Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Need for Speed Game Announcement Leaked...

Who knows how this got leaked out from EA's pockets, but here's the new Need for Speed game in teaser trailer form. Called The Run, it looks like they're going back to a story driven approach mixed with what worked with last year's awesome return of Hot Pursuit. I don't know if Criterion is back on board for this one as hopefully they're working on that rumored Burnout game, but I won't be surprised if they're doing another one right away especially how critically successful Hot Pursuit was. Then again, it could be Black Box's return to the franchise since the last game they did, which was the disappointing Undercover game. So yeah, another Need for Speed game as expected for a November release, but with momentum on their side from last year's game, the franchise's reputation seems fine for now again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nearly a Flawless Victory, But Close Enough to One... The Mortal Kombat (PS3) Review

Note - This review is now updated with online impressions now that PSN got back up.

Mortal Kombat is back in a big way and it is glorious. The franchise has been through a lot despite still being successful over the years. Even though the past 3D games weren't amazing especially in the last generation of consoles and even the teen rated MK vs. DC Universe, the 9th entry brings things back properly to 2D and a mature rating that gets taken advantage of fully by Netherrealm Studios, still led by the franchise's co-creator Ed Boon. This new iteration brings the storyline back to the first three games, but retold in a different way in which I will talk about more in a bit. With a mix of old-school and modern gameplay from classic tactics of the old days to crazy juggle combos the franchise has been known for, this is arguably the best Mortal Kombat game since the 2D games back in the 90s and one of the best fighting games in a while because it feels more of a complete package compared to some other recent games that have out (cough, Capcom, cough) by having enough modes to satisfy both single and multiplayer audiences.

Other than the standard arcade mode (ladder mode) of a series of fights and then a confrontation against Shao Kahn, the story mode is the main single player mode in this new Mortal Kombat. There are many attempts throughout the franchise of making this mode right especially with the 3D games, but they finally achieved what they wanted along here. It begins with Shao Kahn nearing victory against Raiden during Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and before Kahn was able to finish him off, the thunder god was able to communicate to his past self of the events that could happen. It is to him and the fighters representing Earth Realm to rewrite the story and prevent Kahn from merging Outworld with Earth Realm by winning the tournament. It is definitely a retelling or a different take of the first three games with some unexpecting twists. I was surprised throughout my time with it how impressive MK9's story mode is to the point is the best story implementation I have seen in a fighting game. Even though it still feels like a series of fights except with nearly half of the roster that is pretty much a who's who from the first three games, the story flows seamlessly from one character to another as one big event. Each character has their known beefs that are settled with other characters such as Sonya an Kano, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, etc. Another great feat with the story mode is there is no load screen at all throughout the campaign as the loads are pretty much a disguise during the numerous cutscenes. Speaking of the cutscenes, they are done well for the most part with the expected cheesy dialogue, but that dialogue works for game like this. Story mode does not take that long to beat, which is around six hours, but the boss characters like Goro, Kintaro, and Shao Kahn will give you a tough time at first due to their cheapness, but you'll eventually figure out their patterns and capitalize on their mistakes. Those three being tough does bring back the times of the 90s with the early MK games when they were still tough to defeat then.

Mortal Kombat's other main single player mode is the challenge tower, which is pretty self-explanatory being well a tower containing 300 challenges to beat. They also contain the franchise's signature mini-game Test Your Might from the first game along with some new ones that test your sight, strike, and luck. Test Your Sight is basically picking the right cup from a series of cups after being moved around a lot. Test Your Strike is a different twist of Test Your Might as you mash buttons to a certain area of the meter and once its green in its limited window, its good to strike the object then. Test Your Luck revolves around a slot machine that picks the stipulations for the fight from your character, any damage buffs or nerfs, certain moves being disabled, and the various kombat kodes (that were introduced in MK3) that spice up the gameplay. As the mode indicates, you can be on the lucky end of the stick when you have limited abilities as it can get insane. The rest of the challenge tower is a mixture of objectives to complete. Some of them can be normal fights, win being headless or armless, survive a wave of zombies by just spamming fireballs, meteors coming from the air, ninjas firing ice as you from afar, and so on. The tower basically throws you from one crazy situation to another using the whole roster. There is an option however to skip challenges if you feel stuck in one by spending kombat koins, your in-game currency that is also being used to buy stuff from the krypt, which also makes a return. All in all, the challenge tower is a great mode that has its fun at times, but also filled with cheap moments as well with the numerous stipulations they offer.

