MMGN.COM takes a look at the Wii 2 from Nintendo which has been given the codename Project Cafe, and also the PSN outage that is plaguing gamers worldwide.
Category: Gaming Reviews & News
New trailer for Bioshock Infinte arrives on the internet.
Bizarre Creations have made a name for themselves behind the excellent Project Gotham Series that blended realistic racing with a touch of arcade fun and did it well. Their follow up title is the action packed Blur, an arcade racer that will have players racing realistic cars while using power-ups to dominate their opposition. Fun, frantic and badass; but is Blur worth the price of admission?
The single-player Career is no easy feat, featuring some truly brutal A.I which can be a little off putting when you are trying to learn the basic mechanics of the game. Learning how the power-ups function and perfecting your drifting skills are a hard task to accomplish as Blur just throws your in the deep end of the action, providing you with small tutorial videos along the way as you begin new events.
If you are after a simulated racing experience you need not look here. More often than not you will find yourself fighting to survive as your opponent will launch a multitude of attacks and defenses against you. While it is easy enough to evade your attackers on the smaller races, when you have a full grid of 20 things turn into utter chaos. It’s fast, it’s furious, and it’s unrelenting. Power-ups are varied and a lot of fun, you’ll have the option of using missile attacks to phasers, shields, mines, boost and more. The great feature is each weapon has an alternate use for example; find yourself coming into a corner too hot and you have a boost power-up? Simply use the alternate fire mode and rather than boost it slows you down mega quick. It’s these little quirks that will eventually mean the difference between surviving and dominating.
The single-player career will have you racing in a number of events from standard racing with power-ups, to checkpoint racing, to destruction events all in order to unlock new cars and progress to the higher classes. You win “lights” by placing in events, and by hitting certain fan targets. The more impressive you are, the more fans you win. Simple enough premise and one that works to the titles advantage.
While racing around pulling off sweet moves, blasting your opponents with a multitude of weaponry and seeing that fan counter ticking over is satisfying at first, after extended playtime with Blur it begins to grow tired and weak. The game does well to throw you in the deep end and just leave you there, but sooner than later you learn how to traverse the waters and you will find yourself wishing there was more to discover.
Blur is a decent looking game. While it may lack a little in the details when compared to other racers out there, it’s easy on the eye and more importantly runs at a consistent frame-rate even when faced with some truly chaotic scenes. Matched up with a great sound from each and every car, Blur hits the right notes when it comes to audio and visual presentation.
Multiplayer is a blast with a small group of friends; nothing can quite beat that feeling you get when you smash your best friend with a perfectly placed flurry of bolt attacks, yet much like the single player the experience becomes messy and chaotic with a full grid of 20. Thankfully this can be evened out with a series of fun team based races and battle modes, which is by far the most rewarding and exciting way to play Blur online. Along with the online components the developers have thrown in a 4 player split screen option which is handy for those with friends around who want to get in on the action.
The Final Verdict
Blur had all the right ingredients to be a great game; frantic pacing, chaotic battle, wide and varied suite of multiplayer options, smooth frame rate backed up by great audio. The fact of the matter is there is nothing wrong with Blur, it just fails to give the gamer a reason to keep coming back for more. Fun with friends, fun for an hour or so every now and then, but it won’t keep you playing for much longer than that.
I’ve started up a gaming podcast/video blog with a friend for his website DigitalWound.com and this is the first episode. It’s low budget but it’s a whole lot of fun, and you can expect a significant upgrade after July when it will have HD Audio and Video.
This first episode covers the upcoming update for Aion, news of Playstation charging for their online services and J Allard leaving Microsoft. We also do video reviews of Bizarre Creations “Blur” and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
NCsoft are on the verge of releasing their highly anticipated 1.9 patch for Aion, which has users across the globe jumping for joy as a vast number of improvements are on the horizon. While 2.0 is going to change the bells and whistles of the game world, 1.9’s focus is updating the user experience based on community feedback to make the game more enjoyable for players. So with the update going live soon what can Aion users expect when they login to roam the realms with their Daevas?
