Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today in the World of Games for 5/31/11

First up... new look for the blog in time for E3 next week!!!!

Expect a lot of Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm previews to hit the interwebs now as Brad from Giant Bomb was at Blizzard trying out what's new with this expansion. I'm not that crazy about StarCraft II, but I know some friends that are excited. Sure, the long wait for release next year is expected out of Blizzard, but knowing them, they know what it takes to get it right again. At least another multiplayer beta is coming out for Heart of the Swarm before its release with whatever balance changes they do to the multiplayer. Check the major sites for more details on the game itself.

Another year, another WWE game, but THQ and Yuke's finally abandons the Smackdown vs. RAW name as it is simply called now WWE '12 (just like those EA Sports games). They are clearly thinking this is gonna be the one that gets it right getting rid of all the flaws that plagued the franchise for years. IGN has a preview of what to expect in the new game and a teaser trailer featuring Randy Orton. After the success of All-Stars (I love that game just by playing it a few times at Wednesday Night Fights), let's see if they can continue the momentum.

Mortal Kombat is finally rolling out the DLC next month with new character Skarlet, the retro outfits that have been codes at various retail stores, and the patch that hopefully improves the online play along with character changes (Kung Lao's damage being nerfed, Kabal loop gone, etc.). With Evo and the MLG Circuit around the corner, it is still a good time to pick it up while it lasts because who knows after those events if people will still play the game and Netherrealm continues to support it with more downloadable content/balance patches (Hector from NR has said at UFGT7 last weekend that they will continue to support the game as long as they can). Oh, there's also the latest episode of Mortal Kombat Legacy featuring the infamous ninjas, Scorpion & Sub-Zero, below.

Finally in Call of Duty land, the rumored subscription service was finally announced today (more like leaked last night by the WSJ) called Call of Duty: Elite, which will make its debut in Modern Warfare 3 this November. It is basically a Playstation Plus-like deal where playing multiplayer is still free, but if you want more social networking features and new maps, you have to pony up for the new monthly-based service. Its finally time the franchise has their version of bungie.net (so beneficial to the Halo franchise) for all that stat tracking, clan support, and other social features. Sure, the initial reaction has been similar to the Modern Warfare 3 trailer of Activision and Infinity Ward jumping the shark for the franchise, but it was only a matter of time this would happen since they love money too much. The hardcore CoD fans will surely fall for it, but for everyone else that doesn't play it every day, who knows.

That's it for now... the E3 hype is starting to sink in. I might do a last minute predictions post later this week, but expect my thoughts on the press conferences and other big announcements throughout the show next week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This must be the "Launch Trailer" for OOT 3D...

The only reason this trailer for the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D got me hyped is the version of the theme song they used, which won't be in the game. They again show most of the cutscenes throughout the game in this clip, which can be spoiler territory if you never played it back in 1998. For those who don't know what's new with this "re-release" for the 3DS yet, there are some stuff.
  • Of course, the graphical improvements - Yeah, the game looks better, it is more colorful, Link looks different than his original self, and the framerate gets improved (perhaps the only reason I would play this game again). Oh, I guess that 3D effect is in there, hence the "3D" in the title.
  • The touch-screen controls - I'm not really going crazy about the improved inventory controls especially when you're in the Water Temple with the Iron Boots. There is a variation of the Stone of Agony (now the Shard of Agony) new in this 3DS version (since you can't use a Rumble Pak here lol).
  • Master Quest is playable - The harder version of the game is indeed in the 3DS release, but I think you still have to beat the original to unlock it. There's also an option where Link takes double damage making things even harder, so good luck trying to beat MQ again.
  • There's a boss rush mode - At least this is in if you want to replay the boss fights again perhaps challenging yourself to beat them all in one health meter and in record time.
Other than that, Nintendo didn't do enough to this "re-release" as this is the same exact game from 1998 is here with better graphics. All of the audio is the same, so they didn't make any changes to that such as remastered background themes, which could of been cool. Hardcore Zelda fans would buy this in a heartbeat and for many, its their reason to get a 3Ds now, but nostalgia alone is simply not enough these days especially for me. As I said many times, I do love Ocarina of Time as it is still one of my favorite games of all-time, but it is still one of those games I rather enjoy only once. Sure, getting this will be like 1998 all over again, but I'm not just that excited for a 12-year old game in 2011.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The True Definition of a Mature Game... The L.A. Noire Review

Note: The gameplay videos may contain spoilers, so watch at your own risk!

