Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit REVIEWED!

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Platform: Playstation 3, X-BOX 360, Nintendo Wii, iPhone and PC
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Criterion Games
Genre: Racing
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Rating: E10+ for Everyone 10+


Going back to its roots, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit puts you behind the most beautiful and exotic cars to become the amazing street racer, OR the most fearsome cop in Seacrest County!


You get the true source of what makes the Need For Speed (NFS) series as famous as it is! I mean MAN, it's about time we get back to NFS being NFS. After going through SO MANY BAD games that held the series' name hostage I'm so glad I can go back to being a crazed street racer, avoiding cop blockades and spike strips, then being able to be a maniac cop hunting down a set of racers tearing down the highway.

So if you ever had a chance to play the Burnout racing series, understand that the same team behind that is the very same one who made this gem. So your car now takes some real serious DAMAGE. It's pretty insane to see your car flying down the street against oncoming traffic either avoiding cops or taking someone down and suddenly... BOOM, you just kissed a van head-on! But unlike Burnout: Paradise (the latest of the Burnout series), you get to drive licensed vehicles, and you are not driving around [forever] in a free-roaming city waiting for something to happen.

When it comes to the graphics, I guarantee you will be shocked at how clean and polished this game looks, especially (for the detail oriented gamers) since it doesn't run at 60 frames, but at 30! This game downright excites me! So much fun to play and to look at. The scenery is just beautiful. You can see the that when it rained in an area that the street is actually wet and the physics of the game changes with the climate change. So expect to adjust your turns and controlling your speed so you don't collide into a wall, guardrail, truck, or a divide. The music is top notch. They get the rights to share some really good popular music that really put you into the mood to race your butt off. 30 Seconds To Mars has a song on here that made me REALLY want to get more of their music just because I now associate "AWESOME" and "FAST" with their sound. It's also kind of funny hearing the police force get flustered when you get past one of there many obstacles.

Speaking of obstacles, you get weapons for both your cop car and for your street car. YUP! Weapons! With the cop cars you get to call for a blockade, drop spike strips right behind you while driving, a helicopter (to hunt and slow down racers that are getting away) and an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) to temporarily immobilize targets right in front of you. BANANAS! As an illegal street racer you get a turbo so you can blast right through roadblocks, jammers (shuts down all radar/maps and EMPs they were about to shoot), spike strips, and EMPs!! SUPER BANANAS!!

The coolest thing they added was the AUTOLOG. This is a way to combine multiplayer with your single player career mode. It will post online any of your accomplishments and you can compete against your friends' career mode skills without having to play each other right then and there. If someone tops your time the game will let you know the next time you start the game up, which if you get as competitive as I do will lead to you replaying certain races just to stay on top. Also with Autolog you can post on the WALL with a message with it, so you can brag hard.

Online gameplay is very important and they did a great job with this game. You can enter a room and play against 7 other people. What is interesting is the way the system picks half of you to be racers while the other half plays as the cops trying to stop the racers from reaching the finish line. It seems that NFS tries to keep it even by not making you a racer every time you play so that your stats can expand evenly. You also get to use the weapons that are in the career mode to help you succeed.


Okay, now I can't really say that this game comes with many cons, but they exist. One of the things that bother me is that there's no split screen multiplayer, which is kind of a bummer. I really want to send a friend sitting next to me crashing into a wall or other cars. The difficulty is weird because the first set of races are so easy that sometimes I purposely tried to lose but when you come to a certain spot in the race the AI cars seem to slow down. Later you get challenge races where you have to use a specific car for some type of time trial and it seems that it's almost impossible to get the gold. Frustration ensues.


When I played the limited time only demo, I knew this was going to be an excellent game. I bought it and I am MORE than pleased with it. If you are looking for a fun arcade style racing game that is truly the love-child of classic Need For Speed with the graphics and physics of Burnout, then do yourself a big favor and pick this game up!