Even though there is a good amount of single-player modes that will keep players busy for hours, the core fighting is what matters especially for Mortal Kombat and the system this time around is really fun to mess around with in both casual and tournament level play. As I mentioned before, it is a mixture both old and new school MK. The old school tactics still remain from the good old Scorpion spear to uppercut while new school tactics have chain combo strings that keep fights in close quarters and help along with juggle combos. Projectiles and movement are still definitely a huge part in the core MK game as someone with a good projectile game and move around especially by telporting can be dangerous to deal with such as Noob Saibot, Ermac, and Smoke as they can deal big damage combining those two aspects together. The air game can also play a significant part too if you have someone that can deal damage there like Kitana, Kung Lao, and pretty much any character that has an air throw or a dive kick. Besides the regular one on one play, there is a tag mode, which the potential for crazier combos increases with two characters playable. The tag mode can be pretty fun as well as a good diversion, but personally most people will sticking to one on one fights. All of this makes you wonder if this game is even balanced, but MK games in the past have known for not being balanced with certain characters dominating and the same can be said for this ninth game. However, this does not make half of the roster useless just by tiers alone and of course its still early to tell who is too good and who sucks, but there are early contenders out there for high tier characters.

Along with the core fighting, meter management plays a huge factor especially in high-level matches. The super meter in this game has three uses. One block of meter can be used for enhanced special moves, or as we like to call EX moves in the Street Fighter world that were also seen in MK vs. DC Universe. Using an enhanced version of a special move has its purposes as it is very situational, but usually they can be used to continue big juggle combos. Two blocks of meter are for combo breakers, which is toward and block at the same when being caught in a combo. Like enhanced special moves, combo breakers are also situational and can the turn the tide the match at times when used correctly. Most of the time though it is best to save your meter not wasting it on breakers so you can use all of it for the x-ray move. Each character has their own x-ray that can be a throw, projectile, or just a regular attack. By simply pressing the L2 + R2 buttons at the same time, you can deal at least a third of a full health bar, which is a huge chunk of damage and change the tone of a match at times. If done during a juggle combo, the damage does scale, but still it is nice to do during those instead of randomly doing it out of desperation hoping it hits.

Of course, another reason the Mortal Kombat franchise has been known for is the fatalities and a return to the mature rating is indeed a good thing. They still require a specific sequence of commands, but they're still awesome to nail and see as some of them can be very gruesome and gory while others can be a bit disappointing depending on with your character's expectations. There are modernized twists to classic fatalities by the staples of the franchise and they're still as good as they were in the 90s. Each character has two fatalities, one known at the gate from the move list and one hidden. The hidden one can be done if you know the inputs by heart, but you can also get them at the krypt if you're unsure. Stage fatalities are also in such as the signature pit one, the dead pool from MK2, trees eating you at the living forest, and being run down by a train in the subway. As far of other finishing moves from previous games like babailities and friendships are concerned, let's just say one of them makes a return too and if you don't know by now, you can find out easily on the internet. Fatalities can even be practiced in the game's training mode where there's one for regular training as seen in other recent fighting games and another just for fatalities in case of the inputs to do them as well as the distance for it to work. The game's tutorial does an okay job getting you started with the basics, but it is still about practicing certain matchups and juggle combos in training mode. The krypt is also where you can unlock alternate costumes if you haven't beaten ladder mode with a certain character along with various art and mockups.

