Out with ‘Scarface’, in with ‘God Hand’

It’s so on. I finally got my copy of Capcom’s kooky smashmouth opus today, practically within minutes of filing the “Scarface” review for LANG’s disgestion. My quick take on “Scarface” — I had fun with it, but I probably would have liked it a lot more if it came out two years ago. Like most people, I’ve already built enough virtual criminal empires and did enough dirt to last me several digi-gangsta lifetimes. I’ve even run out of fake liquor to pour out for my fallen virtual street soldiers.

Now comes “God Hand,” which is just the kind of game I need for this week. I’m working on some stuff for a special section for the Sun and Bulletin, which means not a lot of time for deep gaming.

Deep ain’t the word that jumps to mind for “God Hand” — all you do is beat up people in spectacular fashion. Mayor Young of All Games said it didn’t do much for him at E3. We shall see — I’ll haul it to the Arena Lounge on Friday.

Oh, and Electronic Arts is holding an event with Tiger Woods tomorrow, so I’ll check that out and snap some photos if I can, since I finally have a freakin’ phone that can take pictures now. Speaking of EA, plenty of people have put up YouTube videos pointing out the, uh, apparent bumps in the game. We talked a little about this on AGI, but I didn’t know the hate was quite this bad.

Tony Montana is in my house

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Picked up my copy of “Scarface: The World Is Yours,” a game that I felt a lot of people want to instantly categorize as a GTA ripoff. My view is this — as long as a game rips off the right stuff and/or does some of the same stuff better, I’m not going to be too quick to judge.

I’m going to try and see how the “kingpin” lifestyle dynamic plays out — I can allegedly hire henchmen and assassins to take care of loose ends, as opposed to simply riding in a car with a group of randomly recruited thugs. Plus, I get to check out virtual Miami.

And I will admit — controlling Tony Montana can be a plus, since he really is a one-of-a-kind character who helped reshape the contemporary gangster kingpin image.

We’ll see. Games like this get hurt by stuff dealing with execution — animation, controls, collision detection, flow — if there are too many nasty quirks, like with “Just Cause,” this game could be toast.

Site of the seven wounds

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Not exactly, but a parody of “Fist of the North Star” is what I keep thinking of whenever I see pics and trailers about “God Hand,” Capcom’s newest beat-em-down game that’s emerging on the PS2.

Capcom announced the launch of the Web site today, loaded with screenshots, character bios and other sorts of goodies. I first heard about the game over vacation, when I saw some stuff on GameTrailers — especially some of the machinegun punching and someone getting batted into the stratosphere (complete with the “star twinkle” effect at the end). There’s also a move called the “ball buster” which really doesn’t need much explaining.

You play someone who posseses a “God Hand,” a glove-like weapon that essentially gives the user godlike power and the ability to lay down some righteous smack. The game is made by Clover Studios, which is the same house that brought us “Okami.”

It’s actaully shaping up to be a pretty solid few months for Capcom — “Dead Rising,” “Okami,” “God Hand” and “Lost Planet,” which is another title that holds a lot of promise. And with “DMC 4″ gaining buzz — Capcom’s looking clutch.

Hilary Duff can be yours

Smiley starlet Hilary Duff (and her Chihuahua) are going to be appearing in EA’s “The Sims 2 Pets,” for the PS2, GameCube, DS and a PC expansion pack. It’s her video game debut, and I give her an edge over Paris Hilton, because Hilary at least knows the name of the game she’s in.

As you’d guess, you can pal around with Duff and her dog as they roam Central Park, at least in the console version.

However, PC players can also download virtual Hilary, and she’ll become a playable character, capable of doing the same stuff other Sims can do. She’ll be downloadable from Oct. 17 through Dec. 31.

Think about that — Hilary Duff at the command of gamers. In the wrong hands, the possibilities for evil could be endless.