Final Rating: 5 out of 5

- Jason

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010) Review

Platform(s): Nintendo WII
Developer(s): Retro Studios
Genre(s): Action-Adventure/Platformer
Rating: E for Everyone on the Wii


“Something shifty is going down on Donkey Kong Island… A tribe of mysterious marauders are putting some kind of musical voodoo spell on the island wildlife, and using them to make off with every banana in sight! Naturally, this doesn’t sit too well with Donkey Kong, whose personal banana horde has been ransacked. With pint-sized pad Diddy Kong on his shoulders, Donkey Kong sets out to get to the bottom of this banana burglary brouhaha.” (This is straight from Nintendo’s site)


Everything J I fully admit to loving this game from childhood but it is a great game and continues to impress on the Wii. The games consists of eight worlds and 40 levels. There are multiple features that are bound to amuse, entrance and enjoy. I’ll list a few of my favorites: What was quite amazing and lots o’ fun was barrel shooting. This feature existed back when the original came out (on SNES in 1994) yet there it is even more thorough as you can do so from a foreground to a background. (Although this is true, this is a 3D rendered game yet with 2D playing) You can then proceed forward in the background (with Donkey’s size still small - reflecting the adjustment for depth) - so absolutely neat! Amidst this barrel shooting, you can also break through walls. This has no functional purpose but is another detail-oriented visual that makes you appreciate all the work put into this game.

What makes having it on the Wii an advantage (besides the vibrant and sharp coloring, of course) is what you can do as a result of the motion sensitive controller. For Donkey Kong to pound the ground you shake the Wii-mote up and down. In addition, he can blow by holding the down arrow and shaking the Wii mote up and down. (This is needed for those Tiki monsters that are ablaze or to blow on flowers that reveal hidden treasures)

Another new and fabulous feature is Kong’s ability to hold onto any grass that covers ceilings, boulders etc. This allows for many new ways to travel (and avoid enemies) along with a newly learned, bit-of-skill-requiring boss battle.

What we all look for in games besides the fun factor, is replay value. After hours of working on a game run, what makes you want to pick it back up and play again? Donkey Kong Country features the collection of letters to spell out KONG (as was true of the first one) and puzzle pieces throughout each level you have to collect (New). Once you’ve collected each piece and reached the end of the level, all the pieces fit together to create one puzzle piece. Not certain yet what picture this puzzle is creating but I can’t wait to go back and find out! This video seems to imply that if you finish the whole level without dying, you’ll obtain both the KONG pieces and the puzzle piece yet maybe this is an interpretation issue:

I’m pretty certain that attempting to obtain all these items is enough to keep you busy for quite some time.

To add to the replay appeal, is the option to have two players. As was the case in the New Super Mario Brothers game, also on the Wii, this was a struggle as you had to pick a leader and a follower from the outset. Yet it provided many laughs and I know as a gamer, a healthy challenge is always what our pride desires. A quite helpful addition is Diddy’s stuttering jetpack. Although he cannot last long, the few seconds longer of flight time has saved my keister more than a few times

The game is not easy or hard but certainly challenging especially new the end. A helpful feature for those who may get stuck is an “auto play” feature that appears if you’ve died enough times in a level. It gives you the option to have the system play through the level for you. It will complete it and you’ll be able to move on but the world view will still show that level as if it were incomplete (hinting at you to finish it yourself!).


I have none! The only complaint I’ve heard was the inability to play with Diddy unless you are in co-op mode. If this is all there is to whine about, I’d say you have a winner!


BEST INVESTMENT OF THE YEAR (even over Christmas gift ;)) Seriously though, there seem to be no downsides with the exception of the number of hours of sleep you will not get as a result of playing.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5

sources: http://donkeykong.nintendo.com; www.youtube.com

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 Review

Platform: X-BOX 360, Playstation 3
Developer(s): CyberConnect2
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Genre(s): Fighting
Rating: T for Teen

Anime-based video games…it’s the one type – if you could call it a type – of video games that usually doesn’t leave a good taste in people’s mouths. Reason why: while the series provides crazy, over-the-top action, the game puts heavy limits on how over-the-top the mayhem can get. However, there have been a few games that have gotten fans attention recently. The main one being the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, Ultimate Ninja Storm being its highly-acclaimed hit. Can the sequel raise the bar on what its predecessor brought to the table?