There is of course online multiplayer as if you played Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, it is pretty much similar to that with the options. Ranked & player matches are expected and there's lobbies straight out of the old online days before matchmaking took over where you can meet up other players challenging them in the process. The challenges can be standard one on one matches, tag, or king of the hill, which is basically endless battle in the Street Fighter IV games. Netherrealm approaches that a little differently as avatars are watching fights in a theater and they can vote by respect points how good the king is after winning. Its another good approach to bring back the arcade days of putting down a quarter and watching the competition do work. Latency can be a problem as players will drop in and out during fights which can affect your performance messing up a move or a combo. During my time with the mode since PSN got back up, the game crashed on me at the character select screen. The flaws don't stop after that as the netcode is not up to snuff compared to most fighters as you're bound to run into laggy matches every time you turn on the game. Along with the disappointing netcode, finding ranked matches does not work and you're lucky if you find one at its current state, so your best bet finding matches now is by the lobby system. Netherrealm does know about the online issues and did announce a patch that would fix those in the coming weeks, so I hope the netcode gets better with that.

Graphically, Mortal Kombat looks great on all aspects. The backgrounds can be dark, gritty, and colorful which are modernized takes on classic stages from the first three games, which is finally cool to see in a way they were meant to be in the first place when we all first envisioned it back then. The character models themselves look pretty sharp especially when they looked all beat up as you will see all the blood on their bodies as well as the scars from their outfits. Fighting games rarely slow down frame-rate wise and it is still the case here even though it can slow down during an unlockable character''s victory pose in the challenge tower and even lock up, which only happened once during a challenge as Kano. These are specific instances though during my playtime with the game, so who knows if the same is true in other people's hands. The sounds are also dark and gritty, which is fitting to the theme especially with the music. The voices for the characters are great as most of the new ones are fine that fit their personalities even though some old voice recordings remained the same like Raiden's torpedo and the "Toasty!" pop-up after an uppercut, which is a good nostalgic touch.

It is about time Mortal Kombat was done right after many years of struggle to trying to bring back the magic for a new era. A simple return to 2D, only having characters we know and love from the first three games, a retelling of the events from those games, and a fun fighting system that satisfies both the casual and hardcore/tournament crowds were all that was needed for the game to be amazing again. This game's release also brings back the classic rivalry with Capcom (now with Street Fighter IV & Marvel vs. Capcom 3) for fighting game supermacy. It is actually nice to see Western and Japanese game philosophies clash again in this genre of gaming as this could be saved for another article in the future of what I mean regarding these two different styles. Honestly, Mortal Kombat is a fighting game done right in this era of gaming today being filled with hours of content with the awesome story mode and challenge tower when playing alone. Then there is the online for more hours of fighting action along with messing with characters on training mode. There are minor gripes especially for tournaments such as the button configuration issue, but I'll leave that gripe for the tournament scene to deal with even though I hope they fix it via a future patch. Mortal Kombat 9 is nearly a flawless victory, but damn close enough to one.

Score = 9.5/10

  • Fun & deep fighting system for both casual/hardcore crowds
  • Plays well on both stick & pad, comes down to personal preference
  • PS3 version bonuses with Kratos as a playable character (he's not that good to be honest) & option to play in 3D
  • Hours of single-player content w/ story mode & challenge tower
  • The best story mode ever in a fighting game
  • Definitely the best return to form for the franchise
  • Boss characters are cheap just like the 90s, but they can still be beaten easily here
  • Button configuration is handled poorly (especially for tournaments)
  • Online mutliplayer issues (netcode not good now, difficult finding ranked matches, game crashing during king of the hill, etc.), but will be fixed by an upcoming patch.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another new L.A. Noire Trailer... now less than a month away

If you don't know by now, I'm been busy with Mortal Kombat, so expect a review of that sometime next week. In the meantime, it is time to get hype for arguably an early contender for game of the year which is L.A. Noire by Rockstar. It is less than a month away from release and it just keeps getting better.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The New X-Men 1st Class Trailer features Hidden Missiles!!!!

You'll see at the end of the new international trailer what I mean by "hidden missiles." (MvC3 reference)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kanye's Coachella 2011 Concert

In case you missed it, here's Kanye West's Coachella 2011 concert, which was truly an once in a lifetime experience if you were there in person. Here's my favorite performance from the show, which is "Lost in the World." One of the best tracks from MBDTF finally gets the live treatment and it is as amazing just like the song itself.

