Review: Sonic Generations (X360)

57703-sonic_gen_1-thumb-480x305-57702.jpg

Sonic Generations is an amazing gut punch to the malaise that the Blue Bomber’s career has been in lately. Not quite a knockout blow, but longtime fans might not care as they race through two decades of Hedgehog history.

Continue reading

Review: Thor – God of Thunder (X360)

52118-thor_2-thumb-480x270-52117.jpg

Movie tie-in games are a staple of the industry along with the notoriety that they often bear as quick cash-ins. Not every movie gets one, though whenever one is made, it’s usually greeted with a mixture of dread and fear by those that know their reputation. Exceptions to the rule are rare. The hope that the next project might break the curse also often disappears almost as quickly as the game does into the bargain bin.

Thor: God of Thunder from Liquid Entertainment tries to shatter that reputation, building on the excitement surrounding the film. Yet even for the mighty Nordic godling empowered by Marvel heroism, it proves to be a fight even he can’t win.
Continue reading

Review: Vanquish (Xbox 360)

47363-Vanquish_1-thumb-480x270-47362.jpg

Arcades back then were filled to the brim with row upon row of cutting edge excitement, the kind that ate quarters and tokens as if there was no tomorrow.

When new and fancier consoles arrived on the scene from Japan, Capcom, Konami, Sega, Data East, and many others would blister thumbs and recycle gamepads on an almost monthly basis with simple, action packed titles that warranted the price that they were sold at. In those days, it wasn’t so much how long a game would last than it was for simply having that kind of arcade fun at home without having to stand next to someone that hasn’t taken a bath in three days for an open spot.

And that’s what Vanquish has resurrected with its fast, frenetic, third person, kill-em-all action fest filled with ridiculously crazy explosions and a host of mini-bosses that shake the screen with their very presence. This is an unabashedly arcade tour de force for the console complete with online leaderboards and a scoring system challenging all comers to do better.
Continue reading

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.

Yakuza think Kazuma Kiryu dresses like a punk

44271-yakuza3_3-thumb-200x112-40064.jpg

They also think that Kazuma Kiryu walking around and getting into as many fights as he does is just bad for business.

Boing Boing has a piece by Jake Adelstein and fellow writer, Lisa Katayama, asking actual Yakuza to sit down with Sega’s beat ‘em up and share their thoughts on it.

Jake Adelstein is the author of Tokyo Vice which covers the time he spent as a crime reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun after he had passed their entrance exam, surprising himself as well as his employers when he showed up. It’s a great book that gives an inside, and deeply personal, look on his twelve year journey into Japan’s underworld as a Westerner working the crime beat in Japan’s largest newspaper. Today, he works as a consultant on the yakuza and does his part in Polaris Project Japan to help fight human trafficking.

His career had also put him in touch with a wide variety of colorful people who prove that truth is stranger than fiction. People like the yakuza who were willing to play the game and call Kazuma Kiryu a guy who dresses like a punk.

The article is both interesting and hilarious at the same time, especially on what was said on the fighting and the look of Kazuma Kiryu, and well worth a read especially if you’re a fan of the series.

E3: A look back on Day Three

42345-E3_EA-thumb-480x105-42344.jpg

Day Three was a relaxed day for us. Only a handful of appointments and the crowds were a little thinner as quite a few people decided to head home once they’ve gotten their fill of news. I don’t blame them. My feet at this point were turning to mush from all of the standing and walking, but the end was in sight. Almost. Today was a catch up day for anything interesting that I wanted to see for myself so we weren’t under any pressure to run from one booth to the other.

Then again, the Lakers were defending their title at the Staples Center that evening making getting out early something of a priority. When Angelinos tell you to go home instead of hanging around to see burning taxis win or lose, it’s probably good advice.
Continue reading

Review: Alpha Protocol

41608-alphapro-thumb-480x300-41607.jpg

Fiction tells us the world of espionage is supposed to embody everything cool. All the guys are buff, all the women are hot, all the guns and gadgets are awesome and all the tasks have something to do with saving the world. Naturally, we want to be a part of it.

Sega’s Alpha Protocol manages to capture some of this energy. But sadly, whatever slickness it has doesn’t extend to a lot of the actual gameplay, so we’re left with yet another title that falls short of its potential.

Continue reading

So easy, even a caveman can play it

Frustrated by Ninja Gaiden’s merciless difficulty? Beat down by too many skill based games tested by pro-gamers that actually make money doing what they love? Just want to enjoy the game without feeling the need to break the controller at the same time?

Well, it seems that Bayonetta might have the answer. Platinum Games has shown off some footage displaying what might be the easiest difficulty setting ever to be designed with an “Automatic Mode” allowing it to be played with one hand, nearly guaranteeing that no one will be left out of the experience. Designer Hideki Kamiya also calls it “Mommy Mode”.

Talented character designer, Mari Shimazaki, demonstrates how easy it is to annihilate foes using it.

Happy 20th Sega Genesis!

Today’s the 20th Anniversary for the Sega Genesis! The days of blast processing, doing what Nintendon’t, and rising from your grave are back again among the die hard fans that still remember the 16-bit wars and the games that they had spawned. The Genesis was the platform of choice for many players during the day, especially thanks to a blitzkrieg of savvy marketing moves and third-party titles…and some of the most entertaining commercials to ever come out in a battle between consoles, the kind that aren’t seen today because someone might get their feelings hurt. With lawyers.

Sega would also use the Genesis to pioneer several important advances that, while they may not have been as successful as Sega had hoped at the time, went on to help pave the way for the next generation on. Backwards compatibility with the Master System was handled with a module that snapped on top of the system, a CD ROM drive was made available for it to support the new medium, and the Sega MegaNet in Japan was arguably the first to allow multiplayer over consoles.

So if you still have a Genesis, or one of Sega’s Genesis compilations, take some time out to enjoy some old school fun. SEGA!!!