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.
Tag Archive: Playstation
New trailer for Bioshock Infinte arrives on the internet.
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.
Read the full in-depth review HERE
Developed By: 2K Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Online: 4 Player Co-Op
What It’s All About:
Welcome to Pandora, a bandit-ridden wasteland that draws the attention of off-world scavengers for one reason: The Vault. The Vault is a mysterious structure that is believed to hold the most powerful and wealthiest treasures in the universe, and everyone from scavengers to fortune seeking global corporations wants to get their hands inside. This is the setting you will find yourself wading through with Gearbox’s latest title Borderlands, a FPS meets RPG.
What It Did Right:
- Great character development
- Unique art design
- Reward system
- Fantastic Gunplay
What Brings It Down:
- Vehicle Control
- Lonely, anti-social single player experience
- Cock slap of an ending
The Final Verdict:
Borderlands succeeds as a perfectly balanced combination of the RPG and FPS genres. Along with it’s unique gameplay style, it boasts an art design that makes Pandora come alive and will keep calling you back to the bandit ridden wastelands. With satisfying character development and an impressive arsenal of weapons, this game will keep you busy for a long time. There are a few places that the game could be improved, especially when it comes to the anti-social and lonely nature of it’s single player experience. All in all, Borderlands is a great title that is well worth checking out.
The hype and excitement surrounding the pending release of Batman: Arkham Asylum has been getting a lot of coverage across the globe. Praise is being sung by the critics, fans are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the game this Thursday. To get you through the next few days, why not revisit some of Batman’s Greatest Video Gaming Moments from the years gone past?
Batman: The Video Game
Released on the Nintendo Entertainment System 1989
In the early days the NES was filled with colourful platformers such as Ice Climber, Super Mario and the like, but Batman: The Video Game was a different kettle of fish. Praised for it’s dark graphics, it’s fantastic attention to detail, fluid animations not to mention one of the most kick ass NES soundtracks ever, it still stands the test of time as not only one of the best Batman games, but one of the best platformers of the NES generation. With a variety of weapons, classic cinematics, five stages based on locations from the Burton film, and a show down with The Joker himself, what more could a Batman fan ask for?
The Adventures of Batman & Robin
Released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System 1994
A sequel to the NES title was released to little fanfare, some gameboy titles came and went, but Konami’s The Adventures of Batman & Robin revived the series with it’s stunning graphics and gripping gameplay. Based on the ever popular animated series, the game takes place over 8 stages with a boss fight at each one, with such favourites as The Joker, Catwoman, Two-Face and many more. Backed up with some amazing features at the time including Mode 7, Reflections on the floor, and a large arsenal of weapons, this is truly a standout title in the Batman series.
Released on the Sony Playstation 2 2001
Ubisoft tried their hand at making a Batman game that fans would love, and they did a decent job with an interesting story the furthered the series. Featuring third person platforming, combat and some sweet Batmobile sequences, Batman Vengeance deserves a mention for truly telling a story. The voice acting is top notch, and features the ever famous Mark Hamill reprising his role from the animated series as The Joker.
Lego Batman: The Video Game
Released on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii 2008
Everyone loves playing games in the Lego universe. After the massive successes of the Star Wars Lego and Indiana Jones Lego series, Lego Batman was released using the tested formula of bringing a certain charm to our favourite stories. With heavy weight Danny Elfman providing the score for the game (he did the music on Burton’s original Batman movie) and with the ability to play as not only Batman, but the villains in the series, it’s hard to ignore the importance of this title re-invigorating the Batman series in the minds of gamers.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
To Be Released 3rd of September 2009
Will Arkham Asylum make it on this list when it’s released this coming Thursday? Guess you’ll have to wait until I release my review later this week.
The year 1988 saw the release of Capcom’s Bionic Commando on the revolutionary Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to both critical and commercial success. It was innovative for platform/action titles in the fact that you couldn’t jump, and you needed to make use of a Bionic arm to swing your way across ledges and destroy enemies in certain ways. It stood aside from other games in similar genres and has stood the test of time. That was over twenty years ago, does the same premise offer enough to stand ahead of the pack in the current generation?
2009’s Bionic Commando takes place ten years after the events of the NES title and places the gamer back into the shoes of Bionic Soldier Nathan “Rad” Spencer. In the course of these ten years, Bionic Soldiers have been outlawed in the military and society and have either slipped through the cracks or have had their bionic augmentations removed, or worse, executed. The game jumps right into the action as we witness the detonation that obliterates Ascension City, destroying buildings, streets and of course the main population. Spencer – who has been imprisoned due to the outlaw on Bionic Soldiers is released – is sent into the combat zone to discover who is responsible for such an act.
