Saturday, January 21, 2012
1/21/2012 04:57:00 AM cars 2 , crysis 2 , oddworld , PlayStation 3 , PSN , Rainbow Six , Splinter Cell , Tom Clancy
Friday, January 20, 2012
Klonoa isn't synonymous with the platforming genre like a certain moustachioed plumber is, but he deserves to be. Namco’s little guy is behind some of the most unique outings you’ll find, despite being in the same store that houses countless other classics and new games alike. If you’re not repulsed by the cuddliness and enjoy the occasional hop fest, head to PSN right now.
The basic premise is that Klonoa and his friend Huepow are off on a quest to save a diva from
generic villain #06713 the evil Ghadius and his right-hand lackey. The heroic duo will journey through various kingdoms and villages, stopping to battle vicious monsters and corrupted allies along the way. With such cutesy visuals, music, and dialog you would think of it as a typical storyline, but there are actually some interesting twists. Admittedly a lot of it is disposable, but it serves is purpose just fine.
As said earlier, Door to Phantomile truly does inject new life into the platforming genre. Rather than squashing your foes, shooting them up, or throwing punches, Klonoa uses his magical ring to pick them up and carry them. They can then be used to pelt other enemies, give you an extra jump boost, or thrown away. Foes too big to carry can be stunned by the ring, transforming them into platforms. Klonoa also comes equipped with a fluttery jump ala Yoshi’s Island, so precision is never an issue when hopping from platform to platform (unless you’re downright sloppy). The two abilities combined enabled the developers to come up with creative puzzles that require you to make use of every trick in your arsenal.
With only 14 main levels, the game is undeniably short, but there’s still enough to do after completion of the story to justify the price. Most of that extra value comes from replaying the old stages, for hidden throughout them are various denizens of the world trapped in bubbles. You’ll need to rescue them if you seek to unlock the final level.
It’s worth saying that unlike the Wii remake, this version only has three hearts (representations of stamina) instead of five. That means the game actually has some semblance of challenge on rare occasions, since you can’t be completely reckless. You’re given a generous amount of lives to survive the reasonably lengthy levels, but some of the last few may test your mettle.
The visuals, though still somewhat aesthetically presentable, are beginning to show their age. While the worlds inhabited by the creatures and tribes of the world are colourful and inspired, the PlayStation’s polygonal appearance and blurriness have been less kind. Namco also tried to utilize some 3D effects during more gimmicky sequences, leading to a handful of bizarre moments where you question how you were even hit.
With that said, most of the other 3D portions are used effectively for solving puzzles and navigating the levels themselves. You can face the background to grab enemies, activate switches, or access cleverly hidden shortcuts and secrets. Door to Phantomile is arguably one of the most dynamic “2.5D” platformers to date in that the extra half dimension actually comes into play for something other than fanciness.
Like the visuals, the soundtrack is consistent with the happy theme. It oozes charm, albeit a kind that may be off-putting for some mature players. That annoyance may be compounded by the characters that spout gibberish dialog while the on-screen text is visible. There’s unfortunately no option to turn off the incessant babble, so it may be advisable to keep the sound off if all the joyousness frustrates you (though you will miss out).
Namco truly outdid itself - nearly 15 years after its release, Door to Phantomile is still one of the freshest platformers available. If you can get past the cuteness, the core gameplay makes every niggle irrelevant. It can’t outdo the PlayStation 2 sequel, but that says a lot when its main competitor is digitally unreleased .
1/20/2012 10:43:00 AM digital reality , grasshopper manufacture , sine mora , Xbox Live , Xbox Live Arcade
1/20/2012 09:30:00 AM Sonic Adventure , Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing , Sonic CD , Sonic Generations , Steam
Sonic 4: Episode 1 for over a year, but Steam users have been less fortunate. Sonic CD and Sonic 4 are now available on Steam for $4.99 and $9.99 USD respectively.
To celebrate the double launch, Sega is bringing down the price of older Sonic games by up to 75%. The selection is certainly uncanny.
Sonic Adventure DX - $4.49
Sonic Generations - $14.99
Sega and Sonic All Stars Racing - $4.49
Sonic the Hedgehog - $2.49
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - $2.49
Sonic 3 & Knuckles - $2.49
Sonic Spinball - $2.49
Sonic 3D Blast - $2.49
Yes, the stellar Sonic Generations is half price. Better grab it at the speed of sound, since the sale lasts for only this weekend. Check them out.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
1/19/2012 09:35:00 AM grand theft auto , GTA , kingdoms of amalur , Max Payne , san andreas , update , XBLA , Xbox , Xbox 360 , Xbox Live , Xbox Live Arcade
Ranking the Zelda games is perhaps the most daunting task Nick and I have ever faced in our gaming journalism careers. No series has been this venerated and loved by gamers so universally and it’s a hell of a thing deciding what is better than another, especially when over the 25 year history of Zelda comparing a certain title to another can be like weighing a tonne of apples against a tonne of kumquats. It’s all very tricky, but we have here a list that we have picked after careful debate of a few handpicked games in the franchise. These are the standout games in the series. Sometimes flawed, always breathtaking to legions of fans.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
There’s something to be said for a good portable strategy game. Mecho Wars does an admirable job of bringing that action to PlayStation Minis, a service that could certainly use a few more. It may not win points for the most original gameplay, but the developers definitely chose a good blueprint to borrow from.
