Feb 212013
 

Yesterday, Sony held a press conference and streamed it for the world to see.  Reactions among gamers and gaming press alike ranged from underwhelmed to outraged (with a smattering of overjoyed). The new system promises to deliver a plethora of social options, and the ability to stream a game demo from the cloud without having to download it. Overall though, it seems like more of the same from Sony, and what little changes they’re making are ideas they’ve borrowed from their competitors.

Check out the video below for what is probably the most brilliant, and hilarious summary of the PS4 reveal press conference.

 

Dec 022012
 

The Wii U is out and I have to say it has exceeded all my expectations, which should have been nearly impossible with the amount of excitement I experienced while waiting to wrap my arms around it on November 18th. While this isn’t actually a review of the system, it is a bit of interesting information that I discovered this week. The Wii U appears to have a better lineup of launch games than any console. This is clearly my opinion, but one based on research and nostalgia. I won’t start too far back, I figured Fifth Generation and on would suffice for this demonstration.

Starting with the misunderstood Sega Saturn, our lineup on May 11th 1995:
• Virtua Fighter
• Panzer Dragoon
• Clockwork Knight
• Daytona USA

Out of these four games the only game I would have gotten immediately would have been the imaginative Panzer Dragoon, a fantastic on-rails shooter that really needs a reboot.

September 9th 1995 gave way for the Sony Playstation which launched with:
• Air Combat
• Battle Arena Toshinden
• ESPN Extreme Games
• Kileak – The DNA Imperative
• NBA Jam Tournament Edition
• Power Serve 3D Tennis
• Rayman
• Ridge Racer
• Street Fighter: The Movie
• The Raiden Project
• Total Eclipse Turbo

As you can see, there were many more options, but was there anything that really enticed me back then? I really don’t think I was excited about the Playstation with these titles. Battle Arena Toshinden looked neat, but it definitely didn’t sell me on the system.

Finally on September 29th 1996 Nintendo came back swinging with the N64. With the only launch titles being Pilotwings 64 and Mario 64, the choice was easy. Mario 64 was certainly a system seller. I remember being so delighted to see Mario PUNCH THINGS! Percentage wise Nintendo can literally say that half their N64 launch titles were must buys. Still, the fact remains is they only released with two of them.

The Sixth Generation is certainly an interesting one that starts off with a bang. On September 9th 1999 the Sega Dreamcast launches. The system launched:
• Sonic Adventure
• Aerowings
• AirForce Delta
• Blue Stinger
• Expendable
• Flag to Flag
• The House of the Dead 2
• Hydro Thunder
• Monaco Grand Prix
• Mortal Kombat Gold
• NFL 2K
• NFL Blitz 2000
• Pen Pen TriIcelon
• Power Stone
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
• Soulcalibur
• TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat
• Tokyo Xtreme Racer
• TrickStyle

That’s a lot to choose from, but I wasn’t excited about many of them. Of course, I HAD to have Sonic Adventure, that was a given. Power Stone looked pretty awesome, so I had to have that. SoulCalibur could also be seen as a must buy. So there were at least three decent launch title choices.

On October 26th 2000, Sony repeated greatness with the Playstation 2. No doubt, this was one amazing console, but how did it fair on launch?
• Armored Core 2
• DOA2: Hardcore
• Dynasty Warriors 2
• ESPN International Track & Field
• ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding
• Eternal Ring
• Evergrace
• FantaVision
• Gungriffon Blaze
• Kessen
• Madden NFL 2001
• Midnight Club: Street Racing
• NHL 2001
• Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
• Q-Ball: Billiards Master
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
• Ridge Racer V
• Silent Scope
• Smuggler’s Run
• SSX
• Street Fighter EX3
• Summoner
• Surfing H3O
• Swing Away Golf
• Tekken Tag Tournament
• TimeSplitters
• Unreal Tournament
• Wild Wild Racing
• X-Squad
Wow! I look at that list and I think about each game and what I was into back then. Honestly I can’t come up with many choices that would have enticed me. Dynasty Warriors 2 could have been on my list for sure. Incredible, I am drawing a blank as I stare at them. At the time I wanted Kessen, but I remember hours into the game I turned it off forever. Thinking back, that’s kind of depressing. Interesting.