What sets the scene for a potentially sound storyline is let down by pure B-Grade cheesiness with some of the dialogue and cutscenes. Regardless of these shortcomings, voice acting work is delivered superbly through all the characters with the stand out being our hero Spencer who is voiced by Mike Patton of Faith No More fame. Characters are brought into the story to connect it back to the original title, yet more often than not they feel forced rather than detrimental to the story progression. Overlooking all this, Bionic offers some interesting plot twists. It’s not the amazing story some might find in other games, but it’s certainly strong enough to keep you compelled to continue the adventure.
What set the first title apart from the rest was the implementation of the Bionic arm and GRIN have excelled at making the arm an integral feature of the gameplay mechanics and not just a tacked on gimmick. Spencer has been separated from his arm since his incarceration, meaning he needs to remember all of his abilities, which are taught to you along the way via checkpoints and training exercises. It’s easy to learn, but takes a little to master which is a tie back to the original game. There is a sense of accomplishment when you chain together a series of precision placed swings followed by a zip kick.
The targeting reticle turns blue when Spencer is able to use the arm to grip onto something and once you have mastered the art you will be firing off your pistol before swinging via a ledge onto a platform and then taking a moment to assess your next move. Having said that the ability to swing and grapple your way across Asscension City isn’t all roses. Falling to your doom, landing in deep water or hitting some nasty radiated spots will result in you respawing at a checkpoint, minus all the equipment you have collected along the way. This will be frustrating for some, but for fans of the original title (or last years Re-armed remake) it will be familiar territory.
The arm is used for much more than swinging around like a not so friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Spencer has an arsenal of attacks ranging from the effecting light or heavy punches, zip kicks which will have you attaching your arm to an enemies chest and then retracting it to kick them in the chest, kiting enemies into the air and throwing objects such as cars, blocks of concrete and even trains! All the attacks work seamlessly with the controls being accessed with some careful timing and some quick button presses.
In addition to these awesomely cool Bionic Arm attacks you will also gain access to weapons throughout your journey. Spencer is armed with a standard issue pistol which is accurate and deadly, but through weapons drops in the field you will come across grenades, shotguns, sniper rifles and the like. Unfortunately while these weapons are fun, ammo is so sparse for said weapons that the fun is short lived. It’s not a deal breaker as the arm attacks more than make up for it, but it would be wise to conserve your ammunition for when you need it.
Bionic Commando provides us with a seemingly huge concrete jungle to frolic through yet due to it’s linear gameplay it doesn’t offer enough opportunity to go exploring. Once you have passed through a section of the game there is no going back, so if you are wanting to collect all the collectable items and the like, you better check, and then check again before you move onto the next point. It’s sadly disappointing as Asscension City offers a terrific landscape to explore, yet we are constricted to the contraints of a linear pathway. It doesn’t ruin the experience as such, but it makes you wonder what we are missing out on, or what a less linear path would have provided us with.
Multiplayer is a rather forgettable experience. Featuring sixteen maps to fight with up to seven other opponents on, you’ll soon put it down after a few rounds. It’s not ground breaking, it’s no engaging, it’s not fun, it’s just there. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with it, it features your standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes, it’s just not at all compelling like the single player experience. It’s a fun time waster, but we won’t see it hitting Call of Duty or Halo online status anytime soon.
Graphically Bionic Commando is up there with the best. Assension City is littered with papers blowing in the wind, dust and particles from fallen buildings, and fantastic lighting effects at the sun sets down across the town. The game camera is rarely ever annoying and feels just right, and little features like dust covering the camera as buildings fall is a nice touch. Character models are a bit cartoonish, but that’s the setting of the game. It’s not a mega realistic title ala Gears Of War. The game manages to keep a consistent frame-rate, which is emperical to the swinging element of the title. Lagging as you were swinging at fast pace through the city would totally ruin the experience. The only time you will even notice the tiniest bit of frame-rate dip will be during some of the larger battle sequences, but it’s not enough to even really notice that often.
The city feels like it’s actually a city, not just a landscape created for the game. Buildings look tattered and used, everything is coated in dust after the explosion, buildings, the ground, cars and transport literally are crumbling all around you. My one gripe is the blatant advertising that is present throughout the city. Pepsi, nVidia, Alienware and other signs from companies litter the city, and while it has been seen before, in this pertiular title it really takes away from the experience.
As I mentioned before the voice acting is top notch, and Mike Patton provides yet another memorable character in the video game realm (See: The Darkness). Musically the title will strike a chord with veterans who will recognize some of those eight bit sounds jazzed up a little during the musical score that just suits the title perfectly.
