this depends on the quality of testing. It is tough, as you start finding weak points in the code, when something hasn’t been considered well.  And at the same time, you keep on spending your money… And you do postpone your other projects. We had a three month delay and moved release date. Very hard times…

On the whole, the project lasted a year longer than planned. On the one hand, it was due to PlayStations 3 porting, on the other though, because of overestimation  of own abilities.

What now?

We started developing concepts of two new projects in mid-2011 and are planning to release Depth Hunter game about underwater hunting and treasure hunting  by December, 2011.  It will be released for mobile platforms later. Yes! We are indeed developing a version of our technology for mobile platforms – IOS, Android.

And Deep Black is going to become MMOTPS. We are going to launch it as a Free-to-Play by the end of next year. Depth Hunter for mobile is going to be Free-to-Play too. We are eager to work on free-to-play for consoles. I do believe that this is going to be of top interest in 2012-2013.

We have registered an office in the USA (Delaware) this year. So far it is our legal HQ, but we are looking forward to getting money for Deep Black to move to the USA. Unfortunately our business is in Russia and it is getting more difficult to search for investments here, in Russia. Unreasonable loan terms and local investors who are eager to get a controlling interest at once make it challenging to do business in Russia.

The political situation in Russia is not predictable too. People talk a lot about it and do not trust the government. Guys, we do want to work and develop games, rather than wait for another revolution!

A Russian Association of Game Developers and Publishers of Game Industry and Interactive Technologies (http://www.radit.ru/) was set up in 2010 by a number of Russian companies. We were trying to promote development of simulator games and gain support to develop an equivalent of, for example, “Canada” in Russia.  But in our country you can only do business if you pay bribes. I spent two years and a lot of money trying to change things. I have held two conferences ACGI (2009, 2010, http://www.acgirussia.com/), but soon realised that they do not need us. I have no intention to have anything in common with the current authorities any more.

So at the moment I am busy transferring our contracts and licenses to the US, dealing with registration issues and searching for investors/ partners for a long-term cooperation.

We have always tried to develop not only original and quality games, but also high-tech games. I think that we have coped with our task in 2011. I am sure that we will cope with our new challenge – move to the US – in 2012.

Six years after the company set-up, we are facing a new stage of the company development. I am sure that the upcoming 2012 will bring success to all our games!

Konstantin Popov

Founder & CEO of Biart Company

Dual Controller Charging Kit for XBOX 360 Review

memorex XBox_Dual Controller Charging Kit

If you are an Xbox 360 gamer, you know all about the issues of using the wireless controller. If you go the battery route you can find yourself not only wasting time switching out the batteries, but also spending a lot of money replacing them. On the other hand, if you go the recharge route, while a better option, sometimes even those batteries do not last as long as they should and you still have to charge them using the 360 cable connected to the unit.

I recently got my hand on the Memorex dual controller charging kit and it works perfectly for not only charging my controllers, but storing them as well. The unit itself is lightweight and is pretty stylish as well. Since I have a black Xbox 360, it fits perfectly with the style. The charging kit comes with two of its own rechargeable controller batteries, which is great because mine have been undercharging for a while now.

How it works is take the rechargeable batteries and plug them into your controller, then you can mount your controllers onto the unit’s base and there they not only sit out of the way, but charge as well. There are LED status indicators that show red when the batteries need charging and blue when they are fully charged.

The kit costs around thirty bucks, which is not bad since it comes with the two batteries as well. You can find it on their website and I am sure online as well. The unit comes with the charge station, which can be placed vertically, or horizontally, two batteries and the AC power cord. It does not take long to charge the batteries and once done, the charge last just as long as the official rechargeable batteries from Microsoft.

You can check out my personal pictures on our Official Facebook Page.

 

Batman Arkham City: Robin Pack

Batman-Arkham-City-robin

It looks as if the boy wonder has made his way into Arkham city, at least for those of you who purchase your pre-order through Best Buy. It is confirmed that Robin will be an exclusive playable character in Batman Arkham City and in addition, you will get access to challenge maps if you pre-order with Best Buy.

Here is what it says on their site.

While supplies last, pre-order the game for an exclusive downloadable Robin character. Robin is a fully playable character in the new and improved challenge mode in Batman: Arkham City. The Tim Drake Robin pack is available exclusively to fans who pre-order the game from Best Buy on Xbox 360, PC and PS3.

Robin comes complete with his own unique gadgets and special moves, and will be playable in all challenge maps in the game, as well as two additional challenge maps that are included with the pack: Black Mask Hideout and Freight Train Escape.

The pack will also contain a bonus Red Robin character skin.

A thousand two one this will be available within a few months on XBL and PSN, but still, to have this first is a bonus. Will you be buying it from Best Buy?

 

The Unsurprising Incompetence of Sony


We all know what’s going on with Sony. For those of you who don’t know, you either don’t game or you live under a rock. The greatest hacking escapade of 2011 has left the company’s loyal consumers hanging on the sideline while they hope to the heavens that their credit card info hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder. If you haven’t cancelled your credit card, asked for a new number, or put out a fraud alert by now it’s best advised you do so now.

What I really wanted to get into with this article isn’t Sony’s time and time again ability to completely fuck up everything they touch. I want to know why anyone would even remain loyal to this colossal abortion of a company?

Because Microsoft is the devil, Umar!

Microsoft can be whatever you want to call it but Xbox Live has provided some of the best online multiplayer entertainment compared to their other console rivals. True, the Xbox live community is immature at best. Again, it is true, most of the games that come out for Xbox are also available on the PC but this isn’t just about comparing PSN to Xbox Live.

I don’t care about the other consoles. Disregard the Wii, Xbox, or the PC in this decision. Why should someone remain devoted to Sony games or devices? If you can’t get past that, you’re missing the point entirely.

What is the point then, you fat asshole?

The point is, as a customer, why should you remain with a company that can’t protect your CC information? Why remain with a company who has been so crippled by the attack they have yet to restart their service? Why remain with a company that markets with an asshat like Kevin Butler? Why remain with a company that barely has anything to show at E3 time and time again and when they do manage to reveal something it becomes an internet meme?

And this is just with their Playstation portion of the company. They recently announced and moved forward with the shutting down of all Sony Online Entertainment games due to this “intrusion”. That means games like Everquest 2, Everquest… and what other games would be affected by this? Didn’t they seize operations on a huge plethora of their games? I know they have DCUO but how many customers can you upset by bringing that game down? Their ten remaining customers? Big deal. If this assault doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for DCUO then its loyal subscribers are used to be being screwed over and over again.

