Friday, September 30, 2011

A Day Into the Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Beta...

The Battlefield 3 multiplayer beta finally came out for everyone (360, PS3, PC) yesterday and been enjoying it despite how limited it is. For those who don't know, this beta features one map and one mode, which are Operation Metro and Rush respectively. Rush mode has pretty much became the primary multiplayer game for the franchise as of late as the goals have been the same and a single match can take pretty long to finish. Basically the point of rush is that the attacking team has to destroy sets of MCOM stations to progress through the map while the defenders prevent them from doing so. The lives count will reset for the attackers back to 100 when they destroy one set of MCOMs. As a team-based mode, rush still works fine even though people just wanna play it as if its team deathmatch racking up lots of kills while people like me would rather go for the win getting the objectives done. The class system is still present here with assault, engineer, support, and recon classes to choose from as they have their own perks. Personally, I have been going with engineer since I like the assault rifle they give you for both sides (M4A1 with red dot sight for example when attacking).

From what I noticed so far, people do love to go abuse prone no matter which side they're on whether if they are sniping because they're rocking the recon class or just simply hiding from the opposition to surprise them. Most of the time you'll be wandering how you got killed because you didn't see it coming at all, which is expected for multiplayer shooters being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course in typical Battlefield fashion, there is a leveling up system to unlock more weapons, ribbons and awards to collect when achieving certain tasks, and so on if you played any AAA first-person shooter in recent memory. Performance wise, this beta definitely lives up the name of being a beta with weird glitches. Being stuck on the terrain, not jump vaulting when you're supposed to do so, certain controls stop working for a second or two, and texture pop-in are just some of the issues I noticed with the beta in one day so far. In addition, the game will sometime freeze whenever a PSN friend window pops off, which is infuriating too. Other than that, the Battlefield 3 beta still performs functionally with no framerate hitches (still 30 frames per second folks).

The beta ends on October 10 for everyone and PC folks can somehow play the Caspian Border map as well, which features some vehicles to mess around with (Operation Metro doesn't have vehicles at all). At least EA and DICE are finally able to get some version of Battlefield 3 to everyone's hands unlike a certain franchise that only did one beta (cough, Call of Duty, cough). Then again, they have been pushing out betas for all Battlefield games lately (the Bad Company games and this one) to test out online performance rather than fix exploiting tactics since the game is out on October 25. Shooter fans (no matter which team you're repping) should give it a shot before it ends in two weeks.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The New SSX Continues to Defy Reality...

If you don't know by now, the first quarter of 2012 starts off with a bang for me with the new SSX. Here's the newest trailer, which is pretty much just another montage of snowboarders launching off big ramps doing spin tricks like no other (and the occasional glide seen back in the debut trailer).

Saving The Internet Now On Blu-Ray... The Child of Eden (PS3) Review

Note - I haven't tried the Move controls myself or seen this version in 3D yet, so don't expect my exact thoughts on those.

Child of Eden has been out for several months on the Xbox 360 with Kinect support. Now the same spiritual successor to Rez, one of my favorite games of all-time, created by Q?Entertainment is out for the Playstation 3 with some added exclusive features that only the PS3 is capable of. Instead of Kinect, this version is also playable with the Playstation Move controller and its able to be displayed in 3D if you have a 3DTV. Other than that, its the same visual spectacle like the 360 version with amazing sound design as expected from the minds behind Rez, Lumines, and Space Channel 5. Luckily it is priced at 40 dollars compared to the standard retail price because of how short it is. PS3-only owners that want a new Move game and something beautiful to show off 3D technology should not pass Child of Eden up.