It is pretty easy to judge mature rated video games especially in today's society. They are judged by the content they have from violence, gore, use of profanity, and so on, which basically describes a normal first-person shooter. Games never really take advantage of the mature rating going beyond just content alone and actually take overall tone into consideration. Rockstar Games is no stranger to games that have the mature rating with the infamous Grand Theft Auto franchise and last year's outstanding Red Dead Redemption. With developer Team Bondi, L.A. Noire is a different beast unlike those games. Usually in a GTA game, you play as an anti-hero with the ability to cause havoc at the city. L.A. Noire flips the script as you play as someone protecting the law being the good guy. This is quite a turn for a Rockstar game considering how their open world experiences continue to evolve more than just a playground to mess around in. I wondered how Rockstar would tackle the good side of law enforcement, which makes L.A. Noire an interesting game for them to get involved with.

The protagonist you play as in L.A. Noire is Cole Phelps, a war hero turned detective in 1940s Los Angeles. Throughout the game, you'll experience his rise through the ranks of the LAPD from just a normal policeman to a top detective. It does a good job of progression of these ranks as you solve cases that involve hit and runs, homicide, illegal distribution of drugs, and arson. Cole is usually accompanied by a partner in each of these desks that have the cases. He is one of those guys that would take the necessary steps to get the clues he wants to solve cases while his partners tend to be there for the ride. The storyline starts all simple as Cole solves various cases, but in between beating these cases, there are World War II flashbacks about Cole's experience along with other characters. These flashbacks will eventually come full circle later on the game making the story have a sense of a big picture. That big picture, however, ends up a little disappointing when certain events feel very questionable.

The focal point of L.A. Noire is the detective work rather than going to places shooting bad guys. This is a different change of pace for open-world games as you search for clues at crime scenes and drive off to various locales discovered from those clues to get closer to charging the suspect responsible. Clue finding has been brilliantly designed in a clever way by both visual and audio cues. Markers have been placed for evidence in some cases as chimes kick in when you're near them. Music plays a big role in these scenes as well as finding all the necessary clues in a room or a crime scene ends the music, so Team Bondi did a remarkable job with that.

Interviewing and interrogating is the meat of the detective work along with providing the most intense moments of the game as Cole asks witnesses and possible suspects questions relating to the crime. They are either telling the truth, being doubtful, or flat out lying. One way you can tell they are doing either those things is by their body language, which is where is the amazing facial animations kick in. The facial animations all characters have in L.A. Noire are unlike anything I have seen ever in a game to the point they are real. You can tell by their face how they answered your question if they're looking around, scared, etc. If you're lying, you need the appropriate evidence to back your claim up. Even this whole system has some issues as it can be a challenge to tell the difference of claiming they're telling the truth or doubtful. There is an intuition point system to ease the interviewing process as you can spend a point per question for Who Wants To Be a Millionaire-like lifelines such as eliminating a wrong answer and asking the community as it shows a percentage of the used answers from consoles hooked up online. Usually asking the community feels like a gimmie especially now that the game is out for a week already as the right answer is easily narrowed down with this lifeline. When things click and go your way especially charging the right suspect, it is such a satisfying moment to see them break down trying to sneak themselves out of a charge. After completing cases, you are rated up to five stars how well you solved the case from nailing the questions correctly and finding all the clues. Even if you miss clues or questions, it is not the end of the world as it will be a little more difficult to charge the right suspect.

While the game is set in an open world that screams Grand Theft Auto, it is not actually a playground to go crazy especially as a detective. The rules are flipped around since you're playing as someone on the good side of law enforcement. You can't cause much of a ruckus as you would in a GTA game running into cars, people, and damaging property as it affects over case rating. For once, I feel like I have to follow the street signs even though you can speed off as long as you're careful doing it. Of course, the police siren helps on making other drivers pull off to the side easing your drive especially in heated chase scenes during cases. Even though L.A. Noire is mostly about the detective work, there are still side missions spread throughout Los Angeles to complete. These side missions are mostly street crimes that will involve melee brawls, gun fights and chases by foot or car. There isn't a variety of them, so they tend to get repetitive at times.

