Friday, April 27, 2012

Sony Finally Reveals Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

After being rumored for months, maybe even years, Sony finally shows off their Smash Bros-like game, called Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. It premiered on GameTrailers TV last night as new developer Superbot is at the helm. They claim they have a fighting game background and it shows in the first footage for the game. Plus it doesn't hurt to have some fighting game community folks involved in the project as well. Anyway, six characters have been revealed so far as they are Kratos, Sly Cooper, Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal, Radec from the Killzone series, Fat Princess, and Parappa the Rapper. Superbot has also said they will have third-party characters in the mix too, so there is endless potential who will make it into the game along with Sony's first-party cast. Even the stages look crazy so far as one of them is a LittleBigPlanet stage that keeps building up as the fight progresses. Then there is a Patapon stage where Hades from God of War III beats them up. There is even a Buzz level where he will quiz you at times, which is nuts.

As far as gameplay is concerned, this is indeed a straight up Super Smash Bros game except that it is HD and potentially have better online. Each character will have their own super moves as they are tied to a meter, so meter management may play a role in the action. In addition, all of the chaos will be 60 frames per second too. The reaction to finally seeing it has been mixed obviously because of fanboy wars being in full effect, but I have my high hopes and excited to play it. Expect more Playstation All Stars Battle Royale stuff at E3 in six weeks as it is currently slated for release this fall only on PS3 (No plans yet on a Vita version, but I don't mind seeing that either).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Story, New Characters, Same Old Walkers... The Walking Dead: Episode 1 Review

TellTale Studios is no stranger to the point and click adventure genre lately. Their last efforts into licensed properties where Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. While their Back to the Future series was pretty good, Jurassic Park was a bit of a disappointment. TellTale is back on the adventure game once again with another popular franchise, especially it being a recent phenomenon. What I'm referring to is the Walking Dead series. This is a beginning of a new story that is a prequel to the comics, not the TV show that is AMC, and only the first episode of five that will come out monthly. This first episode, titled A New Day, does a great job establishing the main story of the outbreak and characters along with setting things up for future episodes. Just by the end of this episode, I already feel attached to these characters and I eagerly await what is next for them especially with the choices I made.

You play as Lee Everett, who was in a cop car because of a killing, but the walker outbreak begins as the cop crashes into one causing an accident to occur. From there on, Lee is on his own trying to survive this whole mess. Along the way, he meets Clementine, a young girl surviving alone because her parents were on vacation. Of course Lee doesn't want to leave a kid alone, so she joins along hoping she finds her parents. Throughout this whole season of the Walking Dead, we will see how the relationship of these two characters will be improving. As you meet more survivors (some of them will be familiar from the comics and the show), there are Walkers just wanting to ruin the party at any spot you're staying at. There will be intense moments throughout this season and already in this first episode, which are as intense as the comics and the TV show, as Lee has to be willing to make the quick tough decisions when things get hairy.

If you're familiar with TellTale's past adventure games, you'll be fine when playing The Walking Dead. This is not just another zombie action game as this is a traditional adventure game with story as the big emphasis. Another major factor with these games are the decisions you will make. During dialogue trees, you only have a limited time to come up with an answer and some quotes can affect your relationship with the other survivors whether for good or bad. This ain't Mass Effect where can you think all day if you're not sure what to say during a dialogue true. This game will force you to make tough decisions during intense moments and they will stick throughout the whole season. If a certain character is dead because of such decision making, they're gone for good and  you have to live with it for the rest of the season. At least there are multiple save files if you're willing to experience different sides of the story saying different lines or keeping certain characters alive. This style of intense decision making is something I like a lot as it did put me in a tough spot unlike other games that have similar dialogue options.

When you have control of Lee, you do move him around, but it is still pretty point and click heavy when interacting with objects and other characters. There will be times that he has to deal with Walkers, as one wrong move means death as you go back to your last checkpoint. These scenes with Walkers are basically quicktime events as you wait for that timed button press to take them out. Adventure games like this are also known for their puzzles as this episode of the Walking Dead doesn't have much of them, but there are things that happen in a certain order because of getting the necessary items to proceed on. One major improvement from past TellTale games is that there is a reticle now on the fight stick like any shooter out today for Lee to look around to interact with objects faster.