As a successor to Rez, Child of Eden plays and is structured like that masterpiece from beginning to end. The story may be weird at first, but pretty simple to understand. Lumi from Genki Rockets seems to be enjoying a normal day inside Eden until a virus corrupts the garden as it is up to you save Lumi and Eden, the internet in other words according to the game. Also similar to Rez, the game is five stages long and can be beaten in a hour or two. However, these five stages (archives in their words) are filled with amazing environments and colors containing different themes. These themes basically describe the stage names themselves as if they have more of a meaning than you think of once you play through them. An example of this is witnessing an evolution of a whale to a phoenix in the coincidentally called evolution archive. Other environments players transverse from range from a garden to an industrial-like setting filled with themed sound effects.

The core on-rails shooter gameplay hasn't changed significantly from Rez, but the difference in Child of Eden is having two types of main weapons to take out enemies. The blue lock-on laser is what we seen from Rez, but the purple tracer is a rapid fire laser that is essential to survival being the only way to avoid enemy fire. Even though the majority of enemies can be taken out by lock-on, some enemies have to be destroyed by the tracer before they fire purple balls for damage as if its something straight out of Ikaruga. There is also the all clear weapon called the euphoria that can be used especially in certain situations like avoiding damage. Boss battles are also a plenty as well, which are not that hard to defeat. Even though Child of Eden can be beaten in a single sitting, it is harder than Rez the first time through even on normal difficulty. My only problem with the campaign structure is if you don't get a high enough rank in certain archives, you have to play them again at least one more time to unlock the later archives. Speaking of ranking, Child of Eden's scoring system is way different than Rez where keeping in sync with the beat of the music by perfect octa-locks is the key to get high scores. Percentage of purification is also another factor with scoring as taking out every enemy in a level is crucial to getting more than three stars.

As I mentioned before, the major additions to the PS3 version of Child of Eden are Move controls and 3D support. At first, two Move controllers would be required to play due to the Kinect controls requiring both hands to play. It turns out that one Move controller is enough as you still lock-on with the pointer and then flick your wrist to fire. The tracer is mapped to the Move's trigger button as you hold it down while pointing at the screen to eliminate enemy fire while euphoria is a simple Move button press compared to having both hands in the air on Kinect for the 360 version. The standard controller still works fine if you played Rez before as both control options have their advantages and weaknesses. Unfortunately, I personally haven't tried the Move controls because I don't have a Move controller to give a full opinion of how they feel compare to playing it with a controller, but whenever I get one, I'll update the review with my thoughts. The same thing goes for the game having 3D support as I haven't seen the game on a 3DTV yet.

As expected for a spiritual successor to Rez, Child of Eden is a visual, beautiful spectacle as the graphics are simply amazing. Diverse environments throughout the five stages, some FMV-like cutscenes with Lumi, and runs at a smooth, consistent 60 frames per second. Sometimes, there might be too much going on with the game screen in certain areas to the point you'll miss an enemy to get 100% purification, but it is a matter of being quick with the lock-on and recognizing patterns even though it is a minor gripe. There are a ton of Rez references from certain bosses and sound effects too. The sound design is no slouch either considering its Q? Entertainment, masters of implementing rhythm into multiple genres. Even though its just Genki Rockets songs throughout the game, the way they were implemented is what makes Child of Eden that special. If that band is not your cup of tea, then you'll probably pass on this game even though personally its tolerable for anyone to enjoy and listen to.

There is arguably nothing like Child of Eden especially in the current generation of consoles. As a successor to Rez, it definitely lives up to the title even though of course it is not as groundbreaking. Comparing whether or not it is better than Rez is another story to be debated on a later time, but I'm still glad Rez lives on with Child of Eden. In addition, its another game that makes the whole "games as art" category since it is one beautiful, visual spectacle (or some would say a crazy visualizer). The game's length is obviously short and can be beaten in a hour or two, but there is enough replay value from an unlockable harder difficulty, a bonus challenge level, other collectables to get, and online leaderboards if you want to get compete for high scores. The PS3 version's Move controls and 3D support might be enough to be the better version, but you can make an argument for the 360 version being cheaper now and having Kinect support. Child of Eden seems catered for a niche crowd having that sleeper hit identity, but it is one immersive experience players can't miss out on since its now out for both 360 and PS3.