Besides all the policework, L.A. Noire controls like any other open-world Rockstar game that has been out on this generation of consoles. Driving and shooting feel similar to GTA, so they're not bad. Sure, the shooting could of been better when compared to other third-person games, but you can do worst than the cover system and auto-aim here. Your partner's AI does a good job of helping out in moments like these since they tend to have get in trouble and help out during car chases when they shoot the tires. However, your partner can get stuck at times in spots to the point you'll leave them behind and they'll somehow reset to where you're at later on. Things on foot feels great and simple as you never run out of stamina running and its easy to vault over objects since there is no jump button. Traditionally with open world games by Rockstar, there are collectibles everywhere in Los Angeles if you want to 100% L.A. Noire from locating landmarks, finding film reels (this game's version of the hidden packages), and driving all the vehicles. Even after you beat the game, the replay value is still there especially having the option to replay cases over again, free roaming to find the collectibles, and downloadable cases such as "The Naked City" and the PS3 exclusive "Consul's Case" (that's not available since the Playstation Store is still not back up as of this time).

Graphically, L.A. Noire looks pretty sharp for an open world game. The engine used in Rockstar's past games is in here, but as in most games like this, there will be pop-in issues at times, which doesn't really distract the overall experience. The facial animations I mentioned earlier are amazing as I hope other games implement this technology, but the maintaining the balance for the whole body is not up there yet. Team Bondi also did an amazing job nailing the 1940s Los Angeles setting right in terms of atmosphere and tone. There are recognizable landmarks present in this city that are still around today, so its crazy to see places like the Mann Chinese Theatre and Union Station in their 1940s incarnations. Sound-wise, it is a top notch effort by the developers from the audio cues during the cases, the amazing voice acting from a star-studded cast (well if you watched Mad Men, you'll recognize a lot of people in this game). Especially with the realistic facial animations, it feels like you're watching a R-rated movie about that time period. Characters feel believable especially Cole and they recorded a lot of lines as chatter is happening everywhere. I specifically enjoyed the chatter between Cole and his partners during driving trips in cases.

L.A. Noire is another outstanding yet flawed experience by Rockstar as they're willing to push the open world genre in different ways. It is definitely a different change of pace for an open world game considering how much more adventure is in it even though there are still action-filled moments at some points. The detective work is done brilliantly well as the interviews/interrogations provide some of the most intense moments in gaming so far this year just by how emotional the characters can be. The facial animations are indeed breathtaking as it is unlike you have never seen before in games till now. The game uses audio pretty well too from the awesome voice acting and music cues during cases. The story could of been better especially when it comes around to the big picture because it seems rushed how things go full circle at the end. People can also have a hard time nailing the cases perfectly, which can take numerous replays to get everything right. It is remarkable to see the mature rating being pushed to its full potential in terms of atmosphere and tone because this is a game definitely intended for adults. Rockstar has another hit in their hands and despite its flaws, L.A. Noire is the true definition of a real, mature game.

Score = 9/10

  • 1940s Los Angeles setting done right in atmosphere and tone
  • Detective work, yet challenging, is designed brilliantly well
  • Facial animations are indeed that breathtaking to the point of being real
  • Great use of audio from the top notch voice acting and musical cues
  • Story could of been better especially later on the game when things come together for "the big picture."
  • Slight graphical issues like pop-in (expected in open world games) and people getting stuck in spots.
  • The detective work can be challenging if you have a hard time determining if witnesses/suspects are telling the truth, being doubtful, or lying.
  • Repetitive side missions

Monday, May 23, 2011

The MW3 Gameplay Trailer... because hey its COD again!