Looking For Group Overhaul
1.9 is making a number of UI enhancements, and one of the more notable ones is the Looking For Group system. The new LFG allows players not only to find groups around them, but allow groups seeking another party member to find them. Using the new UI players can see a list o currently formed groups, what quests they are completing, see how many members in the group and easily ask the group leader for an invite. If you are leading a group you can see a players class and level and invite them to the group right from the interface. Handy, effective and a much needed addition to the game.
Daily Quests, Item Decay and Rental Store
Aion customers have been asking for more quests to be added to the game, so NCsoft are implementing a daily quest system. Each day a new quest will be available, offering more content to explore based upon their level. Daily quests will offer a variety of consumable items as rewards, but will also introduce new timed gear rewards. These items come attached with a decay timer that starts directly from the very moment you equip your new gear, giving the player a temporary boost as they move about with their shiny new objects. The timer runs out and your object becomes a useless pile of dust so use it wisely.
There is also a new Rental Gear store that makes an appearance, allowing players to purchase high priced weapons and armor for a rental period for a small cost. The decay timer comes into play yet again, allowing users to effectively try before they buy these extravagantly priced items.
New Skills, Combat Balancing and Two-Handed Weapon Merges
1.9 bring 15 new skills to the table, spread across all eight classes. These skills are geared towards balancing out the combat within the game, with skills that can break stun effects as an example. The update will also bring a series of class balancing changes to make the game a more consistent and even experience for all players.
Before 1.9 you often found yourself in a bit of a predicament; use the cooler looking more badass two-handed weapon or dual wield that will effectively deal more damage to your foes. That is a thing of the past with 1.9 introducing an all new two-handed weapon merge system. Allowing players to merge a more powerful two-hander with a less powerful one, combining statistics to create one badass of a weapon. It’s a welcome addition that will keep a lot of Gladiators out there very happy.
Costs Down, Experience Up
We all know how soul binding, spirit healing and teleportation simply cost more than they should. You could get back that 4,000EXP you lost when dying for a hefty fee, or you could just go out and kill three more monsters to gain it back yourself. Well 1.9 brings with it a dramatic price drop for all of these essential tasks, keeping Kinah in your pockets for more important things, like a nice hat to wear to a party.
Users will also find themselves earning more EXP with the new “Energy of Salvation” system which essentially functions as a rested experience system for the user, much in the same vein as World of Warcraft. Users will also find a number of quests now offer more EXP upon completion and campaign missions will give you some seriously sweet loot for completion.
Enough Already! When Does It Come Out?
This isn’t a definitive guide to the truckload of additions, tweaks and upgrades that 1.9 is bringing along with it, just a highlight reel of some of the bigger features landing. So the only question left to answer is when is this bad boy dropping? Increment downloads have already started, and it will be launching live on servers June 3rd for the Australian gamers out there.
So the second trailer featuring over the top cheesy live-action for the upcoming F.E.A.R 3 is here. Who knows what Warner Bros is thinking with all this B-Grade action, but some of the gameplay segments of the trailer show of some of the telekinetic powers that Paxton Fettel will have on offer. What little gameplay that has been on display so far seems to be more of what we would expect from a title in the F.E.A.R series, which isn’t necessary a bad thing.
You have to give credit where credit is due; the Super Mario Bros. franchise is one of the biggest, oldest and most successful gaming franchises in the existence of video games. It’s simple yet challenging formula has continued to win the hearts of gamers for over twenty years, cementing Mario as one of the faces of Video Games the world over.
2007 saw the release of Super Mario Galaxy; Mario’s first 3D adventure since the lackluster Super Mario Sunshine on the Nintendo Gamecube. A lot was riding on the success of Galaxy and it more than delivered, offering gamers a fantastic world with fun and challenging gameplay. Last year we saw the reboot of 2D design with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which returned to the series roots providing challenging 2D platforming adventure, complete with multiplayer support. Now Nintendo bring us Super Mario Galaxy 2, a direct sequel to the 2007 title that many have regarded as Mario’s best 3D adventure. Nintendo need to provide something absolutely stunning.