Score = 9/10

  • As a spiritual successor to Rez, it definitely lives up that title
  • Another amazing, beautiful, visual spectacle by Q? Entertainment
  • Still one of the best in the biz regarding sound design - superb implementation of Genki Rockets songs
  • Move controls/3D support
  • Even though you can breeze through the game with skills from Rez, the scoring system is deeper than you think once you get the timing of perfect octa-locks down.
  • Enough replay value for players to keep going despite how short it is.
  • As similar to Rez, the game is pretty short (a hour or two long)
  • Campaign structure could of been better since you have to replay levels again to unlock later levels because of performing well ranking-wise when you're playing the campaign the first time through.

EA's Syndicate Reboot + Skrillex = A Cool Debut Trailer

The long awaited Syndicate reboot by EA has been known for a while, but finally the interwebs get the read and see what it is all about. Yeah, its another shooter with RPG elements (Oh wait that's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is the obvious comparison as of late, but less brown), but count on Starbreeze to deliver the goods since they know what's up with shooters for years. Plus, you might as well add some dubstep to your debut trailer to get people excited too (how fitting its a completely new Skrillex song called "Syndicate" - nice one EA). There should be a ton of previews rolling out now in all the major game sites if you want to know more about Syndicate, which is slated to come out on February 21, 2012 for the 360 PS3, and PC.

Some New Last Guardian Footage...

One of the biggest no shows at this year's Tokyo Game Show was Sony's The Last Guardian, the next game from the developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The HD collection featuring the two games I just mentioned came out this week and it looks like this extra trailer for this new game is from the disc. Most of the footage is what we seen already, but there's some new stuff as well. The Last Guardian is still on track for a release sometime next year.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Battlefield 3 Has 99 Problems, But a B**** Ain't One...

The full ad for Battlefield 3 came out today featuring Jay-Z's "99 Problems" and its pulling no punches that they want you to get this over Call of Duty: MW3 just by the usage of air quotes. I already said many times this game looks amazing and now everyone will be able to try it out with this week's multiplayer beta release. Its out Tuesday for Origin folks and owners of the Medal of Honor Limited Edition. Everyone else gets it on Thursday on PC, Playstation Store, and the Xbox Live Marketplace till the beta ends on October 10. Expect my hands-on impressions of that soon as Battlefield 3 is less than a month away folks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tekken Tag Tournament 2's 1st Week at Japan...

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 finally came out at Japanese arcades last week despite the Tokyo Game Show and also Super Battle Opera going on around the same time. Direct feed footage has been starting to roll out as of late on various YouTube channels, but don't expect too much gameplay-wise since the final version of the game is only been out for a week. The final boss in this game is no surprise being Unknown taking place in the stage above, but the difference this time is you have to beat Jun one round first in a more peaceful version of the stage seen before she transforms to Unknown. Besides Jun returning into Tekken, boss characters True Ogre from Tekken 3 and Jinpachi from the Tekken 5 games return in Tag 2, but of course they are slightly altered from their boss incarnations in their respective games (don't expect cheap sheninegans from those two, but Unknown does have Jinpachi and Azazel's stun move). Jaycee is not that new of a character in Tag 2 since she's basically Julia in a luchador-like mask and Heihachi is young again with black hair, but other than that, all of Tekken 6's roster is in with no surprise inclusions for now.

A mix of new and old stages are also present in Tekken Tag 2 as the old stages are not exactly the same, but remade for this new iteration such as Moonlit Wilderness above and the Snow Castle from Dark Resurrection. Those remade stages also get new remixes as well as the Namco Bandai did another great job with the soundtrack as Tekken games usually have good music. Some say some stages feel like a dance party even diving into dubstep territory. The graphics are definitely improved even though at its core its a better looking Tekken 6, but its the little details with the characters that count. For instance, the character models will get wet and dirty when fighting at stages involving water and mud (even the purple goo stuff in the final stage). Hit effects still look and sound the same from Tekken 6 though and that is not a bad thing along with the announcer as well.