Will Sega Finally Get It Right with Sonic Generations?

As the teaser a couple weeks back indicated, Sonic Generations is indeed about modern and classic Sonic. Now we know the differences between the two and it might be the perspective alone that matters. Classic Sonic is straight up 2D gameplay while modern puts the camera behind Sonic as seen in his recent games. Its easy to get excited for this game that Sega might finally get it right, but if the Sonic Cycle is any indication, don't get your hopes up as they will find a way to screw it up. Let's hope I'm wrong though as Sonic Generations looks pretty good right now.

Uncharted 3 Gets Into Dubstep Mode...

Looks like the Uncharted 3 multiplayer previews are starting to roll out today as this trailer shows off what's new and improved. Naughty Dog is not joking when they want to make this multiplayer the one to beat on PS3 this November as they're going "H.A.M." now. From the plane map (imagine that in the campaign!), zipline kills, customized weapons and characters, and so on, Uncharted 3's multiplayer is already looking better than all of 2 as they seem to learn their lessons from that game. Now, they're able to separate themselves from the rest of the 3rd person shooter crowd as if they already are putting what makes Uncharted the franchise it is on multuplayer. The beta is coming out on June 28 for select Infamous 2 owners and Playstation Plus peeps while everyone else gets it a week later on PSN, so I better get on that. Plus, shoutouts to dubstep in gaming trailers now!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Old School Friday - Star Fox 64!!!

Watch live video from gunitver1 on

In honor of a recent announcement regarding the 3DS version coming out at Japan in July, I decided to bring this little game back for a stream last night. As you can see, I'm pretty rusty since of course I haven't played it in forever. I used to be pretty good at the game back in the day when I was young consistently nailing out medal runs on the various levels and getting the hard ending. Let's just say luck wasn't on my side in this playthrough I had and stopped at Venom trying to beat it again with no deaths.

The Full "Fault Line" Trailer for Battlefield 3 is up

The last three trailers for Battlefield have been put together now as there's also some new footage involving these sequences. At the end of this clip, they show glimpses of what is yet to come for the game from nighttime levels, aircraft sequences, and the COD-like mountain jump. EA is not joking when they want to beat Call of Duty with this game, but stooping down to their level is somewhat taking away from what Battlefield was in the first place. Then again, if you have to beat your biggest competition, sometimes you just have to go bigger than they are and that's what EA and DICE are hoping for with Battlefield 3. However, as mentioned already, the COD influences are just getting old these days and honestly, I'm more excited for Gears of War 3 even though its a completely different game than this just by seeing the multiplayer beta that is now out there for some. We'll see what EA and DICE will show off at E3 in June.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hands-On with El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

A demo for Ignition's El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron came out today for the Japanese Playstation Store as well as the Japanese XBL Marketplace since its coming out at the end of the month over there with a U.S. release slated for sometime this summer. You probably have not heard much about this game, but some known Japanese developers worked on this game. You may have also noticed the visual style being very colorful and artsy to the point its straight out of Okami. Turns out that some of the art guys that worked on El Shaddai did work on the Capcom/Clover critical hit. The story for this game seems crazy with the religious themes and such, but it is still interesting especially being something that has not really been touched on in today's games.

At its core, El Shaddai is a combat action game with some platforming elements spread throughout the journey. The Okami influences not only are seen in the art design, but in the combat sequences being arena-based with waves of enemies that pose a threat out of the gate and can kill you if you're not careful. The way it controls is not what you expect if you played other Japanese action games like Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, and Ninja Gaiden as it is an one-button attack system. Attacks being centered on one button seems questionable at first as you can be mashy right away, but if you want to do other fancy moves, you have to time your button presses carefully. The weapons have some rock, paper, scissors type of feel to it as mentioned in the Giant Bomb Quick Look I put two or three weeks ago. However, you do start the demo with nothing in which you have to steal enemies' weapons in order to use them. The one you'll use a lot will be the some blade looking thing that glows blue, but glows red after hitting enemies a certain number of times. There's the whole light/dark mechanic to the combat with the blade as it seems that you will do more damage to enemies when lit up. Later on the demo, you can use a projectile-like weapon tossing DMC3 Vergil-like knives at enemies. If you saw the video, you probably noticed there's no HUD and that's true since your character's look is his health and the less clothes you have, you'll probably going to die in a hit or two. However if you die, you can mash some buttons and revive yourself back to the action, but I think you can do it a certain number of times. Its a nice touch considering the checkpoint system is not as generous as seen in most games, but this is a Japanese action game and these type of games love to challenge and frustrate you at times. The core combat system as a whole works fine, but you can't reckless as you can lose health right away if you're not blocking or evading opposing attacks.

