Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hands-On with WWE '12 from Summerslam Axxess

I got a chance to play the latest build of WWE '12 over at their Summerslam Axxess fan event last Saturday. THQ and Yuke's have been pumping out yearly games for over a decade, but recent years have been somewhat disappointing for the franchise as WWE '12 is being advertised as a "reboot" to start things over from scratch. Simulation aspects took over simple and fun gameplay especially when meters are everywhere on the screen to watch out for. In addition, animations have been janky for quite a while even though the developer Yuke's have been slowly improving those. From what I seen and played so far, WWE '12 is shaping up to be a return to the good days of the Smackdown games in the early 2000s.

One thing the WWE games have gotten right lately (not counting All-Stars) is the presentation, or in other words overall feel as seen in a normal WWE broadcast. For WWE '12, you'll see no HUD displayed at all when you're playing. No more meters to worry about as inputs would be displayed for reversals and signature/finisher moves when the opportunity comes. The core controls have returned to the face buttons especially grappling just like the last generation Smackdown games (Here Comes the Pain is the primary example as the THQ guys show off the new features in the clip below), which is a good thing. Sure, the animations haven't been fully improved yet as I noticed wrestlers glitching up like crazy (preview build folks!), but hopefully they're polished up in the final game. Another interesting gameplay mechanic is their comeback factor where it is an quicktime event where superstars string together moves to set up their finisher. An example of that if watch WWE programming on a regular basis is Cena's "five moves of doom" where he does two diving shoulder blocks, his signature back suplex slam (I don't know what is actually called), the Five Knuckle Shuffle which then sets up his Attitude Adjustment finisher. Signatures and finishers can be stored again, so for instance you can have Alberto Del Rio (who I tried out in the only match I played) have three cross arm breakers ready to go for the submission victory. Speaking of submissions, there's also a breaking point meter in which you can mash out if you're locked in a submission maneuver. Taking things back to the glory days of the franchise controls-wise is a great decision on the developers' part making the game faster and more fun to play.

Will WWE '12 live up to truly being bigger, badder, and better? We'll see when it comes out this November when an accurate roster of over 60 WWE superstars, some legends, and divas. THQ and Yuke's haven't really shown off some of the other modes in the game yet such as if certain match types are improved, the "career mode," and the customization features (even though Create-A-Arena is debuting in this game), so expect more about those soon. I like what I seen and played from the game so far despite some technical issues which can be easily fixed in the retail version. The pre-order bonus is none other than The Rock (his latest incarnation since he is facing John Cena at Wrestlemania next year), which seems questionable since he has been in every game, but you know Gamestop wants something enticing as a pre-order bonus. Plus, you can vote on who gets on the collector's edition cover between Cena and The People's Champion (which should be no contest with The Rock getting that one) as well. If I would get this game, I would definitely get the People's Edition for sure.

Music Video of the Day for 8/16/11

Lady Gaga - "You and I"

Since she decided to put it up herself after it got leaked earlier today, might as well post it here too. Mermaid Gaga is on the loose as she promised, but after coming a disappointing "Edge of Glory" video, this one is taking things back to normal Gaga standards with its mix of dancing and crazy.

Ulitmate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Sees STARS & Gets Strange...

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3's presence at Gamescom is showing off two more new characters in the game, which are Doctor Strange and Nemesis from the Resident Evil franchise. I'll talk about the two of them in a moment as the new overview trailer above does show some new moves for the existing characters, but you'll probably read or heard about them from the Comic-Con/Evo builds. Wolverine has his new Swiss Cheese move, which is a mash attack command, so Logan players better not mash so hard if they still want to do his bread and butter combo that is unchanged from vanilla. Crimson Viper gets an optic blast-like projectile which is basically Capcom saying here's your Cyclops in the game (more like a slap in the face of those who want Cyclops back in a versus game). Hulk gets a new chargeable Falcon Punch-like move, which reminds me of the charge moves from the Smash Bros. games (kind of weird to say Smash Bros. when I'm talking about Marvel lol). Also new in these trailers are more variations of existing games from vanilla such as a day version of the carrier stage and the Biotech lab all burned out.