The Final Verdict
So has twenty years been too long for Bionic Commando to have any relevance in the modern day video game world? Capcom have proved that an old classic can be turned into something modern day. While the story isn’t taken to it’s full potential and the title is extremely linear, Bionic Commando offers enough innovative, and stylish gameplay mechanics to make it worth your while.
Full Review can be read here
Hardcore Gamer: A person who spends much of their leisure time playing games. As a consequence of the large amount of time spent, these gamers often become very proficient at playing games. There are many subtypes of hardcore gamers based on the style of game, gameplay preference, hardware platform and other preferences.
Casual Gamer: The casual gamer is a person who plays games designed for ease of gameplay (such as Tetris) and doesn’t spend much time playing computer or console games. The genres that casual gamers play vary, and they might not own a specific video game console to play their games.
Taken from Wikipedia.org
I tend to sit towards the Hardcore end of the scale, no I don’t sit at home and get every achievement for Gears of War, and no I don’t need to have every game on release date, but all in all I like a challenge, and a fair amount of my time is dedicated towards playing games. To say I was skeptical about Little Big Planet would be understatement of the year, sure it looked cute, the prospect of sharing levels and the online component excited me, but all in all it just looked like a Casual game, a kids game to me. It’s safe to say after a six hour session with the game last night, I am now a believer…
Media Molecule have done more than just create a game, essentially they have created a piece of art. Never, in my 18 years of gaming have I seen, or played anything like Little Big Planet. The thing that is still blowing my mind right this second is it’s so simple, yet so complex, and the scope of it all is ENORMOUS
You don’t need a review to tell you to get this game, you don’t need a review to tell you what to expect. If you own a PS3 then you simply need to get this game, end of story. I bought my PS3 exclusively for Metal Gear Solid 4, that was the be all and end all game for me. Little Big Planet is simply amazing, while some things need a bit of refinement, nothing can compare to the limits and bounds of this game. If I didn’t have a PS3 now, I’d go and buy one just for this
If we were to think of FPS games as beer we’d have a stark comparison. We’d have the high quality german import beers, namely Bioshock, Rainbow Six Vegas and Call Of Duty 4 to drink and enjoy, before we emptied that six pack and moved on to the lukewarm piss your cousin mopped off the toilet floor and put into beer bottles and made his own beer namely Haze.
Sure your cousin talks it up but no matter how much sugar he throws in to sweeten the nectar (pun intended) it leaves a horrilbe taste in your mouth and once you have digested in your mind what you have just drank you begin to vomit you guts up like your fourteen year old sister who came home pregnant last July.
That’s right Ubisoft have served up another tasty turd compliments of the Hype Train after we were all just starting to forget about that whole Assasin’s Creed thing. He’s in the past, he’s from the future, DNA reconstruction WTF!
Haze puts you in the role of Shane Carpenter, fresh out of college and joining the Private Millitary Corporation Mantel. Mantel soldiers are hand forced a drug called Necatar, which enhances their vision and increases their health and strength. For all the good this drug does it sure as hell doesn’t increase brain activity which brings me to my first gripe… CHARACTERS AND VOICE ACTING.
Some of my favourite lines
“It’s like taking candy from a cippled baby”
And who can forget the timeless battle cry “BOOSH”
The NPC’s are uninteresting and do little to forward the story even when they are attempting to, and you end up just hating them by the end of the second or third level. Voice acting, even by the protaginist seems lacking and phoned in, and overall the player tends to not connect with the characters of the game.
The story is like a kebab, good idea in theory but horrible the next morning which has you sitting with the porcelain princess for most of the day. Haze’s idea’s were intriguing but due to shitty voice acting and not ever going into anything in great detail, it’s all it is, a good idea that is never explored to even 25% of it’s potential.
Graphics are very average, but there are some shining moments. Smoke from fires when in open environments billow out realistically, and looks fantastic, and some of the ligting effects are really done well. It’s not the worst game to look at, but it’s sure as hell not the best either.
Got your run of the mill guns here that Charlton Heston would be comfortable handling on his back porch while waiting for Michael Moore, and they all seem pretty weighted and sound fantastic. This is where Haze shines, the sound. Guns and explosions sound, whats the words I’m looking for, FULLY SIC!
Mulitplayer, while lacking game modes is a lot of fun. It’s not going to overtake Cod 4 anytime soon but it’s good for a change. Also drop in, drop out 4 player co-op does make the single player worth playing again a second time round with some friends.