Then there's the platforming elements that break up the action up a bit especially in this demo. You can double jump in the game, but the various camera angles can be a little problem trying to judge how far the gap as holding the jump button does increase the floatiness of it, but you don't want to drop down to a bottomless pit as it will result in a loss of health or even death if you're flashing red as seen in shooters. Other than that, these platforming sections do their part especially when jumping on moving clouds in the day/night cycle sequence, which is probably the coolest looking thing you'll see in the demo.

I was pretty impressed with my brief time with El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Its definitely one of those sleeper hit games that can creep up on you when it comes out here this summer. I might have to spend some more time getting better at the combat encounters and such, but this is definitely worth paying attention to if you're in a mood to play something that is pretty crazy and different. If you have a Japanese PSN or XBL account, give this demo a shot and see if it fits your cup of tea for a crazy action game.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Also Today in the World of Games... (4/12/11)

Reviews started to roll out to the internets throughout the day for SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy Seals as most of them seem to be in the 7 range, but some sites had lower scored reviews filled with disappointment. Honestly, I had a good time with the multiplayer beta, which is ending tomorrow despite its flaws of not getting into games and whatnot. It brought me back to the time before Call of Duty/Halo took over the online shooter world and SOCOM was the dominant shooter on the PS2. Some would say the franchise was the first console shooter that got things right from clan support, lobbies that were okay for the time till Halo 2 brought in matchmaking, fun maps, and more. It felt good to back in the groove again since I was pretty good at SOCOM 2 for a short period. I was disappointed with SOCOM 3 though distancing away from what made SOCOM 2 amazing being too big and vehicles weren't clearly designed to be in a SOCOM game. It seems to be that SOCOM 4 is getting back to what made the first two games great while keeping the 32 max player limit in SOCOM 3, but it looks it didn't offer anything new enough to make itself competition against the online shooter juggernauts. I'm pretty sure the SOCOM fanbase will still enjoy it for a while even though they're not fans at the same new changes especially the cover system. I don't think Sony & Zipper completely dropped the ball with SOCOM 4, but it looks it could of been way better than it should of been.

Nintendo also had some announcements today regarding their Q2 lineup as the headliners are the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the 3DS and Wii Play: Motion. Zelda OOT 3D is shaping up to be the major reason people are getting 3DSs around that time since that's out on June 19. It has Master Quest in as well, so this is pretty much the ultimate version of OOT Nintendo is finally releasing after its re-releases on Gamecube and the Wii Virtual Console. Wii Play Motion is just another mini-game collection and like the original game, it is bundled with a Wiimote (now the Wiimote Plus). I expect this is sell a million copies easily and arguably could of best selling game of the year if magic strikes again for Nintendo. Then again, a lot of people have fallen off the Wii bandwagon and waiting for Nintendo to announce something new because other than Zelda: Skyward Sword, I have no reason to play my Wii at all. Sometimes, I wonder if its worth keeping still, so who knows with that.

Mortal Kombat HYPE has begun!!!!

Mortal Kombat is out next week and the HYPE has begun with the launch of the webseries titled Mortal Kombat: Legacy today. For the first episode, it is a good start of what to expect and it is a webseries, so there are limitations. Jax, Sonya, Stryker, and Kano are featured in this episode, but more of your favorites from the games are in future episodes. Let's just hope this as a whole succeeds to the point they start talking a movie again. I am taking a break from Marvel 3 to go nuts with MK as I try my best to get pretty good (tourney-good) for upcoming events. There's a national tournament next month at Vegas which I'm pretty sure signups have been done (oh well). Of course, Evo is having this game as well. Its a pretty good time to scream out MORTAL KOMBAT right now since its truly back.

