Review: Metroid – Other M

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Samus Aran isn’t supposed to need anyone. Ever since she let her hair down decades ago in one of gaming’s watershed moments (“what? Samus is a girl?”), she has been the quiet and revered standard-bearer for strong, female lead characters. She needed no rescuing and wasn’t prone to inner monologues about stars, life or making people happy. She didn’t wish for love or try to counter her femininity by acting macho.

Basically, she was just damn good in that awesome, alien-killing armor of hers.

At least, that’s what I and others want to believe — some of this imagery, in a way, is our fault. With other female lead characters grunting, bouncing their chests and splattering bits of sex appeal on everyone’s screens, many fans who’ve known Samus since the original Metroid have crafted a mental ideal around her minimalist nature. With her cloudy past, abundance of weapons and gadgets and her reputation as a bonafide ass kicker, she’s almost like an intergalactic Batman.

And this is where Metroid: Other M becomes both a satisfying and confusing experience. The gameplay says one thing about this legendary heroine, while the storytelling says something completely different — and sad. Team Ninja succeeds in taking Samus to new action heights, but I can’t shake the feeling that the mystique that made Samus so appealing in the past has been damaged.
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Review: Prince of Persia – The Forgotten Sands (X360)

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When the Prince of Persia’s big screen debut arrived, many were expecting the inevitable game tie-in. Well, there was a game, but it didn’t tie into the movie as much as it rode on its marketing coattails. Instead, while it does have one or two ties to the film such as the Prince’s new duds, it followed its own sandy path as an old school reminder of where it had started from on consoles by going back to the basics.
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Review: Halo Reach

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Everyone might know how many of the battles in WW2 ended, but that didn’t matter to gamers seeing it through the lens of countless RTS titles re-enacting famous confrontations to the glut of first-person shooters taking them to the beaches of Europe and the Pacific. The same can also be said for the story behind the prequel of Halo: Reach – at least to the fans that read the books.

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Review: Mafia II

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By Brittany Vincent
Contributing Writer

I’ve spent plenty of time with Grand Theft Auto, inFAMOUS, and other similar excursions — except I’ve done nothing but harm innocent pedestrians and wreck countless cars while racking up an indeterminable amount of property damage. As a result, I didn’t bother to finish them.

The reason Mafia II works for me was because it was nothing like the go-anywhere-and-do-anything romp I assumed it would be. Like its predecessor, Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (one of the few similar games I did complete and a fantastic play), it’s a scathing, disturbing, and at times decidedly stereotypical look at the lengths one man will go to make money, build a better life, and most importantly, a name for himself.

It’s not perfect. Many may call its refusal to stray from its central narrative a weak point. But it spins one of the most gripping dramas I’ve seen in quite a while.
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Hideki Kamiya doesn’t hate the new Dante

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Seriously, he doesn’t, though the word seems to be that he does.

According to a few Twitter feeds captured by eagle eyed fans, Kamiya has been quoted as being somewhat indifferent to the new take on Dante that developer Ninja Theory has taken saying “Whatever. RT @Solivagant @PG_kamiya #DmC, by Ninja Theory? Do you think they will “evolve” the action game from your Bayonetta standard?”. As soon as that hit the ‘net, it stoked the still burning embers of fan rage over Ninja Theory’s new direction in debate over he meant by it.

But a follow-up series of Tweets by Kamiya and posted at Platinum Games’ official forums had indicated a wholly different meaning to what was said, tweeting “Hello all foreign fans. Recently I got lots of comments like “Dante has changed”, and someone said I was not too fond of newest Dante. But it’s not true.”

He went on to say “”Dante has changed”…that’s right. But from my point of view Dante has changed every time the sequel came out, and he was always different from whom I created first.” Elaborating further, he tweeted “But for me,Dante is the only one, the original one. RT @alessandro_r2 @PG_kamiya I think the “problem” with the new Dante is: It’s NOT Dante”.