More Latino heat from Eidos

For those who didn’t get a chance to experience “Just Cause” and all of its flamenco guitar playing splendor, Eidos announced “Chili Con Carnage” (what, “Carnage Asada” was taken?), a third-person action shoot-em-up for the PlayStation Portable. The game is set for a spring 2007 release.

The hero is a dude named Ramiro Cruz, who’s out to avenge his dad’s death by unleashing hell on the drug cartel and the boss who killed him. The appeal here is in the game’s delivery — it’s meant to be an over-the-top, humorous gun party, so you’ll have a truckload of weapons, as well as “spicy, gravity-defying” moves. Which is good, since I was getting a little tired of the mild, not-so-spicy moves. Let’s change things up.

Oh, and there’s exploding chickens in this game — which I’m actually really interested in seeing. Perhaps there could some advertising opportunities for El Pollo Loco, Baja Fresh and Chipotle.

Here are a few shots:

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Whoa — they weren’t kidding about the whole spicy moves thing. They’re real. Spicy moves are real.

Feeling unrighteous — random thoughts on ‘Just Cause’

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I have a few issues with “Just Cause” for the 360, and apparently, I’m not alone. I was one of the people who actually enjoyed what the demo had to offer, mostly because — well, it’s a demo, so there’s a part of me that always thinks the final product will be much better.

Yeah … not the case here. I’ll start off with the stuff I like. Visually, I think it could be better, but I don’t think it’s the eyes-bleeding experience some people are making it out to be. After seeing the woefully underwhelming “X-Men” for the 360, perhaps I’m a little more generous than the average critic.

I like the concept of the stunts. Being able to hop from one moving vehicle to another, or jump off a bike as it sails off a cliff (and gliding down with a parachute) is just plain sweet. I can even latch onto helicopters. It made me feel a little bit like an action-hero cariciature of the ’80s, the uber-soldier who could do just about anything. Rico (the hero of the game) is a like a Latino version of Vin Diesel’s “XXX” character crossed with the guy in the El Pollo Loco commercials.

However, another side effect of the ’80s action star is the “one-man-army” corollary, where one guy and a lot of ammo can manage to massively de-populate the armed ranks of a small country BY HIMSELF. Part of this ownage is because the hero is supposed to be so damn good — and the other part is that most of the people trying to kill him are so inept. They exist only to be cut down in a hail of gunfire. Think “Rambo” or even our governor in “Commando” — and you have an idea of the “Just Cause” gunplay.

It was harder to kill the zombies in “Dead Rising” than the swarms of armed militia and corrupt police in this game. You get hooked up with a simple crosshair HUD, but once it gets remotely near someone, it “locks on” for you — then all you have to do is pull the trigger. If there’s a cluster of guys together, just put the crosshairs near them and then fire away. They’ll fall like dominoes. Ridiculously easy. You can take out 100 guys on your lunch break.

And you’ll have to, since it seems that while driving, one innocuous tap of a random vehicle can seem to get you into the kind of trouble where you have to dodge cartel members, soldiers and cops all day. That’s annoying. What am I going to do, sit behind the slow, ragged truck on the dirt road so I don’t risk hitting anyone?

Other thoughts …

One more thing about the enemy solidiers — they can’t shoot. At all. I can count on one hand the times Rico has actually died from enemy bullets when I was at the helm.

Rico runs funny. I’m not sure what’s wrong with him, but I can’t think of any human being that runs like that without having some kind of injury.

Is it physically possible to to pull off the “stunt position” move out of a car in real life? Is Rico part elf?

I like it when missiles come out of nowhere to blow me out of the sky. Especially when I can’t see them because of the sun. I also like playing “find the first aid kit” when a new safehouse is open.

Liberation gets a lot easier when you unlock the truck for the heavy drop. Simply have it delivered in front of the settlement, start the liberation, get into the truck and just start firing missiles. Freedom is yours.

The official review for the paper comes out this week. Be excellent to each other.