Of course, the big question still remains whether or not certain U.S. arcades will get Tekken Tag Tournament 2. The cabinet is easily one of the most expensive cabs to buy and the system (with the ranking and replays) won't be working even though the developers are figuring out ways to implement it if it comes out stateside. I heard rumors about location tests at various U.S. spots concerning that, but don't expect a huge number of places getting it. Fortunately, Southern California is a hotspot for Tekken machines over the years with numerous places within minutes of each other having Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion (Round 1, Super Arcade, Video 94), so I think Tekken Tag 2 will still find its way somehow in SoCal arcades in the near future (maybe in the coming months?). Round 1 would be the likely spot for the game since they can probably afford it easily compared to Vid and Super even though games are probably will cost a buck for the first months, which will obviously suck but expected for a new game like that).

Its still early to judge how the gameplay pans out with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 once players figure out the tag assault system, where its up to your imagination to come up with some good BnB combos, how netsu is being handled in this version (I think this game's version of rage as your partner gains it if your current character is halfway dead), and of course which teams dominate tiers-wise. I'll probably come back to this topic in a month or two to see how things changed since launch week. Whenever this comes out at a nearby arcade, you'll know I'll be there in a heartbeat messing around for weeks and months.

How Good is Drive?? Its That Good...

I rarely talk about movies these days on my blog, but watching Drive last weekend is the exception. There are brilliantly made movies and then there are just entertaining movies. Drive is simply one of the best complete movies I seen in a while from the execution of how the scenes were made and a style of filmmaking that does not have to resort to fanciness, special effects in other words, to make things work. It is also a rare beauty to see how limited dialogue can be so effective in a movie like this, specifically with the protagonist played by Ryan Gosling (a driver of few words, but knows how to get his job done), and various shots throughout the movie selling the main points beautifully well. Even if it is just a shot of Gosling driving around with a toothpick on his mouth, you get a sense of his emotions before crazy stuff goes down. Drive can not for everyone as the movie starts slow establishing the characters for certain audiences that wants insanity to happen every minute, but its not like that. When the action does begin to take place though, that is when the movie hits hard in a good way. The violence looks and feels brutal when done, yet there is a sense of art when it comes to these scenes because most of the time scenes like these in today's movies feel overblown. Drive makes violence feel real and gritty and the same goes for the car chases as well, which surprisingly there is not a lot of. The car chases didn't resort to movie logic to make them look cool, especially the beginning scene (you can see a part of it above) where sometimes making a scene in a city like Los Angeles is not the solution for escaping the cops. Then there's the amazing soundtrack, which also makes the movie feel special with its 80s vibe.

Last year, I had a similar reaction to another brilliantly made movie with The Social Network, another movie I didn't expect it would be good because of the whole "its a movie about Facebook" feeling, but word of mouf from reviews and the staff/cast involved made the movie the hit it was. Drive is different because its a thriller as it was also a movie I didn't expect much other than being just another action movie with cars thrown to the mix. It is more than that as it is a complete movie from beginning to end filled with amazingly made scenes that make it feel like art at times (especially with simple shots of the driver and fly overs of Los Angeles). The great 80s-like soundtrack is also another memorable selling point as well such as the song above that plays in the intro. The simple plot and pacing issues may irk some people, but Drive is my favorite film of the year so far and worth my highest recommendation watching it at the theaters.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another Week... Another Battlefield 3 Trailer

Last week was a teaser for Operation Guillotine in Battlefield 3 as today is the extended version for that. There is some new footage in this nighttime level, but not much with another ambush like previous trailers ending the clip. I'm still wandering if the beta is even coming out at all at this rate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

DmC at TGS - Just Deal with the new Dante already

DmC, Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot, is also at the Tokyo Game Show and this rate people just have to deal with the fact that the new Dante exists rather than continue to complain. The game continues to look fine as Dante now has some grappling mechanic for platforming segments and there will be boss battles against huge creatures. It is still coming out next year and we'll see if this can shut the critics up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 TGS Blowout...

