Review: Rayman Origins

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Rayman Origins is one of the best games of 2011, and it’s a shame that so few people have bothered to notice it.

The game, a 2D platformer, succeeds in its absolute refusal to be anything like most of this year’s most popular games, while staying true to the traditions laid down by many a classic from the 8- and 16-bit eras. Rayman Origins is a game in which nothing has to make sense, but everything is supposed to be fun.

The title also earns distinction as one of the most beautiful releases for the current or any generation of console games. Rayman Origins’ rich, painterly character designs and layouts are as vibrant as the sights one may see in the best animated films. Indeed, playing the game is like playing a cartoon.

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Sony unveils PlayStation Vita launch games

The PlayStation Vita will have 25 games available for sale on its release date, Sony revealed today.

The Vita, Sony’s next handheld, is scheduled for a Feb. 22 release date in the United States. Sony revealed in a blog post today that the following titles will also be for sale at that time in stores or via download:

First Party Games:

  • Escape Plan (PlayStation Network only)
  • Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
  • Hustle Kings (PSN only)
  • Little Deviants
  • ModNation Racers: Road Trip
  • Super StarDust Delta (PSN only)
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • wipEout 2048
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Review, Part One: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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By Jahmal Peters
Contributor

What hasn’t been said about Bethesda’s latest installment in the Elder Scrolls series?

Critical acclaim? Definitely.

Game of the year candidate? Without question.

A vast open ended environment with hundreds of hours of replayability? It’s been said.

Quite possibly the best way to sum up Skryim would be to say this review is late is because all the reviewers are still playing it.

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Review: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

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Remember what Yogi Berra said about the feeling of “deja vu all over again?”

Check this out: Capcom released Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds in February. The game appeared in stores after a long wait for a retail MvC release, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: A New of Heroes, came out for the Sega Dreamcast (!) in 2000, with the game later being ported over to other consoles.

But it’s Capcom’s style to release multiple hard copy versions of the same game, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a November release adding twelve new fighters, eight new stages and at least in this reviewer’s experience, an improved online mode. While playing the “Ultimate” version, I didn’t have to wait as long to lose.

Tech-Out liked the the first version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for being a game that is for newcomers to pick up and enjoy, but complicated enough for fighting game connoisseurs to appreciate. And of course, the quick, colorful ADD-like gameplay and comic art inspired visuals are also points in Ultimate’s favor.

Capcom’s practice of releasing multiple versions of the same game is starting to get weird, however. Capcom waited more than a full year between retail versions of Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV and finally, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. But with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there’s only a nine month wait and the game hit stores in the middle of a very competitive holiday release period. Despite its merits, this is a game that could easily be lost in the shuffle.

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Another ten free games available for 3DS “Ambassadors”

As promised, Nintendo has released 10 free Game Boy Advance games as downloadable releases for “Ambassadors,” AKA the 3DS early adopters who bought the handheld before this past summer’s price drop

As of now, the games are only available for people who attained Ambassador status by linking their 3DS to the Internet before the price drop took effect. Ambassador status does not carry diplomatic immunity, but it does allow access to the following GBA games:

  • F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit
  • Wario Land 4
  • Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3
  • Metroid Fusion
  • Wario Ware Inc.: Mega Microgames
  • KIrby & The Amazing Mirror
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

To get the games, players can access the eShop from their 3DS, go to “Settings/Other” and access “Your Downloads.” The games appear as being available for “Redownload” on a list of any other titles a player has downloaded.

The releases follow an earlier batch of ten NES games,which included Super Mario Bros., Metroid, the Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link.

Review: Starfox 64: 3D

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Star Fox 64 3D is a decent remake that like Nintendo’s remake of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, offers cleaner graphics and few tweaked controls to a popular Nintendo 64 title.

In the case of Star Fox 64, the new Nintendo 3DS version features gyroscopic controls that let players control their star fighter by moving their 3DS handheld itself instead of using traditional controls. Otherwise, the game is basically the same as the original version, and ace pilot Star Fox is still teamed up with a rabbit, falcon and toad who fly at his side in an interplanetary war.

And yes, Slippy Toad will still advise Fox to “do a barrel roll.” The Internet is eternally grateful for that line.

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Review: Mario Kart 7

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Mario Kart 7 may not be the most essential release of the year, but it’s a fun diversion that carries on the ridiculous traditions of the Mario Kart franchise to the Nintendo 3DS handheld.

For anyone who has somehow avoided the first six games in the Mario Kart franchise, the game places characters in the role of Super Mario characters (I like Donkey Kong) who race against each other in absurdly cute vehicles on silly tracks inspired by levels in various Mario games as well as other Nintendo games.

And, of course, everybody cheats. Mario Kart has always combined cuteness with anarchy, as competition means attacking your opponents with turtle shells, fireballs, ink-shooting squids and more weapons. The arsenal still includes the notorious blue shell, an advanced Mario Kart weapon that targets and hits whoever is in first place. Is it fair? Of course not, but what is?

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Review, Part One: The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for Nintendo Wii is a worthy addition to the beloved Zelda franchise. In some in some ways, especially its emphasis on motion controls, release is one of 2011′s most ambitious games, although other elements of the title show Nintendo is not keeping up with current trends in game design.

The game’s positive aspects far outweigh its minor disappointments. At its best, Skyward Sword is a triumph of visual design and a game that delivers the most visceral combat experiences of any Zelda title. What causes the game to fall just short of greatness, at least in its early parts, are moments of outdated gameplay and occasional frustrations with the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls.

This review covers the experience of playing the opening stages of Skyward Sword. This reviewer will write a second review after completing the storyline.

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Admittedly late review: Dance Dance Revolution

A while back, Tech-Out received a review copy of Dance Dance Revolution. Sun staffer Mike Cruz shared the game with his brother in law Chris Durgin, who produced this review for us.

By Chris Durgin
Contributor

Dance Dance Revolution for the Xbox360
hasn’t changed much since its debut years ago in arcades across the
world. With some advances in video game technology, such as Xbox
Kinect, there are some interesting questions about why this latest
version of the game was even released.


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Review: Super Mario 3D Land

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Super Mario 3D Land is a terrific platformer that mixes moments of insane difficulty with a player-friendly approach and brilliant visuals that perhaps more than any title so far, make a case for 3D visuals as an essential component of gameplay.

How so? Acrophobia, to put it simply. Running and jumping to ridiculous heights has always been at the core of Mario games, and the Nintendo 3DS’ stereoscopic visuals make it easy to imagine what it would be like to ascend – and perhaps fall – hundreds of feet. The handheld’s visual capabilities also make enemies, fireballs and even boomerangs as if appear as if they are capable of flying towards and almost out of the screen itself.

But as nice as the graphics are, Super Mario 3D Land – and any other game – needs to be fun to play to avoid failure. Thankfully, Nintendo delivered a classic Mario experience that relies on the traditional running and jumping exploits of vintage Super Mario Bros. while adding a series of zany and zanier surprises to keep things interesting.

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