For a company that is already struggling to breathe in the MMO market, this setback is going to draw more players to WoW, LOTRO, and/or Rift. How can they recoup their losses? Offer a free month for the month they’re already going to lose? Give away 700 Station Points?
Thanks for the piece of mind, Sony. I’ll enjoy these small tokens of your appreciation for my loyalty while some criminal abuses the shit out of my credit.

Face it, loyal Sony fanboys. You’re on the Titantic and you can get off the ship and survive or freeze to death in the piercing icy waters of Hell. You aren’t Rose. No one wants to draw you naked. You won’t live through this.

I know a couple of people who are still riding on Sony’s cock. To them I say you’re a complete moron. Enjoy lubing up your ass with olive oil while this company and its attackers continue to fuck you from behind.

Now I want to hear from you, the reader. I want to know why on God’s green and polluted Earth would you want to stay with Sony?

Games coming out in March 2011 for Consoles

Crysis 2 wallpaper

It is March Madness and I am not just talking the NCAA. There are a number of good games coming out this March so I hope you have paid off all of your x-mas debt because it is time to open that wallet or purse.

Dragon Age II – Mar 8th


BioWare is back for the next full chapter in the Dragon Age series. This RPG will feature updated graphics and gameplay and a continuing storyline.

Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8th


I got some feedback for not mentioning sports games so here It is. We know 2K sports does it well and even if you are an EA fan you know 2K will make a good game and it looks as if MLB 2K11 will live up to the legacy.

Homefront – Mar 15th


PS3 fans rejoice because now you have a chance to play this story-driven first-person shooter set in the year 2027.

Top Spin 4 – Mar 15th


I was always a fan of the Top Spin tennis series and it is good to see it back for the next gen consoles. You can select over 25 pros and play in a ton of stadiums around the world and even create your own tennis star. Another hit from 2K Sports.

Crysis 2 – Mar 22nd


Remember the benchmarking game called Crysis? Okay, it was not a benchmarking game, but it did make a ton of people upgrade their computers. For us console owners this first-person shooter returns powered by the CryEngine 3 and looks as incredible as ever.

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – March 22nd


You have to give it up to the Lego series, even if you were not a fan of the Indian Jones and Batman Lego games the Star Wars series has always been fun to play. This time we enter the clone wars with overhauled visuals and new gameplay including cooperative action.

Shift 2 Unleashed: Need for Speed – Mar 29th


The unleashed series combines what we love the most about racing, fast cars and crashes. It is this mix of racing and violence that made Burnout fun and looks like it works for the Need for Speed series as well.

 

 

WWE All Stars – Mar 29th


One large complaint from the Smackdown versus Raw series was the fact that you could not play many of the classic stars from the WWE’s past. With WWE All Star the entire game is dedicated to the legends of the wrestling world and you can pit them against todays superstars.

Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday – Mar 29th


Yes, this is a PSP game and yes it takes the Parasite Eve series and makes it more like a shooter than an RPG, but there are some redeeming elements including story that makes this game worth the buy if you already own a PSP.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – Mar 29th


The Witcher 2 is a direct sequel to developer CD Projekt’s mature-themed fantasy role-playing game based on the works of author Andrzej Sap.

Back in Debt

There you have it, our list of worthwhile games to check out and perhaps buy. We will be back next month with a brand new list and trailers on games to buy, obsolete gamer style.

 

Games coming out February 2011 for Consoles

Luna Video Game Store
Luna Video Game Store

Ah, it’s February, Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and my birthday. It is also a good month for console gaming. Now keep in mind this list is not very game that is coming out, but the ones we personally think are worth taking a look it and spending you hard or not so hard earned cash on.

Two Worlds II – Feb 8th

This sequel offers not only enhanced graphics, but also a detailed and fun to play combat system that includes customization of attacks, defensive stances, and combat combos that allow you to fight back against the upgraded enemy AI that actually strategizes an attack against you. If you like combat oriented RPG’s this is worth a look.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 – Feb 8th

It is not just about racing it is about living the lifestyle that is the theme in TDU 2. Along with updated graphics, environments and cars you also experience the lifestyle of a Test Drive racer and all the trappings that go along with it. Not only will you have your dream garage, but also your home, clothes and tons of things to do outside of racing including a fully functioning casino. With single player and multiplayer options, this racing title is worth a check out.

Portal 2 – Feb 9th

The cake is still a lie and Value is making sure we do not forget it with Portal 2. This follow-up takes place directly after the events in Portal and we find out that damn computer did not go down for the count. During gameplay you will see the computers attempt to rebuild the facility with all the traps and tricks you were used to. In this version, you will find help from a friendly computer and with the co-op abilities announced it looks as if they have another winner on their hands.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds – Feb 15th

I admit I marked out for this one. I have been a fan of the series since X-Men Children of the Atom and in this new installment expect a lot of the good old with some good new. The stage and background environments have all been updated as well as the attacks, specials and music. There will be a number of new characters to choose from including Dante and Deadpool and old favorites like Wolverine and Spiderman. Point blank, if you liked any of the MvC games you have to get this.

Killzone 3 – Feb 22nd

Squad-based FPS games have been a hit for a while now on PC’s and Killzone has made its mark by creating a great game for the console. In this direct sequel to KZ2 you pick right back up with the team as they take the fight to the Helghast forces. As usual you will be outmanned and out gunned, but that is half the fun right. Guerrilla Games has promised many new features for Killzone 3, support for 3D TVs and Sony’s PlayStation Move controller, split-screen co-op, jetpacks and more.

Trade in Time?

With a number of good titles, maybe it is time to trade in some of those old games, but then again most stores cheat the hell out of you so you might as well keep them. See ya next month.

POD: Crystal Defenders

Crystal Defenders Logo
Crystal Defenders Logo

Crystal Defenders is the tower defense game based on the Final Fantasy Tactics series from Square Enix. The game is very fun and easy to learn. In a nutshell, monsters will come in through one area and make their way down a set path. You job is to place characters along the side of the path to kill the monsters before they reach your crystal. You can place characters that do damage or slow the monsters among other things and you can pause the game in order to plan your defense.

The game itself has been on mobile phones for a few years now and was ported over to the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now the game is available for Android users. CRYSTAL DEFENDERS for Android will have two versions: W1, an introduction of the game, and W2, in which players can utilize the Power Crystal feature to play more strategically.

The cost of the game will be between seven and ten dollars. The pictures below are from the Ps3.

Konami Announced Silent Hill: Downpour

Silent Hill Downpour logo
Silent Hill Downpour logo

Fans of the survival horror series rejoice the eighth game in the series is set to be released this fall. Silent Hill makes its return to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 will a brand new story, updated graphics, gameplay, and a soundtrack by acclaimed composed, Daniel Licht. Here is a sample of the music.