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is at the Tokyo Game Show as not only the console versions are being shown off, but also the Playstation Vita version, which is confirmed to be released at the system's Japanese launch on December 17. The Vita version will be identical to the console versions in terms of graphics and gameplay, but the touch controls make it unique (perhaps activate X-Factor by touch for example). Multiplayer does allow cross-platform play between PS3 and Vita players from what I read, which is cool along with multiple Vitas as well. There's still a possibility of a Vita-exclusive character for this version, but if Cole from Infamous is in Street Fighter X Tekken, the same might be the case for UMvC3. One thing I'm hopeful for between PS3/Vita versions is the DLC working for both systems. In other words, I have to buy the alternate costumes or perhaps new characters once and it will work for both versions rather than double dip. Its no surprise UMvC3 is coming to the Vita, but let's move on to the latest character reveals.

Vergil from Devil May Cry 3 finally makes an appearance in a fighting game and I'm been excited about his inclusion since the initial announcement leak. Right from this reveal trailer, he definitely fits in the world of UMvC3 with his playstyle and moveset. Pretty much most of his moves from DMC3 are in this game along with his voice as well (still voiced by The Phantom Ranger himself Dan Southworth). From his Judgement Cuts (the multiple versions from the last DMC3 boss fight as a hyper move), Summoned Swords that basically puts Strider-Hiryu's orbs to shame at this rate, teleports, and his devil trigger, Capcom did a great job making Vergil a monster in this game. Plus, he's easier to play compared to Dante execution-wise, so you won't have a hard time nailing his crazy combos unlike Dante's bolt cancels. You'll see me rocking Vergil right away on my main team.

On the Marvel side, Iron Fist also makes his first appearance in a fighting game and already making a good impression right away. He looks to be someone that hits hard when given the opportunity, so get ready to eat big damage combos involving lots of moves that have either wall or ground bounce effects. Also retaining signature to his character, he has chi abilities that temporarily boost his stats for a bit (similar to Dormammu's power of the destructor/creator move). I can also see him being a beast among high tier teams in the future, so don't underestimate him for now.

I think the Rocket Raccoon & Phoenix Wright trailers will be up later this week, so stay tuned for those. In the meantime, the match videos featuring Iron First and Vergil are below. As of now, my main team can be best friends forever/Vergil (Wolverine/Vergil/Akuma), or Wolverine/Vergil/Sentinel. We'll see with that on November 15.

Another Fighting Game Franchise Returns in 2012

Dead or Alive 5 is finally happening since its been six years since the last game. I enjoyed DOA4 for what it was at the time and its definitely a different paced fighting game compared to the rest of the field. This is however the first DOA under the new Team Ninja, so who knows if they can maintain the same quality Itagaki had with the franchise (fans are not happy with how Ninja Gaiden III is shaping up so far). As long as this game sticks to their strengths, mainly their signature counter system and dynamic stages (which are no slouch in this early footage), it will be fine at the end of the day. Hopefully this will get be a tournament scene going again, but I'm doubting that for now. Ryu Hayabusa and Hayate are the confirmed characters so far and yes, this trailer does lack the other main thing(s) the series has been known for, but we'll see it soon enough since it is coming late next year. I'm ready to give the DOA franchise another chance, and maybe others too.

Speaking of Ninja Gaiden III, the TGS trailer for that is below. As a fan of the modern games, I'm still hopeful it will be turn out good, but you never know.

Max Payne 3 Rises from the Dead

We haven't heard much about Max Payne 3 in months, but the game finally rises back from the dead as Rockstar Games released the first official trailer for this long awaited sequel. Max has definitely been through a lot as this entry seems to take place years after the second game. He still does shave his head bald as shown in teasers long ago and bullet time is still intact. Max Payne 3 will be released on March 2012 and I hope it continues Rockstar's roll with the current generation of consoles (Red Dead, LA Noire being huge successes for them).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Street Fighter X Tekken Gets All Purple...