Mecho Wars follows the conflict between the Winged Brigade and the Landians. Story is the driving force behind a lot of my favourite strategy titles, so it was a great disappointment to see that there’s not much of one to speak of.
Thankfully, the game itself makes up for this. Your goal is to lead your army to victory, taking over the opponent’s land and prevent any new enemies from spawning. You take turns with the computer controlling soldier units on a grid composed of various environments. The troops themselves are rather diverse, for they have their own advantages and disadvantages ala rock-paper-scissors. There are the ranged units, flying units, infantry, and more. If you’ve ever played Fire Emblem or Advance Wars, you’ll feel instantly at home with how the game unfolds.
There’s a decent amount of depth to all this, with my favourite aspect being that the environment actually comes into play. For example, there’s a time system going on in the background that determines when water will freeze into ice. When it does, you can then walk on it, opening up all kinds of new strategies against the foe - or severely crippling your own defence. Other parts of a map will increase your defence in exchange for offense and some will even replenish your health.
Unlike some strategy titles, though, Mecho Wars can seemingly go on forever if you don’t know what you’re doing and just keep blindly killing enemies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but those with less patience might feel like they’re making zero progress. The Landians will re-spawn infinitely until you conquer them, and since you can do the same, it’s perfectly fair to expect you to think of a plan.
Regrettably, the interface is not as nice as the combat. The core issue is that things like the time are not accessible during your turn at all. The menu only contains an option to end the turn or return to the main menu, which is nice and all, but some battle statistics would be genuinely useful for this type of game. You do have access to unit descriptions, which is something. Lastly, pressing O during a dialog scene will kick you back to the main menu rather than do anything productive. It feels like a very random place to insert such a thing, as opposed to the ability to re-read text you may have skipped over.
Even after beating the game, you get a wealth of content for your buck. There are extraneous challenge maps and a multiplayer mode to keep you occupied for at least 15 hours. The latter can played with just one console, so there’s no need for a friend to purchase the game or go through the annoyance of setting up a wireless battle. Take turns passing the PSP around and blow each other to smithereens as you try to take control of your opponent’s land for some solid entertainment (and preferable intelligence).
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the entire game is the visual style from Luc Bernard. The man has established himself as a fascinating artist and his work translates well to the zany creatures that populate Mecho Wars’ world. The soundtrack, however, is composed of generic tunes that are filler at best.
Mecho Wars offers decent strategy gameplay for an affordable price. It’s not the king of the genre by any stretch and could certainly see numerous improvements in the hopeful sequel, but it’s still worth checking out (especially if the PS Minis service is your only source for indie games).
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
1/16/2012 10:06:00 PM 40in1 megamix , eShop , Nintendo 3DS , Nintendo Wii , Prince of Persia , WiiWare
What if I told you that a little indie game that features a light, fluffy cloud at the end of a rainbow as the playable character was actually a hellish tale of Armageddon? Read on.
These rumours come from Kevin Dent, an industry insider who works for the IGDA, who stated on his Twitter that THQ had cancelled development of Dark Millenium Online and had returned the intellectual property that they had licensed from Disney/Pixar. Because of this, people are also beginning to speculate that THQ may also return the licenses they have with WWE and UFC, and are in the beginning stages of shutting down for good.
THQ is a large company that functions as both a large publisher and developer in the industry. They own some critically acclaimed development studios, such as Relic Entertainment, Volition Inc. and Vigil Games, and have been responsible for bringing us acclaimed titles such as Company of Heroes, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Saint's Row, Red Faction, Darksiders and many others. THQ was also the company behind the uDraw tablet, something that our EIC really appreciated. It was Vigil Games, the new studio that developed Darksiders, that was working on Dark Millenium Online.
My take? I believe they did actually cancel Dark Millenium Online. (Sorry, Warhammer fans!) After seeing the extremely successful launch that BioWare's MMO The Old Republic received, THQ made a calculated decision to cease production on what would, ultimately, become a failed project. The MMO crowd is not easily swayed and going against such stiff competition would only lead to failure.
|Will we actually see Dark Millenium Online? Probably not.|
Is THQ getting ready to close down? Of course not!
Besides, in October last year, THQ founded a new studio in Montreal with Patrice Désilets, the creative director behind Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II. THQ also signed a deal with tech experts Crytek for the development of Homefront 2, to be developed by Crytek's Nottingham studio. They even announced a joint project with famed film director Guillermo del Toro, a game titled inSANE, which would feature del Toro as a creative director. All of these deals marked huge successes for THQ in the latter half of the year, leaving the prospect of their future even brighter than before.
To be fair, however, 2011 was marked by only marginal success for THQ, with titles like Red Faction: Armageddon and Homefront failing in the market. Further still, THQ closed five (five!) subsidiary studios in 2011, and stated the intent to move away from kid and movie-licensed titles and instead focusing on "high-quality owned IP".
Maybe that move involves returning the Disney/Pixar license? Maybe this was something planned by THQ all along? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, what do you think is going on at the THQ HQ? Tell us in the comments!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The game will launch on the 19th of this month, although Namco Bandai did not reveal any pricing information. Here's hoping this port is a successful one, as it may be difficult to pull off some of the maneuvers from the original game with only two potential touch points at a time. It at least looks the part.
Check out the trailer below: