Microsoft vs. Nintendo vs. Sony

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Video Game Releases for May 23-29, 2010


-UFC Undisputed 2010


-UFC Undisputed 2010
-Modnation Racers


-Super Mario Galaxy 2
-Tetris Party Deluxe

-Dawn of Heroes
-Tetris Party Deluxe

-Hexyz Force
-ModNation Racers

What are you picking up this week?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: Alan Wake

Alan Wake is a game that has had a long development cycle since it was announced back in 2005 at E3 and had been in the planning stages as early as 2001. Many wondered if this game was ever going to be released. Well, the wait is over and does the Xbox 360 exclusive deliver on the promises and hype?

The answer is yes it delivers in every way. Alan Wake is a survival horror third-person shooter psychological thriller. The story follows suspense-thriller writer Alan Wake in uncovering the mystery behind the disappearance of his wife while on vacation in idyllic small-town Bright Falls, and having to deal with blackouts and visions of characters and ideas from his latest novel which he hasn't written yet, coming to life. The story plays in an episodic format, with a television show-style presentation where each episode/chapter brings another piece to the puzzle of the main plot amongst the mystery. The game is paced very well and delivers a complete experience with a chilling storyline.

The gameplay is an action game with light playing a significant role in gameplay. The enemies called "the Taken" are sensitive to light that encourage the player to take advantage of environmental light sources and place significant emphasis on the flashlight as a primary weapon. You will use you flashlight as your main weapon to defeat the darkness that surrounds "the Taken" along with standard weapons such as shotguns, flare guns, and rifles.

The graphics are simply amazing from the very detailed environment of Bright Falls to the weather, architecture, vegetation, and lighting effects are used very properly to create a stunning atmosphere. This game needs to be played in HD to see the true look of the visuals. The sound is just as impressive and if played in surround sound the effects will really engage you in story and environment around you.


-Graphics look amazing, very detailed
-Great story, characters
-Impressive soundtrack sets perfect mood
-Combat mechanics always made you feel a threat coming


-Slightly repetitive
-Very little replay (8-10 hrs.) game length
-Facial Animations

Overall, Alan Wake is an incredible game with a great cast of characters, story, and a fulfilling and satisfying game experience. The scary atmosphere and story kept me on the edge the whole time. Also, with new episodes coming soon as downloadable content you will keep coming back for more. If you are looking for a survival horror action game this is the game to play. I would recommend a buy especially if you own an Xbox 360. Remedy Entertainment has really outdone themselves and Alan Wake has become one of the most impressive games of 2010.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Video Game Releases for May 17-23, 2010


- Red Dead Redemption
- Split/Second
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- Shrek Forever After
- Alan Wake


- Red Dead Redemption
- Split/Second
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- Shrek Forever After


- Trauma Team
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

- Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- Shrek Forever After

- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

What are you picking up this week?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2 is finally released and does it live up to expectations? The answer is unfortunately very mixed. The controls still feel unimproved and remain clunky from the original. The story of Lost Planet 2 takes place ten years later as the formerly frozen EDN III has begun to thaw while more pirate factions are fighting for territory. Meanwhile, military organization NEVEC has plans to exploit the massive Cat-G Akrid that have begun to appear for their valuable thermal energy, even if their goals destroy the planet in the process. The campaign is around 10-15 hrs. in length depending on difficulty and puts you in the role of several different factions throughout the story. The game does despite it's shortcomings have some great qualities. The graphics utilizing the MT Framework 2.0 engine look amazing with many new environments in the jungle and desert along with snow from the original. The scale of the bosses in this game are incredible and very detailed.

Some of the problems I had with the story were gameplay issues such as no checkpoints between missions. This means you'll need to complete a full chapter to save your progress in Lost Planet 2 which can often take more than an hour to play through. This means that should you die near the end of a chapter trying to figure out what the game wants you to do, which it never really tells you, you'll have to play the whole thing over again. There's also no jump-in co-op, as new players will be forced to wait in a lobby until the other players in the game reach the next mission in a chapter before they can join the session. Campaign levels feel like multiplayer maps populated by enemy soldiers and akrid, and little attention to balance difficulty or fairness is apparent. You will die over and over at certain points as enemy akrid or vital suits camp your spawn points. There is some satisfaction to be found from conquering these enormous monsters, but it's always grim, the kind of satisfaction that comes from an end to frustration rather than a sense of accomplishment.

The co-op multiplayer is very mixed. I have had no issues so far with lag. The various modes are here with elimination, team elimination, and post grab. There are five factions to choose from in multiplayer including: Femmes Fatales, Rounders, Fight Junkies, Snow Pirate Elites, and NEVEC Black Ops. You can also customize various aspects of your character with different weapons, clothes, etc. I had the most enjoyment playing Lost Planet 2 in multiplayer by far.