 The TGS reveals for Street Fighter X Tekken keeps on rolling as a new trailer shows off new significant details. There hasn't much information about the storyline other than Street Fighter and Tekken characters beating each other up, but now a twist that is full of purple gets thrown in with the addition of Pandora. As if the game didn't need any sort of comeback mechanic, Pandora mode fills in that void like X-Factor in the MvC3 games. This time your character turns purple and gets a strength boost for a limited time, but it costs all your partner's health in a match. My question is that it should have its own meter like how ultras how used in the Street Fighter IV games, but can be it used once per round or once per match (hopefully the latter). Basically its a slight variant of X-Factor with a color change and different purposes. The instant reaction is oh great, X-Factor now in this game?!?!? However, we'll see whether or not its a big game changer like X-Factor has been in MvC3 when the final game is out.

The trailer also shows off Rolento, Zangief, Lili, and Heihachi in action. Heihachi is not in his Tekken Tag 2 form as he is still rocking the gray hair. Rolento finally makes an appearance in the modern era of fighting games (last seen in Capcom vs. SNK 2), so that's nice to see him back in action on a Street Fighter game. Lili and Zangief are what you expect out of them from their respective games. Scramble mode gets introduced as well allowing the true 2v2 battle to unfold with all four characters on the screen (this is also playable online with four different characters played by four different players).  This is probably not going to be used in tournaments, but I guess its fun to mess around with it seeing what crazy possibilities players come up with. Also finally appearing for the first time is online training mode, which you can enable fight requests like in the SF4 games while messing around in training mode. This is arguably a long time coming for something like that to happen in the genre for a while as hopefully more games implement that.

Street Fighter X Tekken continues to surprise casual and tournament level players with the numerous additions they added in recent months. Hopefully Pandora mode is a worthy comeback mechanic, but as history says, people will find a way to exploit and make others complain how broken it is. Additionally, maybe some pros can get hands-on with it at the show floor and know what the deal is from their view. There's still plenty of character reveals left (half of the roster is there) and some notable Tekken guys that should be in, but not confirmed yet as the game is still on track for a February/March 2012 release.

UPDATE - According to Capcom-Unity, activating Pandora mode does mean a strength boost, but if the time limit ends, you're dead too. Looks like Seth Killian is right about being more of a gamble than a comeback mechanic.

More gameplay footage of the new characters below...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Looks Like I'm Hype for Skyward Sword Again... (plus 3DS Conference recap)

I have said on numerous occasions that I haven't been excited for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Then again, I still have my Wii around with not a lot of disc games left and at this rate I might as well get it on its November 20 release. A lot of new details are getting revealed in the coming weeks from the Game Informer cover story to tonight's Nintendo "3DS-heavy" conference (I'll recap it below). Shigeru Miyamoto comes in classic form busting out the Master Sword and Hylian Shield to hype fans up as he shows off new footage from Skyward Sword. I expressed my disappointments with Twlight Princess before and even though they're not doing changes to the core formula, it might be the little things that are making me hop on back to the hype train again. Nintendo just announced how this Zelda title will have crazy amounts of replay value (50 to 100 hours! Probably overblown comment for now) from the usual sidequests, a 2nd quest (haven't seen that in a Zelda game since OOT Master Quest), and a boss rush mode (which debuted in OOT 3D). We'll still see if I still get this game considering I'll be going H.A.M. in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (saving Skyrim for December and been on a blackout with that game not seeing any footage till the game releases), but Nintendo somehow always find a way to get me excited about their games again.