So here's your Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 "gameplay" trailer... they still know to get the fans hyped up showing off the setpieces. This is the best chance World War 3 has at the gaming spotlight and this is gonna be big for Activision/Infinity Ward in both directions. Of course, this is gonna sell gangbusters, but will it be good enough to please the hardcore fans? Has the formula ran its course like how Activision handled the Guitar Hero franchise to its death? We'll find out in November and also at E3 in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Music Roundup for 5/18/11 aka the "Born This Way" Edition

Today on the music roundup features none other than Mother Monster herself Lady Gaga as her second album, Born This Way is out Monday. Of course expectations are set very high for magic to strike again and Gaga has once again done it again. Even for an EP, The Fame Monster was proof that she is here to stay as the queen of pop music. We all thought she can't top herself after her breakthrough success of The Fame and yet she manages to prove those wrong and it is also the case with Born This Way. In a world where former pop princesses and pop stars that have been in the game for a while are having successful comebacks, the craziest chick still reigns supreme because she is still way more diverse than all the pop material out there now, which I'll explain why in a bit. In a nutshell, Lady Gaga's Born This Way is another modern pop classic and arguably my album of the year so far.

If you have been underwhelmed with the singles Gaga has put out so far like the title track, "Judas," and "The Edge of Glory," those concerns will be erased once you listen to the album from beginning to end. "Marry the Night" is a great start to get things going and then goes to the title track, which surprisingly she didn't begin with that at first. Gaga's crazy style of pop music definitely takes shape with personal favorites "Government Hooker," "Americano," (which sounds like the second coming of "Alejandro") and "SchiBe" (or "Schisse" if you're not German). Two of those songs I just mentioned are just examples that something only Gaga would do compared to other pop artists while "SchiBe" is her most "clubby" song in the album mixing in some German, which is something you don't hear every day. I just can't see anyone else even trying to take chances Gaga is doing with this album. The first half is just banger after banger as if this is same way The Fame Monster was momentum-wise. The second half, while not as fast-paced, manages to ride off that momentum well with "Bloody Mary," which is another well crafted song only Gaga would think of doing. It is hard to pick stinkers from the album as none of the tracks seems like filler to me, but I can see people not liking some songs in the second half such as "Bad Kids" and "Highway Unicorn" along with the singles she released. This is as multi-dimensional as it gets, which is expected coming from Mother Monster as diverse sounds and melodies are everywhere throughout the album mixing in pop, rock, electro, and house (Some tracks will be Rock Band DLC soon too!). Even instruments you never expect to hear a pop album are present here as the saxophone in "Hair" is an example. "You and I" and "The Edge of Glory" close out the album in fine fashion even though they're the closest things to ballads in the pop world. With the shape of pop music today, it is rare to listen a complete album and Gaga's latest does feels like one.

If I remember what I said back when I talked about The Fame Monster, whether you love or hate her, Lady Gaga is here to stay and with Born This Way being another multi-dimensional classic album. Of course, she has set new standards in the world of pop music with her crazy personality and creativity as other artists try too hard to go as crazy as her, yet they can't top the master. Even if they're some stinkers here, the good songs are just that amazing. Little Monsters better be proud of their mother as she has crafted something special once again. For other big name artists that still have anticipated albums coming out this year, it is going to be tough to top this album quality-wise. So don't be a drag and get this album!!!

Note - These are thoughts on the standard edition of the album. I haven't mentioned the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition yet, so this will updated with thoughts on those soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Atlus asks, "Are You Committed?"

There was a Japanese version of this trailer before Catherine's launch there as Atlus asked random people at the streets the dreaded question. Now the U.S. version of this is out and Atlus decided for fans to submit their answers to them to be in this video. All I have to say is wow at some of the people they picked as you'll see some hilarious answers while others answered it normally and "honestly." You'll also catch a glimpse of the English voice acting for Catherine, which sounds fine for now even though I will miss some of Vincent's awesome reactions in Japanese though. Catherine is still slated to come out on July 26 for the PS3 and 360.

UPDATE - Above is Giant Bomb's Quick Look EX of the English version with a guy from Atlus. Now you can understand what in the world is going on in the game if you don't understand Japanese. The Atlus rep did address a thing about a patch that the Japanese version had about the difficulty issues as the U.S. versions will get from the get go (already designed in rather than having to download an update).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wanna Step Up Your MvC3 Game?

If you're looking to step up your game at Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (like me!!!), this DVD by the Cross Counter folks is really good stuff as you will learn a thing or two that you probably don't know yet in the game. Viscant from San Diego is a fighting game veteran and definitely knows what he is doing in MvC3 as he does a good job explaining the ins and outs of the game along with how his main team of Wesker, Iron Man, and Phoenix gets the job done. Shoutouts go to Gootecks and Mike Ross for a brilliant job putting this together and that's not all from them as more DVDs of this calibur are still coming soon featuring players like Marn and Clockwork.