-Graphics look great with various new environments in the jungle, desert, snow
-Boss battles are epic in scale
-Co-op multiplayer is fun


-Campaign story not as compelling as original
-Controls still feel unimproved

Overall, it is hard to recommend Lost Planet 2 with it's faults. The co-op and multiplayer are great but story felt not as strong as the original. If you are a fan of Lost Planet and like the multiplayer component then you would still enjoy it. For everyone else I would recommend a rent at the most.

Score: 6/10

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Retro Review: The Adventures of Batman and Robin

My first retro review will be about a classic game I enjoyed when I first got a SEGA Genesis. Batman is my favorite DC character and unfortunately his games have always been hit or miss over the years with many bad and some good. The Adventures of Batman and Robin was released on SNES, Genesis, and SEGA CD. However, each game was significantly different on each console. I'm going to focus on the SEGA Genesis version and maybe in the future update this review regarding the other versions or do separate reviews of other games. All the games are based off the animated series but there are some differences. I will point out the SEGA CD version consists of levels involving chase sequences for flight and driving and FMV curtscenes from a "lost episode" from the animated series. The SNES version is an action-adventure platformer as well but has a different look and visual style. They all contain classic villains from the animated series as well.

The Adventures of Batman and Robin is a classic side scrolling 16-bit beat-'em up action title. You can choose from two characters: Batman and Robin. It can be played with 1 or 2 players. The gameplay is very similar to other beat-'em up titles like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Turtles in Time, etc. You fight enemies that come you way until you get to the end of level then fight a boss. The classic villains like The Joker, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Harley Quinn are all here. I really enjoyed the run and gun gameplay mechanics. The Genesis version is easily my favorite version of the three followed by SNES and SEGA CD.


-Classic beat-'em up gamplay with 2-players
-Impressive special effects on Genesis
-Music by Jesper Kyd is impressive really sets the mood and atmosphere for levels and boss battles one of my favorite soundtracks from 16-bit era


-Very challenging, difficult
-Flight levels slightly long

Verdict: If you like Batman and have a SEGA Genesis pick up this classic gem. It is worth every penny and can be found nowadays for less than $5. Overall, I would rate it a 4 out of 5. It's a very solid game with some difficulty in later levels of the game.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Super Street Fighter IV Review

Street Fighter IV brings back 2D fighters to the front with a new visual style and balanced yet deep gameplay. Many gamers were hoping with DLC available to developers they could release the new Super version online but this was not the case. Capcom has done this before in the past with the franchise. Street Fighter II anyone? The question is does this new release deliver and was it necessary?

There has been an introduction of new characters in the Super release. The first benefit of Super Street Fighter IV is you will have all the characters unlocked from the beginning, making every character instantly selectable upon loading the game the first time unlike the original. Capcom has removed the need to play through the arcade a number of times. All the new characters have different styles meaning there is something to cover every players taste. Some of the new characters that stand out are Hakan the greased up Turk who seems very strong and Juri who is very fast.

Ten new characters have been introduced into Super Street Fighter IV but other changes include two ultra moves for all the characters new or old. You can chose which move you wish to have at your disposal before the battle. It has added more variety to the gameplay. Hakan and Juri are the only two new characters on the roster with the other eight new characters being characters that have featured in previous version in the franchise.

There have been some tweaks to the gameplay. Some of the changes have taken place with the character with them being tweaked. So the characters are now balanced and the moves are two. The game has also had some new online modes added, as well with some new challenges making the game offer more than Street Fighter IV.

Arcade mode you will find yourself coming faced with bonus stages which has brought back smashing up a car and barrels like in the previous entries in the franchise. Many gamers will have fond memories of it if they’ve followed the franchise. The arcade mode otherwise has not been changed aside from some new cutscenes. Once you have completed Arcade Mode the bonus stages become unlocked in Challenge Mode.

Online is where the game modes and changes are present. The change has only improved the community for Street Fighter players. Some of the best changes are the introduction of the replay channel, which lets users record their fights and play them back. This also keeps the best fights from the community in a whole and lets other people watch them, and learn from them in some cases. There is also the introduction of the online Team and Endless battles, this lets a group of friends play together, and chat to everyone in the room throughout play.

This delivers with the changes that have been made that easily warrant the full release. Super Street Fighter IV has once again brought 2D fighting games back to the forefront. The introduction of new characters,moves, gameplay tweaks to make it more balanced, and the introduction of new modes makes Super Street Fighter IV the game for fighter fans to own, if not the best fighter available right now.

Verdict: It is only $40 for the definitive version of Street Fighter IV with new characters, network online gameplay revamped, and new modes like Endless Battle and Team battle. If you purchased Street Fighter IV it is really worth it's value.

A tribute to the Sega Dreamcast

Before I begin, thanks to all loyal reader of my blog!! I wrote this because I think the Dreamcast was a kick ass system with cool features. I was also reminiscing about past video game consoles I own and wanted to write a tribute about Dreamcast. I'm so glad I still have mine. It will always have a special place in my heart in gaming. I also wanted to talk about it since it has been a decade since the end of the Dreamcast.