Silent Hill Downpour Music Sample

The story follows Murphy Pendleton, a convict on his way to prison when his transport bus crashes just outside the fabled town of Silent Hill. Stranded and alone in the woods just on the outskirts of Silent Hill, Murphy will not only have to find a way out, but fight for survival.

Along with the updated graphics and music, Silent Hill: Downpour reveals a new, expansive environment that is similarly claustrophobic and where the player is never truly alone. In the screenshots below, you can not only see the incredible new graphics, but also get a sneak peek at two new areas in the town, The Diner and the Devil’s Pit.

Obsolete Gamer was able to speak to Konami about the upcoming game.

Obsolete Gamer: Why the decision to go with a convict this time?

Tomm Hulett – At the start of each game we try to consider “what would be an interesting thing to see in Silent Hill.”  Other games have touched upon normal people who have done bad things, or innocent people stumbling on events much bigger than themselves.  But a prisoner is a person you would expect to have a lot of baggage for Silent Hill to exploit.  We felt this was an interesting premise that fans could speculate on as they awaited the game.  I wouldn’t say it was a deliberate attempt to “play a badguy” necessarily, but we did have discussions around whether or not people would/could relate to such a character.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you give us some information on the new gameplay and side quests within Silent Hill?

Tomm Hulett – In previous games, in order to progress the plot you might have to do some elaborate fetch quest puzzle involving artifacts or photographs or what have you.  And the clues involved might tell some side story that had little to do with the actual story (except tying in thematically perhaps).  The side quests could be viewed similarly.

Devin Shatsky – We’ve basically taken that notion that Tomm described above , and expanded it upon it exponentially.  We have this huge city at our disposal, yet in the past, it was comprised primarily of locked doors .  We wanted to give players a bit more incentive to search around, and check those doors without facing a constant barrage of discouraging locks.  This gives the player a greater sense that they are “exploring the town” and then rewarded with these mini-stories.  We’ve been very careful to keep these immersive enough to make the player feel like they’re still a part of the main story, yet separate enough that they aren’t forced into completing all of them in a linear fashion to reach the ending.

Obsolete Gamer: What have you taken from previous Silent Hill games and added to this one?

Devin Shatsky – We’ve borrowed elements from just about every past Silent Hill game in some form or fashion.  During pre-production we did (and still do) a lot of research in the fan forums, review sites, etc. for each game in the series, and we apply what we’ve learned from those past games into certain areas of Downpour as well.  The main goal being to do it in a way that pays respect to the past games and what we’ve learned from them, as well as trying to innovate where appropriate.

Now Robots Can Play Kinect, Too!

[youtube id=”w8BmgtMKFbY” width=”633″ height=”356″]

I am not quite sure how the humanoid robot balances itself as the video doesn’t really explain it but it does seem able to remain focused and not lose any center of balance whatsoever. ~Umar Khan

Now Robots Can Play Kinect, Too!

When Microsoft announced the Kinect, a lot of people thought that this was going to be just another peripheral gimmick. In reality, they were correct. It really was just another peripheral gimmick and a way to bring in another competitor in motion based gaming. The original intent of the Kinect was to just have some good gaming fun. In the world we live in, though most things that have an original intent get pushed into another direction by an opposing force. For the Kinect, this opposing force is a community of hackers that enhanced its capabilities. I am sure we’ve all seen things that people have managed to do with Open Kinect.

One user managed to make humanoid devices mimic movements applied in a Kinect. What does that mean? I mean he made a freaking robot simulate human movements! What else could I mean? Move over Iron Man because we no longer need the armored suit.

Humanoid Robot Kinect
Humanoid Robot Kinect

In the video it shows the machine doing the opposite mirrored movement but that’s because instead of facing the screen, it is facing towards the camera. The robot responds to movement inputs placed in Open Kinect programs and responds with a likewise movement. The robot shows perfect balance even when moving around with a weight on its arm and shows adaptability to remain as focused as it is in the Kinect movements.  I am not quite sure how the humanoid robot balances itself as the video doesn’t really explain it but it does seem able to remain focused and not lose any center of balance whatsoever. Give or take a couple of months and we’ll see what else hacked Kinects can really get done.

SEGA Dreamcast: Must have Collection

Sega Dreamcast Collection Box
Sega Dreamcast Collection Box

Mark your calendar Dreamcast fans February 22nd is the day for you. Sega will be releasing a special package compilation featuring some of the most popular classic titles from the Sega Dreamcast. Not only will you be able to get these if you have an Xbox 360, but it is also being released for the Microsoft Windows PC digital download.

Let’s talk games. This package include:

  • Sonic Adventure
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Bass Fishing
  • Space Channel 5 Part 2

The collection will feature enhanced graphics in addition to achievement’s and online leaderboards for Xbox Live.

“The Dreamcast console is still remembered as a pioneering console for online gaming,” commented Gary Knight, VP of Marketing at SEGA of America and SEGA Europe “We are delighted to be able to offer to our large community of dedicated fans a collection such as Dreamcast Collection for them to enjoy old favorites on this Xbox 360 and Windows PC.”

Street Fighter X Tekken: Teaser Trailer

Street Fighter X Tekken
Street Fighter X Tekken

If you love crossover fighting games then next year is going to be grand. Not only do we have Capcom versus Marvel 3 to look forward to, but a Street Fighter crossover with Tekken. This game was first announced at Comic-Con and will involve both the Capcom and Namco staff.

Now for those of you use to the 3D environments of Tekken you will have to adjust to the 2D mechanics that will be used in this game. Fighting will be more Street Fighter like than Tekken with moves like Ryu’s hadouken being available. In addition you will be able to team up with fighter from both series in tag play and you will have the ability to pull of super combos that combine power attacks of your team members.

As for this video you only get a bit of animation and nothing else, but we can tell you that a few playable characters have been named including Ryu, Chun Li and Akuma from Street Fighter and Kazuya, Nina and Devil from Tekken.

Currently there is no direct release date, but the game will be available for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

Games to Buy: Console Edition: Nov 21 2010

video games store
video games store

A new name and a new way of doing our weekly report on games coming out the following week. With so many games out there the fact is some will be worth the cash and some will not be. Beyond that some games may be worth picking over the others and so we have come up with a dollar sign rating system. One $ means it can wait until it’s in the bargain bin and five $’s means you should be waiting in line to purchase it.

This week we have a good mix of new games and classic games being released, in fact pretty much every game is either a follow up of the old or a remake of an old game. This is just more proof of how important classic games are. So sit back enjoy the trailers and commentary and get your wallet warmed up.