Nintendo wasn’t going to go quietly and on September 14th 2001 the GameCube was released with this lineup:
• All-Star Baseball 2002
• Batman: Vengeance
• Crazy Taxi
• Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
• Disney’s Tarzan Untamed
• Luigi’s Mansion
• Madden NFL 2002
• NHL Hitz 20-02
• SSX Tricky
• Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
• Super Monkey Ball
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
• Wave Race: Blue Storm
A modest list of choices, but a couple of gems can be found. Luigi’s Mansion is definitely one because hey, who doesn’t want to fight ghosts as Luigi? Then the biggest no brainer was purchasing Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. That game was so freaking amazing. It was the number one reason I bought a Gamecube.

A challenger approaches on November 15th 2001, as Microsoft launches the Xbox with these games:
• Halo: Combat Evolved
• Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
• Dead or Alive 3
• Project Gotham Racing
• NFL Fever 2002
• AirForce Delta Storm
• Mad Dash Racing
• Cel Damage
• Arctic Thunder
• Fuzion Frenzy
• Jet Set Radio Future (Japan launch)
• Double S.T.E.A.L. (Japan launch)
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2#Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2XTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X
• 4×4 EVO 2
• Shrek
Top of the list is really all that matters. Halo was a system seller for sure.

The Seventh Generation starts off on November 22nd 2005 with the release of one the most popular consoles, the Xbox 360. It launched with the following titles:
• Amped 3
• Call of Duty 2
• Condemned: Criminal Origins
• FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup
• GUN
• Kameo: Elements of Power
• Madden NFL 06
• NBA 2K6
• NBA Live 06
• Need for Speed: Most Wanted
• NHL 2K6
• Perfect Dark Zero
• Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
• Project Gotham Racing 3
• Quake 4
• Ridge Racer 6
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
• Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
Here’s a fun fact, my roommate at the time and I were discussing whether or not to go halfsies on one. The biggest drawback each time we talked about it was the lack of games we were interested in. Looking at that list, nothing captures my imagination.

November 17th, 2006, the launch of the Sony Playstation 3 gave way to these titles:
• Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
• Call of Duty 3
• Genji: Days of the Blade
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
• NBA 2K7
• NHL 2K7
• Resistance: Fall of Man
• Ridge Racer 7
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
• Tony Hawk’s Project 8
• Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Another underwhelming list, except for maybe Resistance: Fall of Man. That was a pretty great game. That list is just as unimpressive as the Xbox 360’s.

Nintendo let us play with our Wii on November 19th 2006, and had these games as launch titles:

• Avatar: The Last Airbender
• Call of Duty 3
• Cars
• Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
• Excite Truck
• The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
• GT Pro Series
• Happy Feet
• The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Monster 4×4: World Circuit
• Need for Speed: Carbon
• Rampage: Total Destruction
• Rayman Raving Rabbids
• Red Steel
• SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
• Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
• Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
• Trauma Center: Second Opinion
• Wii Sports (bundled with the Wii console)
This selection seemed a little more promising, and comparatively it was. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was for sure a must buy. I was also pretty pumped to get Red Steel which was a small display of what the Wii could do.

I find it interesting that in the seventh generation, the three consoles had unimpressive launch titles as a whole. Perhaps they were going for “Look what our system can do!” Perhaps these are tastes of things to come.

Bringing us back to the present, on November 18th 2012, Nintendo made history with the Wii U.
• Assassin’s Creed III
• Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
• Ben 10: Omniverse
• Call of Duty: Black Ops II
• Chasing Aurora
• Darksiders II
• Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
• ESPN Sports Connection
• FIFA Soccer 13
• Funky Barn
• Game Party Champions
• Just Dance 4
• Little Inferno
• Madden NFL 13
• Mass Effect 3: Special Edition
• Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition
• Nano Assault Neo
• NBA 2K13
• New Super Mario Bros. U
• Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
• Nintendo Land
• Rabbids Land
• Scribblenauts Unlimited
• Sing Party
• Skylanders: Giants
• Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
• Tank! Tank! Tank!
• Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
• Transformers: Prime – The Game
• Trine 2: Director’s Cut
• Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
• Wipeout 3
• Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
• ZombiU
That’s a big list, but is it any good? Currently I have five of these titles. Nintendo Land came with the system, but you had to buy the deluxe version so I think it still counts partially. The other ones include New Super Mario Bros U, Scribblenauts unlimited, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. These are all fantastic games. So much so that when I want to play my Wii U its difficult for me to decide what to play. The other thing is, I don’t have a whole lot of money so there are still launch titles I absolutely need like ZombiU, TANK! TANK! TANK!, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, and Assassin’s Creed III. That’s four more titles. All together that’s NINE Launch titles that I consider must haves. That is more than half of the other systems’ launch titles all together. Granted, this is just about launch titles. What really matters is how they hold up in the long run and that’s still a way off, but at this point, from this perspective, the Wii U is kicking some serious butt.