About Time with this Starhawk Announcement

After years of being rumored, Starhawk finally gets revealed to the world as the successor to Warhawk on the PS3. Gametrailers TV hosted the exclusive reveal as this Sony exclusive is on track for a 2012 release. If I can recall, Warhawk was a pretty good success for the PS3 as a big multiplayer game during its early years. It definitely had its audience for a while and downloadable content kept things going months and perhaps a year or two after release. It was only a matter of time when Light Box Games take things a step further which is what Starhawk is all about. From transforming ships/robots, RTS-like building elements, a solo campaign that Warhawk didn't have (oh this is now a retail only release), and lots of potential with the online multiplayer, Starhawk definitely has what it takes to a big game next year for the PS3. Expect more of this game at E3 next month as hopefully they reveal some new things not shown yet.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Soul Burns for a Fifth Time...

As expected, Namco Bandai announced Soul Calibur V at a press event they had in Dubai last night. I liked the last game even though it had its flaws (you read the review for that somewhere here), so I have high hopes for this new one which comes out next year for PS3 and 360. A four year gap between games makes sense along with the storyline taking place seventeen years after Soul Calibur IV, so we'll see a mix of old and new characters. Since its an odd number entry, hopefully there will be no guest characters, but I won't be surprised if Project Soul does it again. I don't expect an arcade release before consoles since Namco didn't do one for SCIV and personally, an arcade version of Tekken Tag 2 is good enough for me. Soul Calibur V is still ways off as more details will be revealed at E3 next month.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Retro Review - Star Fox 64

This is an old review I did for the Wii Virtual Console version of Star Fox 64 four years ago.

In the spring of 1997, Nintendo brought back one of their innovative series from the Super Nintendo to the Nintendo 64 with Star Fox 64. The original that came out on the SNES was innovative for its day requiring the infamous FX chip to run it. There was a sequel some years later, but it never came out in the U.S. Fans of the series had to wait a little longer for the next iteration of Star Fox on the Nintendo 64 and it delivered as if it was what Nintendo wanted to do with the original. The biggest innovation of Star Fox 64 was the introduction of the Rumble Pak, which bundled with the game. The Rumble Pak basically began the whole era of vibration or force feedback that is a standard in this current generation of consoles. Now people that missed out of one of Nintendo's N64 classics or loved this game to death in 1997 can revisit it on the Wii's Virtual Console for 1000 Wii Points, or ten dollars, without the rumble function. Despite losing rumble, Star Fox 64 still remains fun today as a great space shooter that was something else back when it originally came out.

Star Fox 64 had a bigger focus on the story when it is basically a simple purpose of revenge. Fox's father, James McCloud was killed in Venom by the main villain, Andross. Andross wants to take over the Lylat System and started his takeover at Fox's home planet, Corneria. It is up to Fox and his team of animal buddies, which consists of Peppy Hare, who was a teammate of Fox's father and a veteran, Slippy Toad, a toad who is totally annoying which I will bring up again later, and Falco Lombardi, a crazy pilot who wants to go all-out, to defend the whole Lylat System from Andross and take him down. Andross also has a rival group of pilots, Star Wolf, which goes out to hopefully destroy Fox's team at certain levels. The whole storyline does not really matter in the gameplay except when it gets annoyingly addressed through the in-game chatter.

The gameplay of Star Fox 64 was great at the time. The progression of the game was something else besides being just another linear shooter. The game can be beaten two ways, which consists of a good and bad ending. Most of the levels have branching paths and if you complete a certain objective, then you move on to the harder route unless you do not want to go that way and you have the option to take the easier route to a different set of levels. This idea of progression gave the single player campaign more replay value which each run at least two or three hours depending on the path and your skills.