There isn't really much to say about Nintendo's Japanese 3DS conference last night other than Iwata "dropping the bomb" that is the Monster Hunter franchise. In case you don't know, Monster Hunter is pretty much Japan's "Call of Duty." I don't mean that its their shooter to play, but its basically Japan's most popular franchise right now which everyone plays as Call of Duty is stateside. After getting leaked last week in Japanese magazines, the dreaded second pad is coming with Monster Hunter Tri 3G in December. It will also support other games in the future such as Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D and the 3DS Kingdom Hearts game. Iwata's bombshell however is not just one Monster Hunter game but two games as it looks like Nintendo is able to get Capcom to announce Monster Hunter 4 for their handheld, which is pretty big for Japanese audiences. Who knows how exclusive it is on the 3DS, whether is fully to the platform or a timed exclusive eventually appearing on the Playstation Vita (we'll probably find out on SCEJ's conference tonight our time and whatever Vita goodies they have in store for fans). Nintendo did show off their first party lineup from Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus (delayed to 2012 now), and a new Animal Crossing game, but its pretty much them sticking to what works on handhelds than consoles which are those games with Kid Icarus being an exception (or in many people's view Sin & Punishment 3 with a playable Pit and tons of AR card support). A new Fire Emblem game was announced for the 3DS and other third parties like Square-Enix announced original IPs for the system, but fans pretty much expected new games and got them. At least at Japan, Nintendo's solution to make the 3DS not a failure as people have been claiming so far is bringing in the country's #1 franchise exclusive to their platform and that's basically what sums up this conference.

Another Beta Full of Stabbing Dudes... Hands-On with the Assassins Creed: Revelations MP Beta

Let's get this out of the way from the get go: I'm not really that into the Assassins Creed franchise, but I'm still glad it exists as it definitely has its fanbase. Another year means another game as Assassins Creed: Revelations is on track for a November 15 release, but like the last game, a multiplayer beta was released way before its release for people to try out. Brotherhood pretty much established the core concepts of the series' multiplayer modes as it was something unique for the time compared to your everyday first-person shooter. Usually stealth-based multiplayer games don't get the attention they deserve because of the fact you have to effectively use stealth to have a chance of winning. This was the case in another famed Ubisoft franchise, which is the Splinter Cell series as its multiplayer was unique in its time, but never got the attention it deserved because people rather play something like Halo. Brotherhood basically made stealth-based multiplayer cool again and Relevations hopes to improve its faults from last time to make it something that last a while competing with other multiplayer juggernauts that are this holiday season. Even though the beta period ended and I didn't have as much time as Playstation Plus owners had, Ubisoft released the beta to everyone on its last days and I still had a good time once I was able to get the basics down.

In case you're not familiar with the concept, if I had to sum it up in a nutshell, you're basically sneaking around killing your contracts while trying to avoid opposing players assassinating you. The more stealthy you are with these kills, the more points you'll score in a match. Since the game is more about score than just reaching a certain killcount within a time limit, it is all about killing effectively while preventing others from killing you. Most of the traits and tactics from the single player game apply in multiplayer where you get more points in a kill if you're unseen from your contract, using the crowd to your advantage, and so on. The maps in this beta are quite small and in the same setting, meaning more opportunities to kill your contracts. There are ways to avoid pursuers from killing you such as stunning them if they don't see you, otherwise you'll get a honorable death (some points as they get less points since it is a contested kill), or baiting them to kill civilians. In other words, its pretty much a game of hide and seek, but you're always in danger as someone can sneak up and kill you even from the air as they jump from rooftops.

The modes are your typical conventions seen in other multiplayer games with an Assassins Creed twist. Deathmatch is pretty self-explanatory, but the team modes are quite interesting takes on your standard modes. Manhunt is a round-based variant of team deathmatch as one team pursues the other and they switch off. Arifact hunt is their version of capture the flag, so that's self-explanatory as well. The team based games often have multiple contracts to kill, so your radar of finding them is easier compared to free for all deathmatch games. Also as expected in modern multiplayer games these days, there are loadouts and perks to mess around with catering to your playstyle and a leveling up system to unlock more of those goodies along with getting awards if certain tasks were done earning more experience points. At least you when first start out, you have to play a mandatory tutorial to get accustomed with the modes, which is a nice thing to have especially for newcomers like me.