Anyways, onwards to the greatness of SEGA..

The great Dreamcast Games:

The Sega Dreamcast was released on November 27, 1998 in Japan; on September 9, 1999 in North America (the date 9/9/99 featured heavily in U.S. promotion); and on October 14, 1999 in Europe. The tagline used to promote the console in the U.S. was, "It's thinking", and in Europe, "Up to [6 Billion] Players."

Sega Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem and Internet support for online gaming. Previous consoles such as the Genesis, Saturn, NES and SNES had online capabilities, but these were comparably limited and/or required extra hardware (XBAND, NetLink, Sega Channel).

Sega Dreamcast enjoyed brisk sales in its first season, and was one of Sega's most successful hardware units. In the United States alone, a record 300,000 units had been pre-ordered and Sega sold 500,000 consoles in just two weeks (including 225,132 sold on the first 24 hours which became a video game record). In fact, due to brisk sales and hardware shortages, Sega was unable to fulfill all of the advance orders.

Sega confirmed that it made US$98.4 million on combined hardware and software sales with Dreamcast with its September 9, 1999 launch.



In April 1999, Sony announced its PlayStation 2. The actual release of the PS2 was not until March 2000 in Japan, and October 26, 2000 in the United States. Sony's press release, despite being a year ahead of the launch of the PS2, was enough to divert a lot of attention from Sega. With the looming PS2 launch in Japan, the Dreamcast was largely ignored in that territory. While the system had great initial success in the United States, it had trouble maintaining this momentum after news of the PS2's release. The PS2 sparked the DVD market and hadn't caught on in Japan at the time and also was the cheapest DVD player.

Dreamcast sales grew 156.5% from July 23, 2000 to September 30, 2000 putting Sega ahead of Nintendo 64 in that period. For the month of November 2000, Dreamcast passed the Nintendo 64 as the second best selling system. During that time, the PlayStation 2 was plagued by production shortages, with people often paying in excess of $1000 on eBay for Sony's next-generation console. However, Dreamcast's online capabilities through SegaNet, and a price cut around the second half of 2000 (which made it half the price of the PS2) did little to help sales once the PlayStation 2 was launched. American public attention also noted the Playstation 2's much hyped graphics and its ability to play DVDs, as it cost less than a standalone player at the time.

A key to Sony's relatively easy success with the PlayStation 2 was that they already enjoyed brand-name dominance over Sega after the huge success of the original PlayStation, while Sega's reputation had been hurt due to commercial failure of the Sega Saturn, Sega 32X, and Sega CD. In particular, Sega's attempt to quickly kill off the struggling Saturn (which lagged in North America and Europe) in favour of Dreamcast had angered many third-party developers in Japan, where the Saturn had still been able to hold its own. While initial Dreamcast sales were strong, many prospective buyers and game developers were still skeptical of Sega and they held off from committing, possibly to see which console would prevail. By early 2001, game publishers abandoned Dreamcast development en masse in favor of the PlayStation 2 and canceled many nearly completed projects (notably Half-Life).

In 2000, the announcements of the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube were widely regarded as the last straw for Dreamcast, which fueled speculation that Sega did not have the resources for a prolonged marketing campaign.

Newest Retro Gaming systems I picked up

I recently got a Famicom(Japanese NES) and Panasonic Q Gamecube systems. I always wanted a Famicom for some of the Japanese import games. The Panasonic Q was mainly cause I think it looks awesome!! I like the nice shiny finish and it plays my Gamecube games and DVD's.

New changes

I am back and plan to update blog more often than I have been able to due to work and other different issues that have come up. It has been about a year or so since I last updated my blog and since then I have been to a ton of gaming, anime, comic, and other conventions in 2009 such as PAX, Comic-Con, WonderCon, Distant Worlds Final Fantasy concert, Video Games Live, and many others. Thanks for checking out my blog!! I look forward to feedback and comments. I plan on doing video reviews hopefully in the future and possibly a podcast weekly. I am also going to be doing some retro and import gaming reviews.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Halo: Reach Beta Impressions

Halo: Reach beta started today and my first impression was fun multi-player action. The graphics looked a bit sharper with some of the textures but not mindblowing either. I did like the different armor abilities such as the sprint and jet pack. The Head Hunter mode is fun with how unpredictable it can be with arsenal of new weapons like the marksmen rifle. The premise is that each time you kill an opponent they drop a skull, and each skull you collect can be banked at one of the two scoring zones that periodically move around the map. For each skull you bank, you receive a point. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins, but you can end the game at any moment and claim victory by banking ten skulls in one transaction.

I have experienced no lag so far or other issues. The matchmaking is pretty good but definitely can be improved and optimized as far as connecting matches faster. I'm sure as beta finishes and game gets closer to release it will be improved. It also has classic modes like Juggernaut in beta as well. Powerhouse map was fun for small to mid-size matches. Overall, it's classic Halo multi-player with some new tweaks, weapons, and new modes.

So what do you think of beta so far?