Since this game is more related to the comics than the TV show, the graphics in the Walking Dead are cool as TellTale went with the comic book/cel-shaded like art style. The characters look great and their personalities do show during dialogue-heavy sequences. Even though the game runs at a consistent framerate, it does suffer from stuttering issues when they transition from scene to scene as if it is going to freeze at some point, but it doesn't. The voice cast is also remarkably good as well as the music when something crazy is going to happen.

TellTale has something special with The Walking Dead just by the first episode alone. They did a great job establishing the main plot and characters. You do feel for Lee as even though he might be a bad guy since he starts the game in a cop car, he is not that bad of a person trying to do things right. Now that he has to take care of Clementine, it just puts more pressure on him to survive and make the right decisions even though some of them will be tough. I love the decision making process in this game as it forces to be at a tough spot with limited time to come up with a response or an action that will affect relationships with other survivors or even keeping some of them alive. This episode is two hours long and will probably be that long for the other episodes, but you're eager to know to what is next for Lee and company once you're attached to this cast. I hope the performance issues are fixed in future episodes, but other than that, TellTale is off to a superb start with the Walking Dead and I can't wait for episode two next month.

Score = 9/10


  • Great start to the whole season establishing the plotlines and characters to the point I'm attached to them eagerly wanting to know what is next
  • Intense and gripping moments that allow the tough decision making to work wonderfully well
  • I also like the fact these decisions you make will stick throughout the whole season
  • Some performance issues, mainly stuttering during transition scenes, but nothing game-breaking

Sonic Finally Gets His Groove Back... The Sonic Generations Review

Sonic The Hedgehog has been through some tough times this console generation. First there was the disappointing and abysmal 2006 "reboot." Then there was Sonic Unleashed, where half of the game was good, but when Sonic turns into a werehog, things turn for the worst. The Wii exclusive Sonic Colors though gave hope that the franchise is slowing getting its groove back. At this rate, Sonic fans just want to play as Sonic without any gimmicks or distractions from other pointless characters. Sega's answer is Sonic Generations, where you can play as two versions of Sonic, and it is easily the best Sonic game in a long time as I had more fun than I thought I would have.

The story this time with Generations features a birthday party for Sonic by his friends until a mysterious monster crashes it and kidnaps them in time warps. It is up to Sonic to save Tails and the rest of his friends from this unknown creature, but as he runs into a familiar foe, he does meet up with the classic version of himself that does not speak as expected (because he's old school). They team up as they travel to levels they experienced from the past along with try to figure who is behind this whole plot, but you can make a good guess who is up to no good again. The storyline as a whole is not much, but it gives a reason why there are two Sonics and you're revisiting levels from past games again.

Each mainline game in the Sonic franchise gets a level represented in Generations from the iconic Green Hill Zone in the original, the board escape stage in Adventure 2, and even recent games out this console generation like Unleashed and Colors. Each stage gets two acts, one by each Sonic, and there are some similarities in terms of the scripted events. The selection of the levels in this game is fine as the order is from the original to Colors. The level design is also faithful to the original stages as it was great to see the Genesis stages in a HD setting. With only nine stages of two acts each, it seems like the game is not that long to beat and that is true. Yeah, there are boss fights and rival battles to go through, but there are also challenges that spice up the gameplay for both Sonics. Even doing the minimum requirements of the challenges still makes Generations a short game, as you can blaze through it in an afternoon. Despite how short it is, completing all the challenges, and getting all the collectibles does give the game a bit more replay value. Speaking of collectibles, there is a great amount of fan service with the unlockable music tracks from all Sonic games and artwork throughout the 20+ years of this franchise. There is also an online mode, which is pretty much time attack on all of the levels as you can compare times with other people by the game's leaderboards.