The Other Stuff from Captivate...

Okay... other than the fighting games that got me HYPE (No MvC3 DLC stuff lol), there were other games Capcom showed off last week.

Dragon's Dogma is a new IP made by known action game developers from previous Capcom games. It still looks pretty early, but looks like they want to tap into the western RPG market. I'm not sure what to think of it now, so hopefully we get more info at E3.

Oh hey, another Dead Rising game... Capcom is really banking on this franchise these days now (is this the new Mega Man for them?), but who knows if this new game is too soon off last year's Dead Rising 2 & the prologue/epilogue downloadable games. Anyway, Dead Rising 2: Off The Record is basically if Frank West was the protagonist and not Chuck Greene in Fortune City. With Frank on the field, means a different game according to Capcom, but not by much to me. Its still Dead Rising at its core and some improvements are being made from what Blue Castle learned from the flaws of the original DR2. Off The Record is out this fall and we'll see if the world is not sick of Dead Rising yet (then again the long wait between 1 and 2 is something, but 2 games in the same setting = oh boy).

Then there's new Asura's Wrath stuff, which isn't much I guess, but a new trailer is good enough. It still looks cool and the protagonist is a crazy dude trying to defend a big finger from smashing the earth.

There's also Resident Evil stuff with Operation Raccoon City and the 3DS games too, but I'm letting the new games shine here. This year's Captivate seems to be a good event as Capcom fans have a lot to look forward to.

Street FIghter X Tekken Captivate Blowout...

The big highlight for Captivate, Capcom's Miami press event last week, for many is new Street Fighter X Tekken stuff and as promised, Capcom delivers on that end. The core gameplay seems to be now established being 2D a la Street Fighter, SF controls, and a Tekken-like juggle combo system. Surprisingly, the Tekken-like combos transitioned pretty well to this so far along with the tag combos since this is a 2v2 fighting game, but still one on one. The character roster so far is...

Street Fighter
  • Ryu
  • Ken
  • Guile
  • Abel
  • Chun-Li
  • Kazuya
  • Nina
  • King
  • Marduk
  • Bob

The Street Fighter stuff seen in the gameplay clip above is EX moves, supers or ultras (Whatever Capcom goes with), and the SF4 style of art in which that engine is getting some graphical improvements even though it looks nearly the same, but a little better. Good thing the preview build was playable and impressions from those who were there are loving it so far. Who knows if the Tekken-like juggle system will be a key factor in gameplay as you can get by okay with Street Fighter fundamentals, but its a new game to learn and I'm pretty sure the FGC folks will be the necessary adjustments to do well at tournaments. Street Fighter X Tekken is still ways off, but I'm pretty excited again after seeing all of this.

Monday, April 11, 2011

SSF4 Arcade Edition News from Captivate...

The Captivate embargo is expected to be up at 8 am PST tomorrow, but things are slowly popping up on the interwebs. The Arcade Edition DLC leakage continues with this pic of someone downloading it on Xbox Live (assuming its the Partner.NET service), which contains the download size being around 674 MB. That's a lot if your small 360 Hard Drive is filling up, but for an update that substantial with loads of new content, it makes sense adding in the new characters, intros/endings, balance changes, and so on. The download size should be around the same for PS3 owners and wait till tomorrow morning if Capcom announces pricing for this thing, which I'm expecting in the 10-20 dollar range. 20 dollars is probably pushing it, but for a big update, I can see Capcom doing that. 10 dollars may seem like a bargain and hopefully the right price. 15 bucks though seems to be the sweet spot since its pretty much a new game at this point even though its SSF4 at its core. We'll find out tomorrow morning I guess.