Gran Turismo 5

With over 1000 cars and 71 courses to choose from Gran Turismo 5 is a racers wet dream. Sure, there has been a ton of delays for this game but with the way it looks now it seems to be worth the wait. Of course you will be able to race basic cars from Honda and Ford, but you will also be able to get behind the big boys like the Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren F1. A ton of brand new tracks have been added including the Top Gear test track and many more tracks offering night driving and the new dynamic weather system. All in all if you are a racing fan or just a car aficionado and have a PS3 then you have to pick up this game.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I have to bow to the Wii on this one because I loved the original DKC and this version looks incredible. Donkey and Diddy are back and you have never seen two apes go through so much for some bananas. The game is as massive as it is beautiful offering various lands including a jungle, beach, ruins, caves and a forest. As with the classic Donkey Kong Country the environment matters from knowing where and when to jump to the assortment of enemies on the screen and in the background.

This game brings back all the love and frustration of the original. Honestly, if you are not a pro platformer or haven’t played DKC before you might have a hard time because this game is tough. The mine cart level alone can drive you as crazy as Ninja Gaiden did me. In addition, even the boss fights will not be simple and it takes timing and recognizing the right pattern to win. However, it is totally worth it and with the visuals, the music and the awesome controls Donkey Kong Country is a must have for fans of the series and platform game lovers.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Splatterhouse

If you love beating the holy hell out of demons and monsters then this game is for you. The folks over at Namco Bandai have taken a bit longer than expected to release this game and they have gone through some troubles, but all in all the new Splatter house looks to be a fun game.

The game pretty much is a reboot and you play as Rick who was murdered when his girlfriend Jennifer was kidnapped by the evil Dr. West. As you lay dying a demon mask bonded with your body brining you back and now the two of you need each other. Rick needs the masks power to make his way through the horde to his girl and the mask needs rick to feed it the blood of pretty much anything.

The visuals look really good and the game is more than just blood and guts, though that is most of what it is. There is also a puzzle component to the game and you have to take time moving through some levels. However, what makes the game is the gore and you can pull of spectacular murder moves on your enemies and use the environment to take them out as well.

All in all if you liked the original and have a flair for eviscerating people then this game is worth a pick-up.

Buy Worthiness: $$

Honorable mentions

We have a bonus this week, two classic games that are sure to give you some enjoyment.

Crazy Taxi

The incredibly fun taxi driving game from the Dreamcast is back. Choose your driver and transport your passenger across town in the craziest manner possible. This game is loads of fun and it’s good to see this Dreamcast game coming to the 360.

Worms: Battle Islands

War on an epicly small scale, take control of your worms and battle against your friends using tons of different warfare tactics. Believe me, don’t let the cute voices and visuals fool you. In Worms you have to have some strategy or you will be…err worm food.

Low Balance

So that’s this week’s top buys. We will be back next Tuesday with another rundown on what games to buy.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 16TH 2010

EbGames rack
EbGames rack

Ah, turkey time is almost upon us and though we are still playing our way through Black Ops there are a few good games being released next week that are ready to suck the cash right from us. This week we are looking at three games that are worthy of a purchase, but let’s take a look at them first and then decide.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – PS3

What is better than an assassin, a team of assassin’s.  In Brotherhood we continue where ACII left off with Ezio Auditore da Firenze and a new villain who is the son of the villain from part 2. There have been a number of changes to combat and added horse-riding moves and abilities. In addition the Desmond storyline continues with promises of real answers and some conclusions being given. The graphics look even better this time around and the city is like three times as large. If you liked any of the other Assassin’s Creed’s you should definitely pick this one up.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

EA and the development team wanted to bring the NFS franchise back from the dead. They admitted that the last game was just not what it should be and blamed it on a number of things including how long they were allowed to work on it. Now with more time the team has put together a game they hope will restore NFS to its former glory.

First off, they didn’t go the open world route which so many racing games are doing these days. Instead the team focused on making sure the tracks were designed to the max from the ground up to look stunning and have the fun factor that racers want.  The game is about chases and it goes both ways. Play as the cops and the racers and level up on both ends in single player and pick your side in multiplayer. With a ton of awesome cars and incredible locations to race em this game might just put Need for Speed back on top.

NBA Jam

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing and that is the motto used in creating this new NBA jam. If you played the old arcade versions the only differences you will notice is new NBA players and updates to the visuals. The thing is that is a good thing. NBA Jam was fine the way it was and now you can continue the legacy of over the top dunks and full court jump shots. Put together your perfect duo by choosing from 30 NBA teams all licensed and trademarked. Sure, it is not 2K11, but it isn’t supposed to be. This is NBA Jam, home of the BOOM SHAKA LAKA.

Insufficient funds

Those are the top picks this week and we are sorry you will yet again be inviting your girlfriend over for chicken hotdogs and a bittorrent movie. However, with all these great games who needs a girlfriend, that’s why they invented X-Tube.

My Unparallel Loathing of Gaming Hipsters

WoW Ret Cat
WoW Ret Cat

My Unparallel Loathing of Gaming Hipsters

I can’t take it anymore, reader. I simply cannot suffer the pretentious attitude of gaming hipsters. They leave my stomach churning, tie my throat in a knot, and cause an unpronounced level of pain in my scrotum. Why God? I ask you this! Why do they exist to believe themselves to be upon a celestial pedestal of understanding and ownership of some delusional knowledge they do not possess?

Hipsters.

The word alone makes me want to go on a punching jamboree at a local Starbucks. Those bastards just weren’t content on having the indie scene, huh? They had to someone seep like a poison into the gaming community. And it wasn’t like they miraculously appeared out of nowhere. No, no. I just noticed they’ve been here for years, secretly hiding like some Massachusetts Witch Covenant biding their time for an unveiling.

But you know what?

No one gives a shit about them or the opinion of their Gaming Hipster Community. But contrary to that last sentence, I do care to a degree. I’d like to point out my disliking for them in detail. Yes, reader, you will become more knowledgeable on who is a gaming hipster and may even come into the realization that you yourself or someone you hold dear to your hearts may even be one of these aberrations.

    • No one cares if you were in beta.