Yes Super Mario Galaxy 2 is based on the foundations of the first title; it uses the same graphics engine, the same controls and the same concept, yet this is the very reason why Galaxy 2 is so successful. The team have learned from the first title, listened to the feedback, and have improved every facet of an already masterful gaming experience. Yes Galaxy 2 is based on the first title, yet it has been improved in so many ways it doesn’t feel like Super Mario Galaxy 1.5, this is a stand alone sequel that offers some of the most fulfilling gaming moments of this generation.
Nintendo have put a lot of focus into accessible gaming for Wii titles, and SMG2 has been structured in such a manner that even someone who has never touched a controller before will be comfortable enough to play. This is evident in the opening sequence of the game as it starts off on a 2D plane as the story unfolds, then the player is forced to moving between the foreground and background before they are let go and given full control. It’s subtle and doesn’t feel like a tutorial at all, yet that’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t detract from the experience, it doesn’t feel forced, and it never feels like the game is holding your hand. Simply put, it is perfect and I wish more games would take a similar approach.
Your progression through the game has also been simplified to offer a more streamlined experience as you traverse the worlds of SMG2. Rather than the overwhelming Observatory Hubworld that we were introduced to in the first title, SMG2 utilizes a simplified world map much similar to the one introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3. Ultimately it makes the game easier to pick up and play, and does away with a mechanic that was unnecessary and overwhelming.
Nintendo have brought back the “play for me” mechanic that was featured in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If you die too many times you will be asked if you need assistance and the game will help you pass the trouble spot you have been stuck on. While it might sound like a cheats way out it will certainly be a welcome addition to those casual gamers out there, especially in the later levels of the game. Using this feature doesn’t come without a cost though; when collecting the star at the end of the level you will only be given a Bronze for your efforts instead of that Gold. You can go back and play through the level again and get that Gold once you feel a little more confident. Nintendo have also included Hint TV monitors that teach players exactly how a specific task should be completed. Once again a handy feature for new gamers, yet those who have been playing Mario titles for years should be able to work it out on their own. Once again these mechanics are not forced onto a player, so you will only see them if you want or need to.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is just pure fun! The premise is the same as previous titles – run and jump through a huge collection of levels spread across a bevy of different locations, collect power stars along the way, defeat big bad Bowser and rescue the Princess. It’s a formula that has been working for over twenty years and it still works just as well today. The team behind SMG2 has refined Mario’s controls to a point where everything just seems like second nature, making the player feel right at home with the controller in their hands.
Most of the levels in Super Mario Galaxy 2 are based around concepts and designs of the original game. You’ll find yourself flying from planet to planet, being sucked into orbit, gravity making the ceiling of a level into your floor, all ideas that were developed and explored in the first tile. These ideas have all been built upon with exciting twists and capabilities, with each galaxy exploring them in their own unique way. SMG2 constantly steps above and beyond your expectations to continually impress you, whether it be a throwback to nostalgia with a reference to a past Mario title, or just a twist on a basic game mechanic that was unexpected, Nintendo still know how to make a fun title.
Everyones favorite Dinosaur Yoshi is back, and a completely welcome addition to Super Mario Galaxy 2. As soon as players leap onto Yoshi’s back and start running around they will feel right at home. Controlling Yoshi is just a precise as controlling Mario, and using the Wii remote’s pointer to eat enemies or hook onto platforms with Yoshi’s tongue works a treat. It’s a lot of fun and opens up the gameplay to a multitude of new and exciting elements.
Yoshi doesn’t appear in each and every level, his appearances are restricted to specific galaxies, but they are all incredibly creative and some of the best levels in the game. Whether it’s using his ability to jump higher to collect a hard to reach coin, his ability to inflate like a balloon to reach great heights, or to provide a light in complete darkness; these are some of the absolutely stunning moments in Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Where Mario Galaxy 2 truly excels is it truly caters to gamers of all skill levels. Nintendo have included all these features to make the game fun and accessible to casual gamers, yet those hardcore competionists are not forgotten. Each galaxy has a hidden Comet Coin, and if collected, will unlock a series of challenges within that level design. It keeps you coming back for more, and these challenges are in fact rather challenging. Collect all 120 stars and you will unlock another gameplay mode that will give you a fulfilling, yet hardcore challenge.