He finishes with a few more tweets saying “It may be totally new.No one knows. RT @didyourikeit @PG_kamiya if there was a need in changing the character, why not make a whole new game” and ends with “But I was trying to release DMC as Resident evil 4 first… RT @didyourikeit @PG_kamiya I meant as in not using the DMC name.”.

So it sounds to me like a man who wants Ninja Theory’s game to stand out on its own than follow something that is already out there…just as he once did himself. It’s funny how some things get lost in translation.

Asura’s Wrath: God of War meets the East

CyberConnect2 (.hack series, Naruto fighting game series) and Capcom have announced Asura’s Wrath at the Tokyo Game Show. Be warned that the trailer has some pretty bloody scenes in it, but it looks like it could be all sorts of furious fun. Capcom alum, Keiji Inafune, has been quoted by Wired as saying that seeing it for the first time “gave me goosebumps.”

Though not a lot of information has been released other than the trailer and that it will be using QTE’s, the possibility of collecting weapons with your body is certainly one game mechanic that I can’t recall having seen recently.

And there’s also a Giant Space Buddha. Not kidding.

Yakuza: Of the End is all about zombies

If you’re already sick of zombies, prepare to grab the nearest bucket because gaming’s infatuation with the walking dead has found another victim: Yakuza. The official trailer rolled out at TGS (Tokyo Game Show) this week and left me wondering just what is going to happen at the end of Yakuza 4 to cause this.

The fifth Yakuza game pits Kamurocho hardcase, Kazuma Kiriyu, and other famous characters from the series against a horde of the undead that are apparently bringing ‘the End’ to everything they know. At least that’s the impression that I’m getting from the trailer.

I’m not sure if it’s an elaborate gag or not, or if this is going to be a gaiden of some kind, but you can make that judgment for yourself in the first crazy trailer showing off the new game.

Devil May Cry rebooted, fans ragequit series

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It’s been confirmed that the Devil May Cry series is getting a reboot courtesy of Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, Enslaved) which Capcom has picked to lead the charge. And not everyone is happy about it.

The trailer and screenshots released at TGS (Tokyo Game Show) this week show off a new Dante delivering a beat down to a cadre of bizarre monsters. Not much else was released on just what the reboot was supposed to take place around, or whether this is a ‘different’ Dante from the one we know…like a different Belmont in Castlevania.

Now I don’t have any problem with a reboot as long as it’s done well, but after seeing the new trailer, I had to ask myself what was wrong with the series to need it. After having played through each of Dante’s adventures, even through DMC2, I didn’t think that things were left quite that bad after DMC4 to require throwing out everything and starting from scratch.

But fan reaction to the new star has been decidedly negative across the ‘net from Joystiq to Destructoid. “Horrible”, “emo”, and “addicted” were only a few of the adjectives used to describe the new Dante with one poster suggesting that a “retro costume pack” might be released later as DLC.

While I have no problem with a reboot if it’s good, or the game since nothing playable had come out yet, I can understand how a lot of those pointing out the new Dante as inspired by Twilight are upset.

And people thought Raiden was bad. This guy hasn’t even left his first trailer.

Play Asteroids via the web, courtesy of HTML 5 and developer Kevin Roast

For those of you who would like to take a trip back to the golden age of video games there is a snazzy playable version of Asteroids using HTML 5.

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I can remember dumping quarters into Asteroids by the pocketful back in ’79 hanging out at my local neighborhood Arcade. Check it out here: Arcade Classic Asteroids

Note: Works best with a desktop, laptop and browser setup with physical keyboard. “i” or mobile devices may not work at all :(

Duke Nukem Forever Lives…or Lives Forever

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However you want to say it, DNF is alive and well.

Not happy with a simple blurb in saying that it’s actually real? Jaded by so many years of false promises?

I would be, too, along with many fans that had been waiting for this thing longer than some of today’s gamers have been alive. But at PAX 2010, a playable demo was actually available on the floor showing off the progress made. There’s also some talk that it might actually make it out sometime in 2011 courtesy of Gearbox Software.

The long wait is almost over and it looks on track to finally chuck that Lifetime Vaporware award Wired gave it in 2003.