    Aside from narrow-minded children and frat boys, no one cares that you’ve played since beta. When someone asks a question as to whether something is a good talent specialization or how to beat a certain raid boss, don’t reply with “Trust me, I’ve been playing since Beta.” This doesn’t make you more knowledgeable to specializations or strategies. Especially don’t say this in games like World of Warcraft. The game at its current state is completely different than its original incarnation at this point and your opinion is null and void. Another thing, games that go into Beta maybe have 10-15 people who are actually voicing legit opinions in that gaming community. The rest are people who whine and shit because they don’t understand gaming mechanics or can’t even offer viable solutions aside from nerfing the entirety of a class. Oh, and speaking of classes…

      • No one cares if were an underpowered class pre-buff.
          “Mmm, I liked a Shadow Knight before they got buffed!” Wow? Really? Holy shit, that is amazing news. I’m glad you stuck through your underpowered character until they got revamped. You know why classes get revamped? It isn’t because it only takes “skilled” people to play them and make them viable. Any other class that isn’t gimp with an equally “skilled” player is going to steam roll you in numbers and efficiency. They buff classes to bring them up to par. Aww, don’t cry! Just because people can now faceroll as your favorite underground class doesn’t mean you suck. If you really were skilled you’d still be better than the rest of them by far, right? Or is it because no one played the class you had no real competition to gauge yourself? Wait. What was that you muttered underneath your breath? Oh, that’s what you said? Well guess what…
      • No one cares if your guild beat content before it got nerfed.

      I remember going into threads that said “Fenrir’s Pups beat Ragnaros” and reading the replies of smug faced, Rockstar drinking hipsters who would sneer the achievement with “Congratulations on beating old and nerfed content.” What a monster you must be! Let’s look at those virtual muscles. Wow! You’ve been really hitting the E-Gym. We all know beating Ragnaros pre-nerf was like fighting Muhammad Ali in his prime and fighting him after the nerf was like fighting him today. We get that. No need to boast about it, though. Your past efforts fall upon deaf ears because not a single person today gives a shit.

      Hey, what’s that you’re playing? Is that an NES emulator? What game are you playing? Is that Super Mario Brothers 2? It isn’t? It sure looks like… holy shit don’t say it.

      • No one cares if you played Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic before people played Super Mario 2!

      I’m glad that you are in touch with the origins of a game and know that Super Mario Brothers 2 is a rehashing of another game but don’t toss it away because it wasn’t indie enough for you. Most of the creatures in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic were created by Nintendo anyway.

      This sick need to do the polar opposite of anything popular or mainstream brings me to my last point.

        • Fuck You.

        Fuck you, gaming hipster. You’re the person who finds the Playstation Network vastly superior to Xbox Live. You’re the person who guffaws at Apple products (and yes, I admit, I was once this type of person) without even trying to grasp why people like them. You’re the person still playing your NES because all new games suck like some grumpy old man who still plays that game with a hoop and stick. You’re the person who demands nostalgia and only subscribes to progression servers for a month and quits within 3 days because those memories weren’t as fond as you thought they were.

        There is no means to stop you from these self imposed habits and traits and there is no wisdom or knowledge I can bestow to remedy the hipster hivemind so I will gladly end this article in the simplest but most profound way I know…

        Eat a dick, gaming hipster. Eat a steaming plate of dicks on a bed of rice.

        GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 2nd 2010

        vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros
        vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros

        Hey, its election time and you have the awesome choice between spineless yes men and tea baggers, why not skip all that and play some video games instead. Okay, fine. MTV told me to rock the vote so how about you game the vote. While you are out picking up these games stop over at your local voting station and get your democracy on.

        God of War: The Ghost of Sparta

        I have a love hate relationship with the PlayStation portable. I like the games and all, but why all the remakes and such like Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve being PSP only? Oh, well in GOW Sparta we follow the events of our hero between the story from GOW 1 and GOW2. This story takes place during Kratos visit to Atlantis and if it wasn’t sunk before we now know how it got that way. The game is the second to find its way onto the PSP and has all the brutality it did before and stunning visuals to boot. One thing we know for sure, he really dislikes King Midas.

        Golden Eye 007 – Wii

        Hey, pop quiz, how do you get people to keep playing the Wii, answer, you remake games that were awesome on previous consoles. Yes, my Wii hate runs read, but my love for Golden Eye never dies. It was one the best console shooters of all time and even ranks up high for all-time best FPS shooters. Now those of you with the Wii gathering dust have a reason to celebrate as a remake of this classic is coming to you Nov 2nd.

        Now the game is new meaning new graphics and even a new bond as you play as Daniel Craig, but all the classic gameplay that made it great is still there. You can still decide how you want to finish missions going in Rambo style or playing it like Bond really would being stealthy and cool. Multiplayer is back with a four person split screen tons of modes and support for the Wii and classic remote, nunchuk and even the zapper. Will I be buying a Wii to play this, no. Will I get my friend to buy it and camp his house, yes.

        What about the Kinect Games?

        Yeah, about that, as I said this list is for games I would buy and this week these two are the only ones I would consider. However there is also the new Sonic Free Riders and Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 that look good. However, I need to be a little more hash and this week you only get two from me. Next, week we will be back for our countdown to black Friday report so stay tuned and until then keep the spending to a minimum.

        GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: OCT 26TH 2010

        Video Game store
        Video Game store

        There are way too many good games coming out this month. Next week the pain continues so head over to Goggle and search for “Dollar Grocery Store”, cancel the Direct TV subscription and open a window because this is gaming season and we’re just getting started.

        Fable III

        The revolution will not be televised, but you can be part of it in Fable 3. This time the hero’s goal is to overthrow the evil King Logan who rules with an iron fist. How bad is this guy? Well he taxes people to hell, makes kids work in factories and kills people who don’t agree with him (sounds like the Bush administration am I right folks?) I kid, I kid.

        You may be offspring of a great family, but that doesn’t mean you can effect change on your own. You need followers and you do this by completing missions and getting people to join you. Now you can go good or evil and your weapon changes depending on which path you choose. In the end will you be a kind and giving king or will your rule make Logan’s look like a day at Candyland?

        Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

        What happens when a cloned Jedi with incredible force abilities lets loose? You get one hell of a game. Star Wars, the force unleashed 2 takes place right where part one left off. Starkiller betrayed Vader and tried to off the emperor but was killed. Vader created another clone of Starkiller and locked him away.

        Starkiller is plagued by visions of his former self to which Vader explains it is just a side effect of the cloning process. However, Starkiller doesn’t accept that and breaks out and from there the real adventure and revenge begins.

        WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011

        It’s all about the gameplay when it comes to wrestling games and every game will be compared to the N64 title which is heralded by fans as the best of the best. This year SvR returns with a brand new physics engine that boasts to be the most realistic ever. This means the chair shots will look more real. The tables will break properly and they are unlimited and the ladders collapse as they should.

        It is also about presentation and with the updated character models and grapple moves your focus will remain on the fun not a glitch in the game. Add to that the largest roster on a SvR game and we might just have a contender.

        Overdraft Incoming

        Now don’t go complaining that I didn’t mention Rock Band 3 or Sim’s 3. Yes, these are fun games, but how much more can be said. We know they have their market and will do will. Also, we don’t want you to go too far into debt there are more games coming out with week of Nov 2nd.