You’ve seen the games launched on each system over the years, which games did you buy at launch and how did you feel about them? Let us know in the comments below.

Starhawk | Review (PS3)

 PS3, Reviews  Comments Off
May 152012
 

Sometimes a game designer decides they want to build a hybrid game. They’ll take a few ideas from different genres and mix them together to form some visionary new idea. Unfortunately, most of the time they focus more on one thing, or they don’t put enough of something and it tends to make the game feel unfinished or too spread out. However, on a rare occasion it has been done and done well. Starhawk is somewhat of a hybrid game, but which category does it fall under?

Starhawk is a spiritual successor of the game Warhawk. With the exception of the ability to fly in a vehicle of some sort, the games share very little. Right from the start, Starhawk feels good. The visuals are quite pleasing and the cut scenes are done in a colorful comic book sort of way. The story feels very much like a space western. Emmett Graves wears a neat dust scarf, one you’d see in a sand filled wasteland, while other characters wear cowboy hats or other familiar clothing with futuristic spins on them. Hell, even the space cargo ship looks like a space train!

The game is set in a distant future deep in space where everyone is battling for precious Rift Energy. Humans are spread out in colonies exploring The Frontier of space. That is, when they aren’t fighting off Outcasts. These Outcasts are mutated humans who are pretty much crazy and want to kill you and your friends. Emmett is in the middle of it, so it’s up to you to protect your fellow humans and wreck the faces of those dastardly Outcasts.

To be honest, I didn’t keep up with this game in development a whole lot, so I expected for the most part a space shooter type deal. Man, was I wrong, and I am glad. This game has what they call “Build and Battle”. The first mission gets you used to it, but essentially you run around in third person and can seamlessly pull up a radial menu and request buildings to be dropped. In order to build these things, you will need rift energy, which you either get from a Rift itself, or from killing Outcasts. These buildings ranged from turrets, which are obvious, supply bunkers which are filled with various weapons and ammo, and vehicle pads that can build bikes, jeeps, tanks, jet packs, and of course the title vehicle, the Starhawk. Of course there are also walls you can build as well as some sweet energy cannon towers. Most of these things can be upgraded. The system is so fluid, you just run along, wanna build something? DO IT! Press triangle to bring up a radial menu, click the thing you want, then you decide where you wanna put it, all while filling your enemies full of lead. You can also plan it so these things drop onto the enemies, which is very rewarding.


The campaign, while nothing to write home about, is fairly solid. The ground portions feel sort of like a tower defense game where you have more control. It’s sort of in a weird way like Orcs Must Die, but not as tower defense centric. At times the game feels all too easy, but then you are faced with a frustrating moment where you have to plan your builds just right or just get down right lucky. Sometimes the key can be as simple as putting a wall in just the right place.

Space is fairly similar except with dog fighting via StarHawks. The neat thing about the Starhawks is they can transform into ground based mechs. Although slow, they can come in handy when dealing with stuff on space stations. It’s really quite something how you can interact with levels in three aspects seamlessly. What I mean is, in space typically you are flying around protecting a large space station. While flying around it, it feels big and all, but the best part is you can land on it. Once there you can move around in the Starhawk’s mech form. Then to make it even better, you can get out of your mech and you feel the scale of the game. The space station is suddenly much larger. You are free to move around on foot, blasting stuff and even building things on it. It’s a really nice feeling that makes the game feel epic.

Really the only problem with the campaign is that you cannot save in the middle of a mission. If you have to quit for some reason, you will have to start that mission over. The worse part about this is you have to watch the cut scene over with no way to skip it. Though to be fair, the missions seem to only run about 20 minutes or so, but still.

Then there is the multiplayer. The multiplayer is so much fun. 16 v 16 matches in huge environments and everyone can build and battle. My god its epic! It’s neat to watch your team build up bases, spread out and build outposts, as well as plan attacks. The best part is that it’s much more fast-paced and that makes it sound. Imagine people zooming by on starhawks, tanks knocking down walls, snipers in towers picking people off, and any number of things. It feels much more like a battlefield than any other game I’ve played. On top of that, you level up based on wins, building stuff, or achieving certain goals in a match. You are then given skill points that you can use to purchase skills to better yourself. Along with that you unlock customization options for your character, so that’s neat too.