The Story:

First off, if you know the story of Naruto, either because you follow the manga/anime series, then you know what’s going on and you want to skip this part. With that being said…

Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 picks up where its predecessor – and the entire season of Naruto – left off. The story revolves around an older and slightly more matured Uzumaki Naruto and his quest to save his friend Uchiha Sasuke from the grips of the snake-like Shinobi, Orochimaru. After 2 and a half years Naruto finally returns to his village of Konoha, and sets about putting his ambitions to work, though it will not be easy, as He has amassed a few (more dangerous) enemies, in the likes of the shinobi organization; Akatsuki.

The Pros:

To start this off, I’ll say this: if you have a game that can draw in fans, even when they aren’t fans of the series or Japanese animation in general, then you have a solid pro. The combat in this game is where the game shines at. Combat has a high risk of getting insane, which is exactly how it is in the series. Every move can still be evaded with the Kawarimi no Jutsu (Substitution Jutsu – a well-timed block will get you behind the opponent when he attacks), which is still one of the best defensive mechanic in fighting games. Reason why: it makes sure that there's no chances for infinite combos.

An improved feature that they’ve added to the game is the Team Assists, which is a pro. With the addition of the Support Drive meter and the option to choose what type of support your character does (attack, defense, and balance), it adds a new depth to the combat. It gives the option of letting a character continue a combo, stopping an opponent from charging in, and even pushing the character out of the way when an Ougi (Ultimate Jutsu) lands. And, there’s also the Triple-Team Ultimate, where all three characters attack, ending with the main character performing his finishing technique on the opponent.

A personal pro of mine is how well the story was done in the game. Simply put, when you do story mode, you’re literally playing the series. All the events in the game are the same thing that happened in the series, which is another plus for the game. Also, the crazy boss battles that the predecessor had are back and better than ever. And with 44 characters in the game, including Lars Alexandersson from Tekken 6 (his alternate costume in Tekken 6 was designed by Masashi Kishimoto, creator of Naruto)…well, it’s self-explanatory from there.

The Cons:

Sadly, there are some objectionable downsides of the game and they have to do with what was taken out of the game. A main con is the loss of the Jutsu Clashes, where if two techniques collide, the two players will battle it out in a button-mashing contest to see who wins. It’s no longer in there so if two Jutsus hit, they’ll cancel each other out unless the technique’s not a projectile.

Another con is the loss of the Ougi Battles. When a player did an Ougi (Ultimate Jutsu), they would have to input a displayed button command to see if the move would connect. With that no longer in the game, it’s just a case of “if it hits, then it’s over”. Not that it takes anything away from the game overall, but it’s a bit of a downer in my eyes.


For fans of the series (video games, anime or both), Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 is a must to buy. If you’ve played the first one, then you’re going to enjoy this new installment. Everything that was great in Ultimate Ninja Storm is back along with new stuff and an Online mode, so you’ll be getting your $60 worth. And if this is your first introduction to the Ultimate Ninja Storm series, well…you’ll have your mind blown away by this game. Crisp graphics, an excellent story mode with good replay value, epic boss battles and combat that rivals the action in the series…you can’t ask for more.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Review

Platform: Playstation Network, X-BOX Live Arcade, WiiWare, iPod/iPhone
Developer(s): Sonic Team, Dimps
Genre(s): Platformer
Rating: E for Everyone

So it seems that this year has been dropping two things: highly anticipated sequels/prequels and reinventions of our all-time favorite titles. This time, SEGA has decided to grace us with the sequel – I’m sorry, the true sequel – to its classic series that had everyone in front of their Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is out, but is it the blue hedgehog’s rise to fame or nothing more than a pitfall to a spiky doom?


Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is set shortly after its predecessor Sonic & Knuckles; in the game, Sonic destroys Doctor Eggman's space station, the Death Egg. With the Death Egg destroyed and Angel Island returned to the sky, Sonic decides that it is time to take a break. After parting with Tails and Knuckles, he sets off to explore new territories alone; however, unbeknownst to him, his nemesis Dr. Eggman has survived their last encounter, and has revisited and rehashed some of his "very best" robotic creations in another attempt to defeat Sonic. Sonic must travel through a variety of zones to defeat Doctor Eggman once again.


So, from the start, I’ll just say that I’m a fan of the older Sonic series (Sonic the Hedgehog – Sonic & Knuckles and both Sonic Adventure games). And the first – and possibly major – pro that I’ll list on here is that Sonic 4: Episode 1 is a true sequel of the Genesis series games. The developers did what they said they would do: they kept everything exactly like the original games that we all grew up on. And that in itself is a major pro.