The shooting gameplay still remains special with most of the levels using the Arwing. The Arwing has three types of lasers, which are single, double, and hyper. It has the ability to fire a lock-on shot to any enemy and take it out in one shot. This lock-on attack is one of the primary weapons of the game especially taking out multiple enemies for combo points. You earn points for taking out enemy ships, combos with multiple sets, and the boss at the end of the level. The Arwing has uses bombs as its powerful weapon, but it is under used most of the time and only needed in certain sections. The on-rails action provides the best moments of the game with sets of enemy ships everywhere trying to take you out, but the difficulty is not that hard at default settings. In certain parts of the game, the Arwing will go on all-range mode and you start an arena type battle sequence. These parts are not as fun as the basic on-rails action, but it provides a good break of the action. Besides the Arwing, Fox can use other vehicles in certain levels like the Blue Marine in Aquas and the Landmaster in two levels. These levels were some of the weaker moments of the game because it is not as satisfying as using the Arwing flying around like crazy. Each teammate had a special skill, but Slippy's ability of showing the bosses' health meter remains as your most important teammate other than Peppy helping you with basics and when you're attacked and Falco going his own way.

There was also a splitscreen multiplayer versus mode for those who like multiplayer stuff. This mode is pretty bare-bones in 1997 and remains that way today with only three stages for battle and bland environments. The weird thing about the multiplayer was a certain controller was set to a certain pilot other than using a character select screen. Fox was usually the first player, Peppy was second, Slippy was third, and Falco was the fourth player. This mode is pretty much boring today because it is simply four ships in a deathmatch or competition of destroying the most enemy ships with not a lot of depth. Sure, it was cool back then having four players duking it out in a dogfight, but in the end, the multiplayer in Star Fox 64 feels tacked on and still is that way today.

Star Fox 64 in 1997 had great graphics because of the variety of single-player backgrounds Fox's team travels around. The planets were fairly diverse cliches with a normal Earth-like planet, a snowy planet, and a sand planet. Then there are the space levels, which also had something different on every one of them like Meteo's asteroid field and Bolse's enemy base. On the Virtual Console, the graphics are cleaned up and it is actually one of the better looking Virtual Console games on the Wii out of the other N64 games on the service. Compared to today's shooters, it is not that great now, but each level had its own special moment.

The music is still awesome in Star Fox 64. The soundtrack provided intensity at certain moments of the game and boss fights music still remains one of the best bits of music in a Nintendo game. For the rest of the sound, the firing of the lasers and the bombs still remains solid. The voice acting on the other hand is flat out horrible it is funny yet still nostalgic. Mostly, your teammates will say they need help from you as if they can't do anything at all other than being there. Specifically, Slippy sounds like a girl other than a guy and that is specifically noticed in the last Star Fox games like Star Fox Assault on the Gamecube. Then again, Slippy's gender remains questionable while you can tell Peppy and Falco by gender. The in-game chatter goes crazy at a constant rate that you feel like shooting them down and shutting them up, but the nostalgia does kick in hearing such memorable lines as "Do a barrel roll!." Despite the horrible yet nostalgic banter, Star Fox 64's music stands out from the good sound.

Star Fox 64 still remains as the best Star Fox game ever before it fell apart with the Zelda ripoff, Star Fox Adventures, and the on-foot segments in Assault. It was basically a better version of the original Star Fox with more stuff thrown at you and the constant annoyance of Fox's teammates. While you will likely buy this game for the awesome single-player campaign and branching paths, the multiplayer feels like a rushed mess of something that is forced in the game hoping to give the game more replay value. For ten dollars, Star Fox 64 is one of the better games available on the Wii's Virtual Console as one of the Nintendo 64's instant classics.

Then = 7.8/10
Now = 8.5/10

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Music Video of the Day for 5/5/11

Lady Gaga - "Judas"

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!!

UPDATE - Ohhh!!!! There's that new Nicki Minaj video too for "Super Bass" in which all I have to say about that is I want "rappy Nicki" back not more "poppy Nicki."

So basically... Judas > Super Bass.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Looking Forward to Star Fox 64 3DS more than OOT 3DS

So a "new trailer" came up for the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D & while the new clip kind of sucks (Hey, let's mix in random scenes throughout the game into a trailer... that's cool right?), if I had a 3DS, I would not get it. It is starting to feel like an underwhelming port. Sure, the graphics look better and the touch controls could be the key difference, but as I said in my OOT retrospective (if I can remember), I'm happy only playing it once and once only even though it is still one of my favorite games of all-time. I'm still glad this 3DS version exists and it will be successful no matter what, but I'm actually more excited for Star Fox 64 3DS than this.