Even though I'm not that good at the game, I enjoyed my short time with the Assassins Creed: Relevations multiplayer beta in the past several days. It feels refreshing to play a multiplayer game that requires different skill and mindsets unlike your everyday shooter. Patience pays off extraordinarily well in a game like this where it is all about effectively killing your opponents, or in other words, quality over quantity in this case. If you're into a different, methodically paced multiplayer game, Assassins Creed: Relevations is worth diving into and of course there's a lengthy campaign as well in which you continue the adventures of Ezio (maybe Altair too?) in the conclusion to his story arc.

Street Fighter X Tekken at TGS

A new cinematic trailer for Street Fighter X Tekken showed up on the interwebs this morning featuring Bob and newly confirmed to be playable Rufus. It was only a matter of time these two would become bitter rivals in one game considering they have similar qualities. Also likely confirmed to be another fighter in the game is Marshall Law since the clip takes place inside his restaurant. However, these two won't be playable at this week's Tokyo Game Show (another disappointing show as far as certain games being no shows are concerned), but characters revealed from teaser trailers that have been released for the past couple of weeks, mainly Rolento, Zangief, Lili, and Heihachi, will be there in some form.

UPDATE - Here's a montage of Rolento and Heihachi's super moves in action.

Expect more stuff from TGS later this week.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Everyone's Favorite New Game to Watch = Multiplayer Catherine?

Stream monsters' favorite new game to watch is apparently multiplayer Catherine. Keep in mind that you have to beat the game once just to unlock this mode, but surprisingly there is high level play found along with some crazy hype. This crazy hype came from the Super NorCal Install tournament last weekend, anime games only tournament (Blazblue CS II, Guilty Gear, Arcana Heart 3, and this game) and was streamed by FinestKo. Who of thought Catherine would get fighting game levels of hype and so much exposure for its multiplayer since the campaign is what the game is all about. I never seen push blocking this intense and the strategy of item usage is interesting to see. According to the NorCal Catherine scene, some stages are banned due to their stage designs, but among the heavily picked stages are Torture Chamber (the trap block level), The Quadrangle (the ice block level), Clock Tower (bomb level), and Spiral Corridor (the black hole block level). They promise to stream as much of this crazy mode as possible as long as the fans demand it.

Another new Battlefield 3 Teaser...

EA and DICE released another campaign teaser for Battlefield 3 called Operation Guillotine, a nightly urban level. The beta might be coming sooner than we all think, which is as early as next week (probably at least on PC, but hopefully on consoles). If it shows on the PS3, I'll give some impressions of it then.

Friday, September 2, 2011

MW3 vs. BF3 Rages On...

The Call of Duty XP convention starts today and lasts for the duration of this weekend as I still wander why this exists at all. Yeah I'm one of those people in the camp of does Call of Duty really deserve its own convention? Well, at least it is an excuse for them to show off Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer this time to the whole world (press and XP attendees) starting with the trailer above. Its just another "that's Call of Duty" trailer in a nutshell while hardcore fans will notice what is new with the multiplayer. The only thing I'm looking forward to in this CoD XP event is the Kanye West performance, which I wander how much Activision ponied up to get that to happen. Then again, I won't be surprised if The Throne (Yeezy & Jay-Z) comes out instead.

If you're someone like me on Team Battlefield, then you're excited for Battlefield 3 as EA and DICE released a new trailer for the Physical Warfare Pack. Sure, its another retailer exclusive DLC when the game comes out at the end of next month, but like most retailer exclusives, they'll eventually become free DLC later down the road. Other than that, I think this is still the better game to get. From the beautiful graphics, the menacing sound effects, and crisp gameplay, I can't wait for BF3 to take the FPS crown this fall. I'm still wandering when the multiplayer beta will start sometime this month even if it requires some bs way to get it.