Enough blabbing, here we go:

DLC out on June 7 (1200 MS Points/15 bucks on PSN = called it!) - Also, its out on E3 week... plus Revelations/CEO that weekend. CEO confirms they'll use AE, but no word from the Level Up/Tournament Legacy crew whether or not they'll use AE (They better now if Evo is doing it and even CEO)
Retail version out on June 28 (smart of Capcom to have that option)
PC version out on July (yay for PC fans... also mods!!!)
Evo just confirmed they'll use AE... yay!

What I Wanna See for Def Jam Rapstar 2

There hasn't been any DLC released for Def Jam Rapstar for almost two months now and I have a feeling Konami/4mm Games is working on the sequel assuming it did well enough sales-wise (I sure hope so). Anyway, if Def Jam Rapstar 2 exists, I'm expecting a better game filled with content since the original established a pretty good foundation of what karaoke games should go with from now on. Here's a bullet point features list of what I want to see (soundtrack after this)
  • Better career mode... perhaps artist-specific, theme-specific (Young Money, West Coast for ex.) or decade-specific setlists rather than the standard beat a few songs and move on to a harder list. The challenges are fine like the timing and multiplier ones, so keep them. Come to think of it, take a Rock Band-ish approach as you travel the country to become the #1 Rapstar as you visit various cities and their style of hip-hop/rap (Examples being Kanye in Chicago, Snoop at LA, T.I. & Ludacris at Atlanta, etc.). The more stars you collect allows access to more cities... kind of unoriginal, but it makes sense for a game like this.
  • Will we see a M-rated version? I don't think so. The radio edits are fine enough and we can keep curse our way through them just to have fun when the blank words come out.
  • Actual online battles - There wasn't any actual online play in terms of head to head competition, but they better add that in. Perhaps even spice in the career-based challenges for more multiplayer modes. All of a sudden they'll force in online MP achievements/trophies, which usually sucks.
  • The community portion - I like the whole share/upload business of our performances to the Rapstar website and they should continue that, but let's see if they add Twitter/Facebook integration since that seems to be the new gaming trend now. Plus, it makes sense for a karaoke game so more people like your FB friends/Twitter followers can watch your sheninegans in the rap field. Of course YouTube integration would be nice too, but that would be pushing it. Then again, all of this still requires a camera in which I don't have a Playstation Eye, but that can change once I get a Move bundle if my most wanted game of the year Child of Eden supports it and perhaps even 3D too.
Okay, that's just the basics of what I want to see for a Rapstar sequel. There's probably more I can think of, but not at the moment. Anyway, the bigger picture for the sequel is the soundtrack. They better let you import the original Rapstar on-disc songs and the DLC for at least a minimal fee (free surely would be nice, but I can't see them doing that). The original's soundtrack had the obvious hits, but there can some that were missing as let'see if Rapstar 2 capitalizes on that. 50/60 on-disc songs for the sequel should be a good number. (Note - some from my Rapstar DLC wishlist will return)

And more...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Streets of Rage Remake Version 5 - The Best Fanmade Game Ever?

After eight years of hard work, Streets of Rage Remake is finally done and the final version has been released as of earlier this week. As a fan of the franchise, I have been looking forward for a while when Bomber Games were finally able to finish it. This is one big complete package of the best of the Streets of Rage franchise compiled into one big game with somewhat an original story. Well, not really with the original story of Mr. X and his Syndicate are up to no good as its up to Axel, Blaze, Adam, Skate, Max, and Zan to the save the city from corruption. When Bomber Games claimed there are over 100 areas in the game, they weren't joking, and it makes sense since you get to select a starting path (Four of them) to beat up dudes. Two of them will be familiar as there are the first games from the first two games while the other two are original paths mixed in with some Streets of Rage 3 stages. Then there's the multiple branching paths to take which encourages multiple playthroughs of the game, which is great seeing which path leads to a certain boss or an area just filled with unexpected stuff. For example, there are vehicular sections in the game as you're on a bike or a little boat beating up dudes. However, these sections are pretty sketchy as you will have a hard time coming out of then alive at first, but eventually figure out tactics to lessen the damages. These multiple paths also mean multiple endings, which are the various endings from the three games remade in a new visual style.