Starhawk

ProsGreat graphics, Build and Battle is interesting and fun! Multiplayer is great
ConsSometimes it can feel too easy, then it can get super difficult. You can’t save in the middle of a mission.
VerdictStarhawk is great because it does something a little different with a familiar spin on it. Being able to build stuff on the fly is a great mechanic and can truly change the gameplay and add replay ability for those wanting to try different approaches to missions. The Multiplayer is also one of the best I’ve played in some time. If you like tower defense, strategy games, third person shooters, dogfights, vehicle combat, or just having fun, Starhawk is for you.
Rating
90%

May 032012
 

"Hey! What if we got Solid Snake and Sonic to be in the game too?"

I’m actually looking forward to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. I don’t have a PS3 but this game makes me want one. I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for crossovers. Although I don’t think the faces of Sony are as recognizable as Nintendo’s, or if Sega did one of these, it looks like a blast. Seeing Fat Princess and Sly Cooper duking it out while Patapons attacks Hades makes my head spin in the best of ways.

 

Now that I think about it…why hasn’t Sega made one of these fighters? They should get on that.

 

See you next week.

Feb 232012
 

 

After months of anticipation, frustrating news updates, and general pre-console release internet silliness, the PlayStation VITA is finally in my gamers’ hands. I haven’t had a ton of time with the system, but I’d like to think I’ve thoroughly investigated much of what the PSP’s shiny (and enormous) new successor has to offer. Rather than dragging this out and rambling about things nobody honestly cares very much about, I’ll be taking a simpler approach to my review, focusing on things about the VITA that stand out to me, both for better or worse. How does it hold up alongside Nintendo’s 3DS? You won’t be getting any of that from me, because console wars are for chumps. Here we go: Continue reading »

Feb 232012
 

By the time they get to the front of the line they'll be two more updates to wait for.

Even after Jessie’s impressions I was still kind of looking forward to the PS Vita. It looked like a fun system. As a fan of portable gaming I was prepared to forgive some of Sony’s missteps in the past. Then they announced that before the Vita got a major release they already had a firmware update.

You know, sometimes these things just write themselves.

 

See you next week.

Feb 172012
 

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This account is based on very limited exposure to the PS Vita, but as they say, first impressions can be important. A few trips to Game Stop under my belt and I’ve mostly made up my mind on the PS Vita. At this point it stands in the “maybe someday” category. I feel my reasons are just, and it mainly stems from the fact that I believe the PS Vita is just too high maintenance for me.

Allow me to put it this way. Think of the PS Vita as a downright super attractive model that you and your buddies check out on the internet. You discuss all the things you’d like to do to this person and high five. Fact of the matter is, most of these really great looking model types are super high maintenance. Sure, they make great eye candy, but you gotta spend a butt load of money on them, they bitch and complain all the time, they have to have everything their way, and in the end they won’t really do all those things you were hoping for.
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Then you have the 3DS. The 3DS is that cute girl, with a few extra pounds in all the right places. You can carry a conversation with her and actually have fun. Your friends don’t get sick of her, and come to find out, she is really fun and dirty in bed.

How did I come up with this analogy? Well, simply by looking at the PS Vita, you HAVE to have all sorts of protective devices on it or its going get scratched up and possibly warp the thumb sticks. Sure, it looks great with that big flashy screen, but you can’t exactly just slip it into your pocket and go about your day ready to start gaming from any location. With the 3DS, you can just close it clam shell style and drop it into your pocket knowing that unless you plan on being hit by a bus it’s going to be ok.
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If you do plan on getting a PS Vita, you have to decide if you want data coverage or not. You have to decide how much data coverage, and then you have to pay extra for that coverage. The 3DS, you give the clerk some money and BAM it’s yours. I am ok with it having good old fashioned WiFi anyway.

Of course how it will ultimately succeed depends on the games that are released, but at this point there is no reason for me to consider it. That’s just my opinion, and honestly I hope it changes.

Nov 052011
 

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is by far one of the greatest games to release this generation and was a perennial Game of the Year award winner in 2009. Among Thieves is considered to be a gigantic leap forward for the Uncharted series, and many call it the greatest cinematic experience in any video game. Developer Naughty Dog’s latest PlayStation 3 exclusive, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, is an attempt to take the critically acclaimed Uncharted franchise to even greater new highs. Does Uncharted 3 make significant improvements to the already fantastic formula, or is Uncharted 2‘s shadow just too big?

Continue reading »