SMG2 features some impressive production elements that are not only the best for it’s console, but also some of the best across any platform out there today. Level design and variety is simply unparalleled, the visuals are unique and stunning, quite amazing considering the Galaxy engine is 3 years old, and the soundtrack is full of orchestral moments that would rival a Hans Zimmer production.
The only thing that you can fault Super Mario Galaxy 2 on is the story, but let’s face it; who has ever played a Mario game for the story? Mario is all about fun, challenging and addictive gameplay and Super Mario Galaxy 2 has that by the truckload.
The Final Verdict
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is simply more than just “Galaxy 1.5”. It provides some of the most fun, challenging and addictive gameplay that has come out this generation, and yet still manages to be accessible for casual gamers and the hardcore alike. Nintendo implement a series of helpful mechanics for gamers who need assistance finishing the game so smartly, those of you who are skilled enough to collect all 120 stars wont even notice they are there. The graphics, the sound, the level design and the overall charm perfectly encapsulate the spirit of classic gaming while still offering something next, exciting and unique. All backed up by a tight and precise control scheme that simply feels like second nature and is so intuitive you don’t even have to think about it. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is platform gaming at its absolute finest and is one of the greatest games to be released this generation.
I never give a game 10 out of 10, never! Yet I purely cannot see how Super Mario Galaxy 2 could ever be improved upon.
Since its first release on PC’s in 2002, the Battlefield brand has be the epitome of engaging multipalyer combat in the eyes of gamers across the globe. Since then the game has also branched off into console territory, 2008 seeing the release of Battlefield: Bad Company; the first Battlefield game not to see a PC release, and to include a single player, story driven campaign. Two years later Swedish developer DICE are at it again, this time dropping Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on all major platforms, bringing the ever popular series back to its rightful home on the PC. Featuring some of the best multiplayer combat going around right now, and a solid yet slightly lacking single-player experience to boot, is BC2 worth strapping on those combat boots and going to war?
The single player campaign follows B-Company as they travel across the globe in desperate search of a mythical weapon that is capable of devastating destruction which cannot fall into the hands of the Russians. While the story is not exactly a strong point of the campaign, you will get the chance to travel through a series of gorgeous environments, ranging from frozen mountains tops to a jungle paradise. It’s the amazing amount of details of these locations that will immediately stand to attention as you begin fighting your way through the campaign. The developers have really pushed the graphics this time round, offering photorealistic vistas that seem to have a sense of depth that simply needs to be seen to be believed.
It’s not just the amazing views or the luscious environments that make BC2 a great looking game. The Frostbite Engine certainly has come a long way since the first Bad Company, improving almost every facet of the games look and physics. Fully destructible environments return, send enough rockets at any structure and simply watch it crumble as a result. Destroying a building with a group of enemy soldiers never gets tiring, and other than looking bad ass, knowing you can destroy everything and anything will change how you play the game.
The last Bad Company game was the first to have a story driven single player campaign, and as a result it had a little trouble finding its feet in the process. The experience is much better this time round, now featuring a more cinematic experience. The dialogue is less over the top while retaining a healthy amount of humour, the level design is smarter and as a whole the experience is far more compelling than the last title. Having said that though, there are some problems with the presentation and pacing of the campaign that makes it fall short. Your supporting cast of soldiers in B-Company are one dimensional, bulletproof machines who are only good for their cheesy one-liners. It’s hard to make an emotional connection with them, especially when they receive a ‘nade to the face only to get back up with no trouble and all and keep fighting. The constant action; while being extremely fun, also breaks immersion in the story. You tend to feel like you are a one man army, going from a stealthy insertion into a full on fire fight, riding a turrent on a helicopter and calling in an airstrike all in a matter of minutes. It’s fun and exciting, but ultimately takes you away from the story.
As expected the mechanics in BC 2 are nothing shy of perfect. All the guns feel correctly weighted and sound just as they should, the vehicles handle smoothly and make traversing the battlefield both a thrill and a pleasure. Instead of the instant respawns and health injections from the last outing, BC 2 implements standard checkpoints and regenerating health mechanic that makes the game flow much better and feel more realisitc. While you supporting cast are hard to connect to, they certainly do a great job helping you out in the many fire fights you will encounter. They act like real soldiers in a battle, holding down an attack allowing you to flank your enemies or take some cover and get your heath back. Other games will simply drop you into a squad of ineffective knuckleheads, but BC 2 stands up with it’s fantastic AI.
All said and done the campaign is a fun, albeit short lived experience clocking in at the 5-6 hour mark. There is a collectible weapon system that may entice some of you to go back for multiple play throughs, but by and large this isn’t the sort of campaign that will keep calling you back time and time again.
While the single-player experience falls a little short, to most of you it simply won’t matter at all. Gamers buy a Battlefield game for an amazing multiplayer experience, and BC 2 is no exception. Offering one of the best online experience out there, BC 2 if full of large-scale battles, large and varied maps, diverse squad management and team based game play that simply cannot be matched. There is simply nothing more satisfying than working with your squad mates to take down an enemy position and rush a base.
BC 2 employs a terrific squad management system that really ups the ante. When on the spawn screen simply clicking the squad management button brings up a tab that will let you join an existing squad or create a new one. Four members in each squad may not seem like enough, but when you are running a combination of medic, some assault and a recon covering your rear you will find that it can be a deadly tool. Added advantage to being in a squad is if you are waiting to respawn and one of your squad members is still alive, simply click on their name and you will respawn right there next to them. This is a vital strategy that can change the outcome of a fire fight literally in seconds. The layout of the maps demand a focus on team based strategies, and the squad mechanic is a perfect way to enforce that idea.
The destructible environments are a whole different kind of monster when jumping online, adding a whole new layer of strategy and depth to the multiplayer experience. You will need to learn to adapt and work through the environments to survive. You enemies are holding up on a tower sniping out a whole division? A few strategically placed C4 charges and some explosions later on will soon bring an end to your enemies and their vantage point. Not only does it look cool, but it certainly brings a whole new strategic spin to things.
BC 2 offers a series of game-modes and maps will have something to offer everyone, no matter what type of gamer you are. Rush is an attack and defend mode that is played across expansive maps, features a entourage of vehicles and will ensure an edge of your seat experience as you edge through a base onto the next, or hold off your enemies for just a bit longer for the big win. Squad Deathmatch games is your average frantic team deathmatch mode which is much more close quarter combat. If you want to kick it old school the classic Battlefield Conquest mode has been included, which has teams fighting to control specific control points by raising and lowering flags. There truly is something for everyone in BC 2.
For those who are worried about making the switch from Modern Warfare 2 don’t fret, BC 2 features an impressive reward scheme that will feel right at home to those who have been playing the other modern warfare games out there. BC 2 will allow you to level up each class individually along with your overall rank, unlocking new weapons and gadgets along the way to flesh out your arsenal. You will also get even more rewards to completing small challenges, winning battles or simply pwning your opposition. The levelling system is rewarding and will leave you with a sense of accomplishment after all your hard work.
Finally which version should you go with? If you have a good enough rig you’ll want to get the PC version. Those with high-end graphics cards will enjoy better visuals and smoother frame rates than those with the PS3 or Xbox 360 version. Possibly the most important feature though is the ability to browse servers to discover the exact game you want. The last reason why the PC version is better, you’ll enjoy 32 players in game, as opposed to the 24 offered on both consoles.
The Final Verdict
While the single-player campaign certainly is an explosive no holds barred adventure, it almost feels like a bonus game mode to the expansive and impressive multiplayer component of the game. Bad Company 2 does a great job of engaging the player with it’s rewarding online experience, continually getting you back to rank up just one more time. Varied game play along with excellent squad management is the key to epic team based battles. Back this up with realistic weaponry, great sounds and gorgeous visuals, and you have one hell of a ride.
TellTale games have come along in leaps and bounds in the past few years. In 2006 they released the critically acclaimed Sam & Max Season 1, the dynamic duo’s first outing in over ten years. Since then they have released a second season, along with other successful series such as Strongbad’s Cool Game For Attractive People and the new Tales of Monkey Island. Well now TellTale are at it again, this month releasing the first episode of the new season, Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.
Episode 1: The Penal Zone puts a tick in all the right boxes; Super-intelligent Space Gorilla on a quest for toys that can bend reality, check; weird and wonderful apparitions that are equally hilarious as they are frightening, check; a prophecy that foretells the end of the world, naturally involving Max, check. For fans of the duo’s beginnings as a comic book, their first outing in the video game realm “Hit The Road”, or the cartoon series, this episode feels the most like Sam & Max. It’s wacky, it’s out there, and it feels more comfortable in it’s universe than Season One or Two did.
Having said that, there isn’t as much story in this episode as expected, yet it manages to setup the story well enough that you will be hanging out for the next episode to drop. The story focuses around the villain “Skuk’ka’pe” who has come down to earth to collect some reality altering toys, among other reasons. The episode starts out with a vision of the end of the episode, a technique often seen in a lot of movies (See: Tarrantino), but your actions throughout the episode change the outcome, which leaves plenty of surprises in store.
While the puzzle element in previous seasons has been great, Season 3 has some truly inventive puzzles to be solve. This is due to Max and his new crazy supernatural abilities, mainly the teleport power. At first you might seem stumped, but as you move through and become comfortable with these abilities, you will soon find abstract ways around some seemingly impossible obstacles. It may seem gimmicky but I assure you it’s an integral part to the story, and it is implemented rather well.
Along with the new gameplay style come the new interface scheme that was implemented with Tales of Monkey Island. Now instead of the standard point and click mechanics, you can now use the WSAD keys, or even plug in a gamepad. While it will make it seem more like a console port than enhance gameplay (this season is launching on consoles), but it certainly isn’t a game breaker. Other elements have been improved, a new pointer which for those of you who have played “Hit the Road” will recognise, along with highlighting objects a green colour so they are easier to define from the environment when clicking around.
Sam & Max have always been known for their wacky sense of humour, and the first episode of the third season certainly hits the funny bone more than a few times. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments, and some terrific sight gags that will leave a smile on your face. The one liners this time around are sharp, witty and will stick out for days after you finish the episode, “I’m glad to see that Earthlings are still so charmingly racist” is just one of the many that sticks out in my mind.
But while the story and humour is solid, it’s not fantastic. Skunk’ka’pe is the only character that seems to drive the story forward, and while there is plenty of time to catch up with old friends Bosco, Agent Superball and the rest of the cast we’ve grown to love, it all seems a little redundant as you simply await for the next encounter with the damn dirty space ape. It can wear a little thin, it’s not bad, gamers just expect a little more.
The graphics are right on the money, and feature some fantastic design elements. Skun’ka’pe arrives on the block in a space ship that is both ridiculous and terrifying at the same time. Animation is smooth and fluid and everything looks just like it should. Backed up with some of the strongest voice acting in the business, this episode is top notch in both the graphic and audio sectors, just like all the episodes that have come before it.
The Final Verdict
The Penal Zone is a solid intro into the new season that sets the player up for what is coming ahead. While the story can seem a bit thin at times, the new interface along with the implementation of some great new gameplay features make this a delight to play through. For hardcore Sam & Max fans this is a must play, as it really feels like the first true Sam & Max game since “Hit The Road” from the 90’s.
I stumbled across this article on news.com.au and I just had to share it with you all!
A UK woman claims falling from a Wii Fit board turned her instantly into a nymphomaniac. Amanda Flowers told the Daily Star she now needs up to 10 sex sessions a day after damaging a nerve in the fall. She has been diagnosed with persistent genital arousal disorder, a condition which gained global attention when it featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in 2008. Ms Flowers, who lives in Manchester, said the urge to have sex was irresistable. She said small vibrations from her mobile phone or food processor were enough to turn her on. “It began as a twinge down below, before surging through my body,” Ms Flowers told the Daily Star.“Sometimes it built up into a trembling orgasm.” The single Ms Flowers said all she could do was try to control it with deep breathing, or “find a superstud who can satisfy me”.
Really? A superstud? Only in the U.K I guess! This revelation may cause an instant increase of Wii Fit sales as hardcore gamers across the world all rush out to purchase the device for their partners. There is always hope my friends 😛