The whole point of Generations along with being a current-gen trip down memory lane is playing as two versions of Sonic. Classic Sonic plays like his Genesis days with spin jumps and spin dashes to transverse through his acts while modern Sonic plays like he was in Unleashed and Colors with boosting, homing attacks, and being able to trick off certain ramps to increase his boost meter. As you progress through the later levels, modern Sonic gets reacquainted with his other abilities such as the lightspeed dash, wall jumping, and stomps. Despite those abilities, more skills can be acquired for both Sonics by buying them in a shop or getting collectibles. These skills range from elemental shields for classic Sonic to more speed and acceleration for modern Sonic, etc. While classic Sonic feels fine and it is faithful enough to the old school audience, I had more fun with modern Sonic since he has more moves as his disposal and his levels just have simply more going on than the classic version of the levels. Sega and Sonic Team finally nailed down the controls for both hedgehogs, but there will be some moments of platforming frustration where precision is required to go into certain paths especially going for collectibles. I also didn't have any significant problems with the camera in my time with the game.

Graphically, Sonic Generations looks great. As mentioned earlier, it is great seeing the Genesis stages recreated in HD and it is also interesting seeing the classic versions of the later stages since they still have to stick to it being 2D gameplay-wise. The characters look fine as well with both Sonics looking different as they should since classic Sonic is pretty short. My only disappointment with the graphics is that the framerate is at 30 frames per second as this game would have been perfect for 60 frames as Sega has done that in past Sonic games, so I wonder why they decided to go with 30 for Generations. As for the sound, Sonic Team did a great job with the music especially the remixes of the tracks for all the stages. The modern versions of tracks sound like your traditional stuff you'll hear in more recent Sonic games, but the classic versions do their best to be reminiscent of the Genesis sounds, but for the later levels, they don't sound as different as the modern versions. If you played Sonic games as of late, you'll probably sick of the voiceovers, but they're okay here in Generations even though the tutorial voice can be a bit annoying if you don't turn off hints.

It feels great to say that Sonic finally gets his groove back in Sonic Generations. I had a fun time blasting through memory lane of levels from the franchise as both classic and Modern Sonic. The level design is great being faithful to their original incarnations. Despite being a short game can be beaten in an afternoon by doing the minimum requirements, there is enough replay value from getting 100% by completing all the challenges and getting the collectibles along with an online time attack mode if you want to compete for fast times against other players. The game looks great, but running at 30 frames per second instead of 60 is a bit disappointing. Music is good as expected for the franchise as Sonic Team did a great job with the remixes of tunes from the various levels. The amount of fan service to Sonic fans is also great with the unlockable tracks and art from the years. Sonic The Hedgehog fans past and present should not miss out on Generations and it is also a great platforming game in general to get too.

Score = 8.5/10


  • Faithful recreations of levels throughout the Sonic franchise
  • Both versions of Sonic play well even though modern Sonic is more fun just by how much more is going on for his levels
  • Great amount of fanservice for fans past and present (oh the first Sonic The Hedgehog is unlockable here too, but the port is not that good especially in the sound department)
  • Framerate is a bit disappointing at 30 frames per second. Even though its consistent at 30, 60 frames per second would have been way better
  • There will be moments of platforming frustration when trying to be precise
  • Pretty short game as it can be beaten in an afternoon with the minimum requirements

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oops... Amazon Leaks the new God of War announcement

Sony was supposed to announce a big game tomorrow, but looks like Amazon jumped the gun early it is a new God of War game. Titled God of War: Ascension, this is likely going to be another spinoff as Kratos than being a proper God of War IV (probably save that for PS4?). Here is the teaser for now before it gets taken down, but expect more official stuff tomorrow. Since this is also a teaser, wait till E3 for gameplay footage for this new God of War.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Captivate 2012 Roundup

Its Capcom's annual big press event time, aka Captivate, and of course there is a lot of expectations for them to deliver the goods. At least we're getting more of what upcoming games we don't know that much with DmC and Resident Evil 6, but there is a surprising sequel announcement that seems questionable for now.

I'll start off right away with the showstopper that is Resident Evil 6, which now has an October release date. More story details are revealed in this new clip and teased a little too much such as the Leon vs. Chris showdown at the end. Sherry is confirmed in now even though she was in the first trailer as well as Alex Wesker, who is a key figure in all this madness. The villain seems to be Ada Wong, but Capcom themselves didn't say who she is from what I read. Other details off the press release confirm that Mercenaries and co-op are back too. I'm still hyped for RE6, but I'm entirely not sold on the gameplay yet as I think I still need to see more of that. At least Famitsu had some new in-game screenshots, which is a start.