        Classic X-Men Arcade coming to XBL and PSN

        Xmen Arcade 1
        Xmen Arcade 1

        Long before I became a crack head for X-Men versus street fighter I fell in love with the X-Men arcade game. I use to spend tons of money (for a kid) on this game because it was just that fun. The large arcade cabinet with multiple screens and six player action was the best and many games followed that lead after its success.

        Sure some gameplay elements were strange like the fact you could only do your special attacks a few times. Most of the time you were punching and kicking and taking advantage of a downed opponent, but with the ease of the standard cannon-fodder enemies it wasn’t a big deal. When you went up against bosses (like the Brotherhood of Evil mutants) that was the time to let loose and use your special powers. The boss fights were fun with the little dialog they would say before and after the fight.

        When playing with six people the action go crazy. There would be a ton of bad guys on the screen and the bosses were even tougher. In the end you went up against the master of magnetism in an epic final battle.

        Now you can relive all that action on your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Konami and Marvel will be launching X-men arcade on the Playstation Network and X-box live this fall. The game will support 1-4 players locally and 1-6 players online and best of all just like the arcade people can jump in the game at any time.

        All the original characters are there, Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Storm and Wolverine and the original graphics and sound has been preserved. However, there are new Hi-Def heads up displays, menus and leaderboards. You can create online matches, change the difficultly, choose how many people you want to play and who will be the host.

        We should have more pricing information and release dates soon, but since this is the feed if you get the scoop first post it here and let us know.

        Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

        Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1
        Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1

        For fans of the classic Sonic games Christmas has come early. This month you will be able to purchase Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 on the iTunes App Store, Wii Shop Channel, Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in just about a week.

        Story

        The story takes place right after Sonic and Knuckles. With Mecha Sonic destroyed and Eggman defeated Sonic returns the Master Emerald to Angel Island, but as you can guess the ol Doc isn’t going to take his defeat lightly.

        Characters

        SONIC:

        Sonic is back and retains all his signature moves from the previous series including super speed, spin dash and homing attack. After defeating Dr. Eggman Sonic flies off into the sunset with Tales. Soon after he decides to take off on his own to discover a new territory and so begins the next adventure.

        Dr. EGGMAN

        Sometimes when you lose you think back on what you did wrong. After his defeat Dr. Eggman decides to go back and revisit and refine the best of what he created in the past. What this means for fans is some of the best areas and badniks from the previous titles with some new improvements.

        Zones

        Like many of the classic Sonic games Sonic 4 will bring you something old and something new. Some zones will have that familiar feel, but with updated graphics, music and badguys.

        Splash Hill Zone

        This zone will mirror many of the starting zones from classic Sonic including The Green hill zone. This costal paradise has green trees, rolling hills and bright blue waters, a perfect place for Dr. Egghead to start his mischief.

        You can expect a lot of what you saw in Angel Hill with lots of rolling hills, spikes and springs to rocket you across the landscape. You can also swing from vines to get to higher ground and the waterfalls look pretty cool and you can swim up them to get to your destination.

        Lost Labyrinth

        Some fans call them zone clichés and I guess I have to agree to a point, but there is a reason for the pattern and in this case the old mixed with the new makes a great combination. In Lost Labyrinth the theme is ancient ruins in the vein of Aquatic Ruin from Sonic 2 and Marble Garden from Sonic 3. However, while this zone has the underwater ruin feel of its predecessors it adds a lot more including a Indian Jones style mining cart riding experience and you even get chased by a bolder and yes the water bubbles are still there.

        This zone really takes the ruins aspect to the max; it almost has a Tomb Raider feel to it. There are classic areas to the zone including running through a maze, traversing underwater and needing to take in air bubbles. In addition you can ride a mine cart roller-coaster style and try and keep your balance on a metal bolder. If that isn’t enough there are water slides and a part where you have limited light.

        Casino Street

        It’s all bright lights and big city, the Casino inspired zone is taken directly from Sonic two and expanded upon with more bells and whistles than a Vegas slot machine. Speaking of which the Sonic slots are back where you can win or lose coins. Also returning is the pin ball themed areas that bounce you around the zone.

        I loved the Casino Zone from “2” the slot machines were my favorite and I’m glad to see it back in “4”. I loved what they did with the playing cards being able to ride them and play mini-games with them. The pinball areas are well done and look to be a lot of fun and the over-all theme is presented nicely.

        Mad Gear

        It is the world Dr. Eggman wants to see, industrial with gears and pistons and I am sure a ton of pollution. This zone is in the same vein of Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant or Sonic 3’s Metropolis Zone. The colors here are not as bright and vibrant and that’s the point.

        Every Sonic games has a zone like this which represents what kind of world Eggman wants, the steel and iron replaces the glass and trees of earlier levels. Also often the levels are harder to speed through as you end up spending more time jumping and avoiding traps and pitfalls.

        Music

        The music still has the melody of some of the earlier games, but a lot more is added to it compared to the tracks of Sonic 2 & 3. In each of the tracks you can hear the slightest hint of the original zone it was created based on and in some cases it is very clear.

        [mp3player width=300 height=150 config=fmp_jw_osg_config-xml.xml playlist=sonic-the-hedgehog-4.xml]

        Personally I like the simpler themes of the older games. I understand what Sega is doing adding more to their stage themes, but sometimes simple is good especially for those of us who love to remix.

        Interview


        From E2 2010

        Breakdown

        Here is a breakdown of what you need to know about Sonic 4:

        • This is only Episode 1 meaning there will be future episodes
        • There will be alternate endings if you collect all the emeralds and the ending will connect and continue with episode 2
        • There will be 4 total zones with three acts per zone plus boss battles and bonus world
        • There will be achievements which will unlock special endings
        • New skills and characters along with zones will be released in future episodes

        Some fans are already claiming Sega is milking it with the episodes, but from the looks of it you will get your money’s worth per episode. This is a complete game and while short will give you the bang for the buck, that is if you are a Sonic fan.

        Release Info

        Now that you have an idea of what to expect here is the low down on when and where you can find it and for how much:

        • Nintendo Wii – Via Shop Channel – Oct 11th for 1500 Wii points
        • Playstation 3 – Via PlayStation Network – Oct 12th for $14.99
        • Xbox 360 – Via XBL Marketplace – Oct 13th for 1200 Microsoft Points
        • Iphone/Ipad – Via iTunes App Store – Oct 7th for $9.99

        [poll id=”6″]

        Overall

        There was a lot of hate over some of the later Sonic games, fans wanted more of the original, but the question remains if this version will satisfy the purists who want their Sonic 2 & 3 days back with those who don’t want to shell out $15 bucks for what some call “New levels for an old game.”