A major pro for this game was the controls. The controls were basic Sonic controls: D-Pad/Analog to move, and face buttons to jump. The Spin Dash is back and they even gifted the blue blur with the Homing Attack. And honestly, that’s all you really need to play a Sonic game…no guns or psychic powers, just jumps, spin dashes, and homing attacks.

The stages are another pro for this game. All the zones in the game are reminiscent of the old school games graphically, but are a bit more challenging in this installment. It’s guaranteed that you’ll get a bit stuck in some zones on this one. Also, the music is a solid pro for this game. All of the Sonic games had memorable music and this one is no different.


Although this game is great, it has its downsides. For starters, as sharp as the graphics are, it seems that our blue blur of a hero goes a bit slower in this game. Compared to earlier installments – especially Sonic 2 – Sonic seems to run with a leg cramp in this game. Not that it’s alarmingly slow; it’s just that he’s not as speedy as he was before. Also, the amount of stages is another con. When you break it down, you have 4 zones with 3 acts and a boss battle. Add in the 7 special stages and the final boss battle and you have 24 stages that honestly go a bit quick for hardcore players. Granted, it’s the first episode and you expect that but…eh.

Also, another con is the lack of competitiveness in this one. They’ve added in a time attack and score attack mode and you’re able to post up your times on the XBL/PSN/WiiWare leader boards, but there’s no multiplayer. And as I said before, it’s the first episode so we don’t know exactly what will happen, but there could have been a multiplayer race mode, either local or online.


If you’re the Sonic fan that’s heavily disappointed with all the Sonic games released after Sonic Adventure 2 and wanted a revival of the old series, this game is for you. If not, then I suggest that you still get this game. Even though it’s a bit short, it’s still worth the $15/1200 MS Points that it costs for the download. And remember: this is Episode 1. Imagine what Episode 2 will bring.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Halo: Reach Review

Genre: First-person Shooter
Developer(s): Bungie
Publisher(s): Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: 9/14/2010
Rating: M
System: XBOX 360
Price: $59.99 (Standard Edition)
$79.99 (Limited Edition)
$149.99 (Legendary Edition
$399.99 (Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo: Reach Bundle)

Ok, it’s here! Halo: Reach; one of the biggest game releases of the year. If you already know the history, then skip ahead. For those who don't know, Halo is an epic about the conflict between humanity and an alien group called "The Covenant". Now that the intro is over with, let’s get down to business. Halo: Reach is a First Person Shooter (FPS for short). This is the sixth game is the franchise. It takes place between Halo Wars and the first Halo game. The game has up to 4 player co-op and up to 16 people online via Xbox LIVE. There are 5 main play modes for this installment.

The Story
The game tells the story about the "Fall of Reach". You play as Noble 6, the newest replacement member of Noble Team since their previous member died in combat. If you saw the commercials, then you already know about that. Your team is sent to find out what happened to a communication relay on the planet. Expecting to find Rebels, you discover that The Covenant is the cause behind it. This leads to the discovery of an invasion on Reach. Now you must warn the UNSC and amass a heroic assault to stop this incoming armada. This whole campaign will take about 10-12 hours by yourself; however it will take less time if you have three other players with you.

The Multiplayer!!!
The online is where you get the rest of your money’s worth. The Matchmaking mode is where you battle online players in games like: Slayer (a free-for-all death match), Team Slayer (a team death match), Elite Slayer, (Slayer but you control Elite Covenants), Infection (3 players spawn as zombies and kill or "infect" the other players) and Juggernaut (one person starts with over-shields, super speed and a gravity hammer while the other players try to kill him. The player that defeats the old Juggernaut becomes the new Juggernaut.)
Objective hosts games like Capture the Flag, King-of-the-Hill and Race. Headhunter is where you collect the skulls of your kills a-la predator. Oddball is whoever has the skull the longest wins. Assault is where you plant the bomb in the enemy's base. In Stock Pile your team collects as many flags as possible. The Territories match is like King-Of-The-Hill but there are 3 "hills". Then there is Invasion, which is as combination of Territories, Assault and Capture the Flag.
The Third is Firefight were you must survive an onslaught of Covenant. This game type ranges from Survival, Generator Defense, Rocket Fight, Sniper Fight and Gruntpocalype. This is where all the enemies are Grunts.