Doctor Strange finally is a playable character in a Marvel game as he is shaping up to be a great character with a variety of tools at his disposal. His magical projectiles are pretty self-explanatory, has an OTG super, flight, a teleport, projectile counters (even a hyper projectile counter - he counters Akuma's air fireball hyper with his own beam), and a level 3 grab. As of now with his mobility and potential to zone characters out, Strange can hang with the best characters of the game (below average health might be a concern if you're not careful).

Nemesis is more of a character I would play in my main team as I usually like to have one character that can hit hard and has a lot of health. He seems to fit that slot for me with my Dorm and Akuma (assuming this combination is still viable in Ultimate) as point. Anyway, Nemesis is pretty much Capcom's "heavy" character (sorry, Tron doesn't count) that can easily kill opponents in one or two combos while taking a beating. He has attributes I like in a character: jump S ground bounces, good projectiles (rocket launcher/ Dorm dark hole assist for keep away for instance), good hypers (his combination one has super armor startup, his bazooka one OTGs, and a level 3 grab. All of this make it seem like he is scrub friendly like Hulk to a certain degree as tourney-level players will figure out ways to easily beat Nemesis. For now though, Nemesis is certainly on my list of new characters I would main.

Expect more UMvC3 stuff at this next weekend's New York City fight club event as hopefully these two characters will be there playable (Likely not) and of course next month's Tokyo Game Show for the next character reveal trailers. Here's more match footage of Doctor Strange and Nemesis in action below.

Clips from Gamescom for 8/16/11

Gamescom is off and popping over at Germany as conferences and new trailers keep showing up this morning. (I'm saving the UMvC3 and SFxT stuff for a separate post)

Borderlands 2 just got announced some weeks ago as Gearbox puts up a short teaser trailer. Expect more of this game at PAX at the end of the month or if you want to read up on what's new with this sequel, check out the Game Informer cover story.

Now with something up that is up my alley, SSX has also a presence at Gamescom. The new trailer reveals what to expect in the multiplayer department, which EA is doing big things. There is some ghost attack mode, social networking stuff seen in previous EA games, and global events with up to 100,000 players. That's cool and all, but as we see more of this game, the more its becoming like the SSX fans like me know and love. Its definitely a good start for 2012 when SSX comes out in January.

Even Capcom and Ninja Theory's DmC (Devil May Cry) reboot is at Gamescom and I'm still skeptical how this will turn out. At least I'm not as angry as the hardcore fans who still want more of the same Dante from the past four games, but I'm still giving it a chance. This is just gameplay footage of Dante slicing and shooting dudes, but it seems like Ninja Theory is getting closer and closer to getting the Dante they want right. DmC I think is coming out next year as we'll see more of it at the Tokyo Game Show next month.

The improved combat mehanics in Mass Effect 3 will make it a better shooter, but I'm still wandering about the "RPG elements" BioWare promised they'll bring back from the first game. They haven't shown or talked much of it recently, but I understand that you have to show a combat section to get casual fans excited. I probably should not question BioWare's approach of how to show off this game as I know it will be good when its out in March 2012.

As you probably know, I'm still on team Battlefield 3 as DICE shows off a different environment for a multiplayer map. As teased in previous trailers, airplanes are indeed in the game, which is obviously cool and expected for the franchise. Since I don't have a proper gaming PC, I didn't get to check out the alpha version of multiplayer some weeks back, but I can't wait to play the beta next month. According to the fact sheet, there are only nine maps in the final game, which is not that much, but the trade-off is their scale of how big they are. This also means downloadable map packs like no other too, so get ready to pony up a lot of spacebucks if you want more of those.

I'll have more from Gamescom throughout the week...