All in all Ubisoft once again fooled us in thinking this was going to be a gem, and with Free Radical involved we all bought it! Haze is a solid game but it’s not going to wow you, and with it’s terrible voice acting, a story that could have been amazing but was under developed and average graphics, it’s going to be a game you either love or hate. I personally quite like it, but to keep an objective view I’ll give it the rating it deserves
Condemned 2: Bloodshot
Well in what seems an eternity ago Sega released this little title called Condemned: Criminal Origins for the launch of the red ring of death some like to call the Xbox 360. Overlooked by many, Condemned was like the ugly step sister in an over crowded genre, it offered something different from the other sisters but even after a bottle of Jack Daniels your uncle still wouldn’t be interested. Fans of the original are few and far between which is a shame because Condemned was actually a damn good title, it offered thrills, drama, an adult story and interesting gameplay mechanics that didn’t involve space aliens or bringing back a game from the dead only to kill it once again, that’s right Joanna Dark I’m looking at you.
We find ourselves back in the shoes of Ethan Thomas, the protagonist from the first game who has fallen on harder times than a cheap russian bride falling down a set of apartment stairs after burning the casserole. Ethan is now an alcoholic and is having trouble telling what is real and what is not, and a lot of paranormal activity is still surrounding him. This makes a lot of sense for those of you who finished the first game, but thankfully for those who never got the chance to play the first one, it’s easy to pickup that this is one messed up individual.
Fighting mechanics have been greatly improved from the first title. Basically anything in the world can become a weapon, and you will be finding yourself doing a lot more melee combat than gunplay in this game, which is what made the first title unique. You will get the chance to use all sorts of items such as a toilet seat, bed posts, bricks and even dolls with explosives. A combo system has been implemented and once you have learned the timing of blocks, parrys and different types of punches you will be having one of the best experiences I’ve had this past 12 months.
Investigation scenes are now less linear, and you actually have to use your noggin to get the best possible results. When entering an investigation scene you are notified but you will have to choose what tool to use, and what information you can find to send back by a number of text choices. Sometimes these scenes aren’t as obvious and you will need to do some digging around, and this offers a more realistic experience.
The one thing that annoyed me about the first title, and still annoys me this time round is that environments can tend to get bland. While this time round we get to enter a lot of different environments, all have long corridors with lots of doors and empty rooms, confined spaces and darkness. Now I get the idea that the darkness is supposed to make the game more intense, but quite often I found myself getting headaches similar to a hard night on the booze, and having to take a break from playing.
The story is meant for adults, or teenagers pretending to be adults. It is complex, gruesome and basically it feels good to know that developers have made a game for us older gamers. Not totally uncommon in games today, but it does have a small amount of language but unlike games that just use it for cheap thrills (aka Kingpin) Condemned uses it when appropriate and it’s actually believable.
Graphics are a lot like that blonde cheerleader at school. Looks good at first and you can’t take your eyes off her chest, but then if you look closer it’s not as beautiful as you first thought and you begin telling yourself that they are fake. Cutscenes are some of the most fluent and best looking I’ve seen in a while, but characters can look a little rough, and so do some of the environments. It’s not a bad looking game, but it certainly could have been a little better.
Sound on the other hand is perfect! It’s freaky, guns sound like they have some balls, and all the freaky bad guys do sound genuinely spooky! There is no real music in the game, but in this sort of game you spend too long on the edge of your seat to reallise, its just like a horror movie, insert sharp strings here to startle the viewer, but it works and that’s what counts.
Instead of collecting dead birds there are sonar emitters to destroy in each level, as well as news reports to be viewed or listened to on radios and TV’s. You will also find yourself making vocal responses to questions which is a nice touch. One aspect of the game that could cause controversy is that you are actually encouraged to make Ethan drink alcohol to calm his nerves and feed his addiction to steady your aim when using firearms. I thought this aspect was cool, but I bet the Catholic Church and Alcoholics Anonymous will have some gripes.
Worse than an all expenses trip paid at the Neverland Ranch is the multiplayer aspect of the game. It feels tacked on, weak and after about ten minutes I’d be willing never to look at it again. The first title survived fine without multiplayer and I feel that the developers should have felt the same about this one, but it seems to be the trend to throw in some shitty multiplayer for the hell of it these days.
All in all Condemned 2 is a great sequel, has fixed a bunch of broken mechanics from the first title, but still manages to tie it all in and keeps the players engrossed in the story. The addition of combos in the fighting mechanics, finishing moves and a less linear investigation process has made this game really shine as being original and interesting. If you aren’t squeamish, I’d recommend you get yourself a copy, turn the lights off and play it in the dark, and you will most likely need a spare change of underwear