        I, like many old school gamers, care about the gameplay over the flashing lights, we rather play a good game that stays true to its roots than a re-envisioningthat ruins the franchise. The idea of updating slightly, but not changing too much is not new, just look at StarCraft 2 for an example. Personally as a fan of classic Sonic this game is a winner for me. Is it groundbreaking and new, no, but we tried that with Sonic and for me it did not live up to the name.

        I look forward to this game and once I get my hands on it will bring you a more in depth review.

         

        New Console Releases: October 3rd Report

        Video Games on shelf
        Video Games on shelf

        October is a great time, you have Oktoberfest, Halloween and… well that’s about it, but you also have new releases for your favorite consoles. Unfortunately, November is normally a big month for games and because of this October seems to get the shaft, let’s see what we can dig up that might be worth you hard earned (or not) cash.

        Just a disclaimer, these are not all the games that are coming out nor are they top picks based on their score from other sites. This is Obsolete Gamers or more correctly, J.A.’s picks for games coming out this month.

        October 3rd

        It seems as if I misspoke because this week of the month has a pretty hard hitting release line-up. I hope you have some extra cash on hand.

        Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

        It’s all about team work and in this case that truthisum is taken to the extreme. This action adventure games pits two main characters against, well against everything. You have to fight, run and transverse the landscape to make your way to freedom and if one of you dies its game over.

        NBA 2K11

        Ah, the war of the NBA games is back and just like the HEAT, 2K has stacked the deck by bringing in Michael Jordan to be on their team. Now the question is will the mix of MJ and the playstyle of 2K win out over Elite.

        NBA Elite 11

        EA Sports it’s in the name change. NBA Elite takes a different approach by redesigning key features of its game in hopes of bringing a different experience to basketball game fans. There is no doubt the game will be well done, but in the war of the court who will come out on top? Oh did I mention you get NBA Jam with this game and only if you purchase this game?

        Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

        If the world was coming to an end Alucard is the guy I would want bashing heads with me in those final days. However, I will take a Belmont as well and in this 3D version of the classic Castlevania series we step into a new world that brings a cool and new dynamic to the game. Don’t worry all the classic whipping and Dracula bashing is still there and the environments are beautiful and well done. If you loved any of the Castlevania series this is a must have.

        Def Jam Rapstar

        It was only a matter of time before we got a Rap version of the karaoke-style games. With the release of DJ hero I knew it would be forthcoming and if there is one company to release a “band” game its Def Jam. Rapstar lets you rap long with a long list of Def Jam superstars including Redman, Method Man and Salt n Pepper. I got to see this game at E3 2010 and it looks like a load of fun partially with two people rapping together. I can’t wait for the YouTube videos.

        So we are changing things up and will be bringing you a week by week breakdown of new releases so look out for next week’s review of games being released for consoles. The week of October 10th looks good as well; I hope you get your homework done.

        POD: Duke Nukem Forever

        Duke Nukem Forever hail to the king

        This game was the running joke for my friends and I for so long. We called it Duke Nukem for-Never because we thought it would never come out, but it looks as if finally the duke will have his day. 2K and Gearbox announced the long awaited game will be released for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC next year.

        “All great things take time… a lot of time,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “After a hiatus from the video game world, Duke Nukem is back and better than ever. The return of the King from the glory days of shooters will satisfy our patient, die-hard fans, as well as a new generation of bubble gum-chewing, flat top and shades-wearing bad-asses. Make no mistake about it – Duke Nukem Forever is a testament to the era of when shooters were bodacious and fun.”

        For those of you lucky enough to be at PAX you will get to see the game in action. Now the question is with all the hype and time between its original release and when it finally comes out next year will it still be a hit?

        “Hail to the king, baby! It’s unbelievable, it kicks ass and it’s totally going to happen!” said Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software, “Gearbox has enabled die-hard key Duke Nukem franchise builders and skilled veteran game makers to stand together and deliver. All gamers deserve a happy ending and after all of us gamers feeling the full range of emotions about Duke Nukem Forever, I am thrilled to be in a position with the trust, power and means to make it happen. Am I crazy? Balls of steel, baby, balls of steel!”

        Well we know they are excited and we will see what the fans that checked out the game at PAX thought. For now here are a few humble screenshots.

        More to come.

        POD: Homefront

        Homefront logo

        Today’s Picture of the Day comes from the THQ game Homefront. I first heard about Homefront shortly before I went to E3 and learned more about it once there. I like the story behind the game and it does look like it will be a load of fun.

        Here’s the story:

        The year is 2027. The world as we know it is unraveling after fifteen years of economic meltdown and widespread global conflict over dwindling natural resources.

        A once proud America has fallen, her infrastructure shattered and military in disarray. Crippled by a devastating EMP strike, the USA is powerless to resist the ever expanding occupation of a savage, nuclear armed Greater Korean Republic.

        Abandoned by her former allies, the United States is a bleak landscape of walled towns and abandoned suburbs. This is a police state where high school stadiums have become detention centers, and shopping malls shelter armored attack vehicles. A once-free people are now prisoners… or collaborators… or revolutionaries.

        Join the Resistance, stand united and fight for freedom against an overwhelming military force in Homefront’s gripping single player campaign penned by John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn). Stand alongside a cast of memorable characters as an emotional plot unfolds in this terrifyingly plausible near-future world. Experience visceral, cinematic first-person shooter action as you fight your way across Occupied USA using guerrilla tactics, and commandeer military vehicles and advanced drone technology to defeat the enemy.

        Multiplayer brings epic warfare to the online arena as infantry, tanks, attack helicopters and combat drones battle across huge, open battlefields. A rich feature set offering layers of tactical depth combined with a game-changing innovation in the multiplayer space will set a new benchmark in online warfare.

        Check out this trailer about Homefront’s backstory.

        Now on to the screenshots.

        GAMES COMING OUT SEPTEMBER 2010 FOR CONSOLES

        Halo Reach trailer
        Halo Reach trailer

        Ah September the time when many go back to school and fall is just around the comer. Nah, forget about that, you can’t tell the seasons are changing if you are locked onto your television screen now can you? This month there is actually a good reason to succumb to your gaming addition.

        Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

        Fans of the Kingdom Hearts saga can rejoice the Square Enix hit is back. Here’s the story: Long before Sora was chosen by his Keyblade, the worlds’ safety lay in the hands of the true Keyblade Masters. Three youths – Terra, Ventus and Aqua – have been training long and hard under Master Eraqus to prove that they, too, exhibit the Mark of Mastery. But they will soon find themselves in the middle of a crisis affecting worlds far beyond their own – just as another Keyblade Master, Xehanort, goes mysteriously missing. Three friends, three destinies. Everything will link back to the beginning. I really was hoping to see some Marvel characters since Disney acquired the studio. Maybe next time.

        Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

        Quick, what’s better than Spider-man? If you said four Spider-men then you are correct. Activision releases Shattered Dimensions which has Spider-man fighting to reassemble pieces from a shattered tablet and along the way he runs in the different versions of himself. Hey, as long as it’s not as bad as that awful clone saga this one could be interesting.

        Halo: Reach

        Seriously, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this game? Simply put, if you like any of the Halo’s you are getting this game and if you don’t well I guess this awesome trailer will mean nothing to you.

        Dead Rising 2

        So there is this gameshow where you battle against a city full of zombies and if that isn’t enough other human players. Dead Rising 2 is a zombie slayers wet dream and with thousands of ways to take out your undead foes it is guaranteed to keep you interested this fall.

        Now there are more games being released, but honestly with a line-up like this you are going to be booked this month. Don’t worry though October is looking good to with games like Castlevania: Lord of Shadow so stay tuned.

        POD: Dead Rising 2

        Dead Rising 2 title screen
        Dead Rising 2 title screen

        Our Picture of the Day comes from Capcoms Dead Rising 2:

        North America – August 31st, 2010
        Genre: Zombie Action
        Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
        Rating: TBC
        Developer: Blue Castle Games

        Several years have passed since the Wilamette incident, and Dead Rising 2 shifts the action from the everyday world of mid-West America to the glitz and glamour of Fortune City, America’s latest and greatest entertainment playground. People flock to Fortune City from around the globe to escape from reality and the chance to win big and for some, this means competing in Terror is Reality.

        Like millions of Americans former national motocross champion, Chuck Greene, is gripped by the TV sensation that is Terror is Reality. Hosted by the flamboyant Tyrone King, Terror is Reality pits ordinary members of the public against an arena full of zombies with a simple challenge – kill more zombies than your opponents and stay alive with the winner collecting big money and the chance to come back and secure even greater prizes. So, what is it that has forced Chuck to come to Fortune City and risk his life in the modern day gladiatorial contest, is he trying to recapture the fame of his motocross days, does he have a reason to hate zombies, or is it simply the lure of big money?

        Games Coming Out August 2010 For Consoles

        PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii
        PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii

        It use to be August was the last change to get out and do what you really wanted to do for the summer before school started up again. Today, many of us stay inside because the sun burns. (It really really burns) Good thing the console market knows this and releases a ton of great games for the last summer push.

        Castlevania: Harmony of Despair – Aug 1

        It’s like multi-player dungeon crawling. True in this version of the famous Castlevania series you do see the entire map, you know where the traps and enemies are and you know where the boss is, but the fun it making your way to it. HOD received mixed reviews original and now in its XBL form it’s still receive mixed reviews, but even with the gameplay changes it still has the heart of Castlevania and is still a fun play.

        Earthworm Jim HD – Aug 1

        If you don’t know who Earthworm Jim is turn in your classic gaming card. This remake of the 1994 side-scrolling classic as been updated graphically and in its gameplay including a four player co-op mode. It still has all the cow loving, earthworm eating fun of the original with a fresh coat that will bring a smile to any XBL arcade fans face.

         

         

        Madden NFL 2011 – Aug 8

        Full disclosure I never liked the idea that EA had a monopoly on the NFL gaming franchise, but with that said it looks as if the simpler, quicker, deeper plan behind Madden 11 might bring in the few fans that aren’t playing it. Some may think it a step back, but let’s face it people don’t want to need a degree to play a game and in our instant gratification world the fast we get to the good parts the better. The improved online play and animation is also a nice touch and really shows that EA wanted to make important changes and improvements to their game. As I said I prefer competition as well, but Madden NFL 2011 looks pretty good and even I might give it a go.

        Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – Aug 15

        Guns, bullets, a girl and a dog it seems. Dog Days is the sequel to the original and features improved gameplay over the original as the boys are on a mission to save a loved one. I agree with what Kane said; “She better be worth it.”

         

         

         

         

         

        Mafia II – Aug 24th

        As one person put it; “It’s GTA4 with class.” Mafia II immerses you in the world of the 1950’s criminal underworld with an open world map meaning you can go pretty much anywhere you want at any time. However, by sticking to the storyline you move your way up the ladder as you complete missions from drop offs to raids on rival gangs.

        Metroid: Other M – Aug 29th

        One of the best games of all time is back and fans of the Wii couldn’t be happier. Samus is back and she brought some cool additions with her like the morph ball and her visor which can scan the new lush environments found in this latest game. Everything fans of the series love is still there from careful puzzle solving to menacing boss battles. Simply put, if you have a Wii you have to get this game.

        GAMES COMING OUT JULY 2010 FOR CONSOLES

        Ah July, the time for weddings, bbq, fireworks and general outdoor fun or you can skip all that and just play some video games because a number of good ones are being released for consoles for the upcoming month.

        Crackdown 2 – July 6th

        Crackdown 2 Xbox box
        Crackdown 2 Xbox box

        There’s nothing better that powers and a badge except being able to mow down zombies all night long. In Crackdown 2 one of the coolest new features is the “Night mode” where the zombies or “freaks” come out and bring a whole new challenge to our super cop.

        Need for Speed World – July 20th

        Need For Speed World box
        Need For Speed World box

        If you haven’t already check out Obsolete Gamers interview with Jean-Charles Gaudechon from EA Blackbox on Need for Speed World. In NFSW you will be able to race online with your friends and build your collection of cars all for free up until level 10. Combining online play with a social structure that connects you to sites like Facebook and Twitter all in the world of Need for Speed is defiantly a winning combination.

        Arc Rise Fantasia – July 20th

        Arc Rise Fantasia Wii box cover
        Arc Rise Fantasia Wii box cover

        For fans of Japaneese-style role-playing games Arc Rise Fantasia coming to the Wii might just make your summer. Arc was released about a year ago in Japan and is now coming to the U.S. The game looks pretty good on the Wii and offers two CG cut-scenes and tons of voice acted dialog. The turn-based fighting is also well done with vibrant colors and animation.

        Chuck E. Cheese’s Party Games

        Chuck E. Cheese’s Party Games Wii box cover
        Chuck E. Cheese’s Party Games Wii box cover

        Look honey, you can have all the fun of Chuck E. Cheese in your own home on the Wii! Now all you have to do is order some pizza and you can relive your thirteenth birthday. What do you mean you want to go live with your father?

        Alright so console wise July is a little weak. Perhaps it is because they want you to get outside and do some exercises or something. Maybe Honorabili will have something better to offer with his review on PC games coming out in July, if not there’s always the new seasons of Futurama and Entourage.