At the end of this clip, you'll see a quick glimpse of Star Fox 64 3DS and compared to the graphical effort OOT 3D is getting, Star Fox 64 is getting a major graphical facelift and a needed one too to the point it looks like a completely new game (just look at Solar and Area 6!). Okay, Star Fox 64 is the older game of the two and I have been in the nostalgic mood playing it again (if saw my horrible playthrough on my stream a week ago), but this is the first re-release of the game (not counting Virtual Console) compared to the numerous ways you can get OOT across Nintendo platforms over the years. This is also the first sign Nintendo cares about this franchise again that if it does well and it will, perhaps a new one for the new console that is planned for a 2012 launch could happen. Who knows who would work on it considering Nintendo has dumped the franchise to other developers (Star Fox Assault on the GameCube for example), but damn we're due for a new console Star Fox game.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why I'm Not Liking ABDC Season 6 So Far...

You may remember a while back I did episode recaps of ABDC on this blog, but I don't do them anymore. I have been watching the current season and so far I'm not liking it. I'll just get to the points right away.
  • If Its a Season of the Superstars, why did you already did all the big names in previous seasons. I understand its the current crop of artists in the game, but the show pretty much did everyone that changed the dance game. Let's see if I remember all the artist-specific challenges throughout the show's lifetime.
Season 1 - Michael Jackson
Season 2 - Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott
Season 3 - Britney Spears
Season 4 - Beyonce
Season 5 - Lady Gaga, Usher

So far, the artists that only made sense this season were Black Eyed Peas (the crowd interaction was kind of sick on that episode compared to most episodes) & likely Rihanna this week. Weezy & Ke$ha only episodes??? Really??? I know they have songs crews can dance to, but what have they done to the dance game? Sure, the same thing can be said for the other artists that have been used for the season, but if you're doing a "Season of the Superstars," at least do artists that actually matter in both music and dance. I wished MTV went back to the original format by doing random challenges again, but surely after five seasons they had to change things up again and sometimes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Oh, a Nicki Minaj week up soon??? WTH!!!! Actually, a Chris Brown week really makes sense now as I'm actually surprised they haven't done him yet especially early on in the competition

  • Voting system still feels inconsistent - still very popular contest-y
Throughout the course of the show, we seen crews getting peaced out earlier than they should because of the votes and crews staying when they deserve to get eliminated. Yeah, tapings are done in LA and hip-hop dance is pretty much a West Coast dominated thing, but please can we get someone from the other coast to win this thing for once. Honestly, this season has the biggest chance of that happening with Phunk Phenomenon being the crew to beat right now, but I have a sneaky feeling one of the remaining West Coast crews will take it. Let's be real people... Instant Noodles are not that good (especially compared to b-boy crews that were on the show and actually won the thing), but of course they're from SoCal and they're going to repped a lot in the votes no matter whether they do well or not. At the end of the day, the most versatile crew will win the whole thing (look at past crews that won it) so don't expect a "specific-style" crew like Street Kingdom to win it according to my observations of how the show goes which is why Phunk is my pick to win this season with I Am Me going 2nd.

  • Gimmicks!!!!!!
Another reason this show sometimes suffers is the concept of "gimmick" crews. I do give this season credit of getting rid of the gimmicks right away with that pole dancing crew, but shout outs to my man D-Trix (the new judge of this season) for putting these crews on blast when he has to. Even last week, I didn't mind him putting Iconic Boyz on blast with his comments because the "kids only crew gimmick" is starting to kick in. Even though I was on the bandwagon after their first performance, they fell off the radar to me. I don't see them winning the competition, but damn they're still doing a good job as I hope they shatter my "gimmick" view away. The same thing can be said for Street Kingdom to a certain extent, but krumping is a specific dance style and as voting went by, the viewers still don't understand krumping completely along with their BEP performance was not that good.

That's pretty much it regarding my dislikes for ABDC Season 6... I'm still gonna watch the rest of the season to see how things pan out, but good thing they took a year off as they should stick to that after this season is done. With all the big name crews we known for years making that big step and established themselves thanks to the show like Jabbawockeez having their own Vegas show, its pretty refreshing to see crews the dance world hasn't really been exposed to have their chance of stardom, which is one redeeming factor this season is interesting.