Streets of Rage Remake encourages replay value like no other compared to any other beat-em-up in existence. There's the six various characters playable at the first with Axel spamming gran uppers like no one's business, Adam getting buffed up in the stats department (now my go-to), and so on. There are characters to buy as well in the shop after beating the game once along with cheats, bonus modes such as survival and boss rush, and extras. The customizable options are also stacked as you can play the game at the default SOR3 style o even the classic SOR1 style with no special moves at your disposal. New to this remake I believe are star moves in which the more stars you have, the better your dash attack is. Adam, for example at two stars has a Balrog-like dash punch, but adds in an uppercut with three stars, which does a good amount of damage. This also encourages staying alive keeping the stars as if you die, you lose a star. Police attacks from the first game also make a return and of course useful in tight situations and against bosses in their limited use. The difficulty also ramped up for this final version as it can be hard especially at the final stretches when at it alone. The enemy AI is smarter and bosses are willing to counterattack too. The game does get easier with another person around joining in on the fun and even a AI-controlled buddy in which you can dictate its behavior (being balanced, aggressive, stupid, etc.) at the start of a playthrough.

Graphically, Streets of Rage Remake is modeled after the second/third games, so its nice to backgrounds from the first game remade in the later games' format along with seeing original settings as well. The characters have also been redrawn to fit that style too. The amazing soundtrack though is something special. All of the tracks from the various games have been remastered as it is just awesome listening to the tracks being modernized in a way Yuzo Koshiro, the franchise's composer, would of thought of if Sega wants to bring to properly bring it back. Then again after the amazing job Bomber Games did with this homage to a classic franchise, it is probably for the best Sega never touches it again even though they seem to be aware of this version's existence and requested for the download links to be taken down for now. Bomber Games also mentioned today that they will patch it up soon toning down the difficulty to make it easier to beat it alone.

Whenever you have a chance, play this game as soon as you can if you love classic beat-em-ups especially this franchise. This is retro gaming and fanmade games done right as hopefully Bomber Games get the props they deserve.

Today in the World of Games for 4/6/11

Lots of things happening today in the world of games...

Yes, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition is confirmed as DLC via a trailer that was leaked earlier today. Yun, Yang, Evil Ryu, and Oni (now out for proper AE) are coming to consoles, but no date set yet even though it will be revealed next week once the embargo is up from the Captivate stuff (the Capcom press event that is going on now at Miami). Other than the big AE update with the characters and the balance changes, the main game is getting an overhaul display-wise as titles now appear on screen just like the proper Arcade Edition. Plus, the replay channel is getting some cool additions such as skill-specific channels and a YouTube-like approach of following guys that put up new replay videos. Once again, all of this puts Marvel 3's online options to shame. The trailer is out somewhere to download, so search the interwebs for that. Honestly, I have getting in the mood to play AE again, so this announcement is coming at a good time. Also, Capcom lately can not keep their secrets out especially with Arcade Edition with the whole Evil Ryu/Oni fiasco a couple months back and now, its just pointless to take down what was pretty inevitable in the first place.

Sega is once again at it with another Sonic game to celebrate its 20th Anniversary and this time they better not screw it up, but chances are they'll likely do it. This teaser shows not just one Sonic, but two of them as one is the modern incarnation with the green eyes while the other is more old-school being a little more lighter. Other than that, it shows nothing as teasers should do, but expect something around E3 time what are Sega's plans with Sonic. Will Sonic 4: Episode 2 get announced for a fall release or another 3D attempt is in the books that hopefully gets it right once and for all?

Over at Mortal Kombat land, the game is confirmed to be gold earlier this week, so we might see the leaks pouring out next week at the mom/pop stores. Personally, I'm not going to fall for the early bird release like I did with Marvel 3 & SSF4 since I got a Tournament Edition pre-order already, so I don't mind waiting patiently. Above is a clip featuring Jax & Kano from the live action web series coming out later this month and below is a Shang Tsung vignette video for the game that is out on the 19th. Expect some MK coverage around then along with a review too.

Rockstar Games put up a third trailer for L.A. Noire, which continues to amaze and the game is out next month.