The new trailer for DmC (Devil May Cry) is a little NSFW, so you are warned. Anyway, it is been a long and rocky road for this Ninja Theory game because of the hatred for Dante's new look. There are still the haters out there, but the game is looking better than I thought. More gameplay footage is on Capcom Unity if you're interested. DmC is still slated to come out later this year and I'm willing to give it a chance since its original announcement.

Capcom's big new announcement is a surprising sequel, which is Lost Planet 3. Not only the last game was bashed critically, a western developer is handling this new one, which is Spark Unlimited. Spark themselves don't have the best track record of games, but I'm curious how they can change up Lost Planet. The trailer does show off what makes Lost Planet the franchise it is from snow, mechs, and big creatures to kill. Good thing it is still ways off as it is coming out next year.

Fighting game fans are disappointed that Capcom didn't announce a new game from their other franchises as the only fighting game related thing at this year's Captivate was the PS Vita version for Street Fighter X Tekken. Of course the big thing is the new characters that are DLC eventually on console (oh wait, you can already play as them somehow). PS3 owners of the game can get the new characters for free if they buy the Vita version, which is cool I guess. Of course there is the online stuff as you can play PS3 players from the Vita version. Meanwhile on the console side, the online sound issues are finally fixed in today's patch along with the quick gem selection on local versus games.

I haven't been paying attention to Dragon's Dogma, Capcom's big western-like RPG out next month, but here is some new gameplay footage. I'm not sure of Capcom going all in with this game business-wise and who knows if they can get the Skyrim crowd into liking this one. All I have to say is that this could be their biggest flop this generation and who knows what the future of the company will be if that happens.

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is out on June for Kinect and it looks fine to me. From Software knows what they're doing since they are no stranger to mech games, so I'll leave it at that.

That's pretty much it from this year's Captivate event. Lost Planet 3 being the only new game there is a little disappointing, but wait till E3 if Capcom feels like announcing more new games there.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Young Money Music Video Blowout

Drake ~ Take Care Feat. Rihanna from OctobersVeryOwn on Vimeo.

A double dose of Drizzy videos went up on the interwebs yesterday starting off with the radio hit and title track "Take Care" with Rihanna. While "Take Care" looks pretty simple at first glance, it is more than you think. The "HYFR" video, on the other hand, is a completely different story being a little more ridiculous especially Weezy's outfit. Other than that, I say hell yeah hell yeah hell yeah, well you know the rest.

Drake ~ HYFR Feat. Lil Wayne from OctobersVeryOwn on Vimeo.

While that is it for Drizzy, there is Young Money's queen especially that her sophomore album came out last week...

I guess I can use this post to share some thoughts on Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded album. It is easy to hate this album because well it is Nicki Minaj and her gimmick is getting a little tiresome for some folks already, but this is easily a banger for the mainstream audience filled with radio hit after radio hit that we will hear for the next year. I'm surprised there is a video for "Beez in the Trap" as I expected none of her rap heavy stuff to get the single treatment as she is more known for her poppy stuff now. The "Starships" video should be coming out soon as her poppy stuff is more catchier than I thought. Then again, it is more clubby pop especially with "Pound the Alarm" and "Automatic." Another possible single from the album is her song with Chris Brown, but the rest of the cameo appearances are in the rap half of the album with Nas, Cam'ron, 2Chainz, and of course Weezy. As of now, this album is my early contender for mainstream album of the year as Nicki is going to have a big year with numerous singles, but we will see what other artists can match up.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dance Central in my Star Wars!?!? Uugghh...

Kinect Star Wars continues to be an abomination before its release on the 360 tomorrow and the Dance Central-like mode is proof of that. The R2-D2 360 console is still cool and all, but damn, way to ruin the franchise more LucasArts. Of course, this is a kids game at its core, but cmon even Star Wars fans that are getting suckered to buying this know how much of a disservice this game is gonna be.