The Creativity!!!
If, for some reason, you decide that the on-going carnage is a bit too much for you, then you have the fourth mode titled Forge. Forge is for those who like editing and creating new maps and game types. You can make anything from old Halo maps to maps from other Halo games. Whatever you can think of you probably can do it in this mode. And finally, there is Theater. Theater is where you can save your game play, take photos and make videos. The pics and flicks you have can be uploaded for the world to see and rate. It’s like some Halo players say, "If you didn't save it, then it never happened."

The extra stuff...
For those of you who are undecided as to what edition to buy, this will help. The Limited Edition comes with the game, ONI-themed case & artifact bag, Dr. Halsey's personal journal and other classified documents, Waypoint avatar gear, and Exclusive Elite armor for multiplayer. The Legendary Edition comes with the same stuff as the Limited Edition plus exclusive SPARTAN armor effect, exclusive digital video content, and the Noble Team statue. The statue was expertly crafted by McFarlane Toys and individually numbered. All of this comes inside a large UNSC-themed case. The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo: Reach Bundle comes with the game, the 360 with built in WI-FI, 250GB built in hard drive, two wireless controllers, a black headset and is Kinect Ready.

The Pros:
There are many pros in Halo: Reach that needs to be highlighted. The enemy AI is a major pro for this game. The enemies are more skilled than in previous games, making it a more challenging aspect without the Skulls activated. Also, the armor abilities they’ve added in the game are another one. The abilities, although not mandatory to use, are useful in game play. Used wisely, it can help improve your game play in more ways than one. Another pro in the game are the “Assassinations”, a move where you melee the opponent from behind in a stealthy manner. There are several different animations of assassinations that depend on what weapon you have, what you do, and your position.

The in-game Commendations are also a pro in the game. Commendations are like in-game achievements that help track your game play progress. It’s also a useful tool for improving your game playing skills. And finally, Forge mode is another pro because they’ve improved it since its initial appearance in Halo 3. This time, it’s more user-friendly, allowing you to be a lot more creative with the mode than last time.

The Cons:
Sadly, with the good points come the bad points. First off, the friendly AI in this game is still as retarded as it was in the last installments. You’ll still have AI teammates who still can’t shoot for the life of them, still can’t drive and die too quickly. Actually, I think the only thing they improved on was the teammates not dying to quickly. Secondly, the online matchmaking has its own set of cons. The matchups you are set up in are more based on your performance in the previous match, rather than your level. So if you’re a beginner who had a good match, you’ll probably be set up in an extremely tough match next where everyone takes headshots. Also, there’s not much circulation of newer match types in Matchmaking. If you’re not just looking to play Slayer/Team Slayer and the more common matches, you may not get the chance seeing as SWAT, Infection, and Snipers are the more common types even with the new update.

The abilities have a con side to them. While they are extremely useful, there’s no real in-game tutorial on how to use them, which leaves people picking the more common ones like Sprint and Jet Pack. Also, on the weapons front, the DMR is a definite con. What is the DMR, you ask? It’s a new rifle that has the long-range precision of a sniper rifle and the short-range firing of the pistol. It’s also the most common (if not over-used) weapon of the game. The leveling up system has a small con in it, seeing as it is unbalanced when you move up to higher classes (specifically the move from Warrant Officer Grade 3 to Captain). And finally, Bungie has put on a daily credit cap for online game play, meaning that you’re unable to sit there all day and level up the entire time. Whether it’s a good point or a bad point is up in the air, however it’s still worth noting.

When the dust clears...
The 5 types Campaign, Matchmaking, Firefight, Forge and Theater will have you gone for days. Sometimes in the Campaign, the game amps up the difficulty and hands it to you but it’s not enough to have you walking away. Matchmaking and Firefight is where you earn you stripes and bragging rights. With games like Slayer, Objective and Gruntpocalype you will have a lot to talk about. . If you have the money and you like collectables get the Legendary Edition. Or, if you need a new system, get the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo: Reach Bundle. If not... I still say get this game.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jason Kanter interview... :)

We here at The Reset Button got ahold of our good friend Jason Kanter. When last we saw him (in person) I believe he had just finished up work that he did on BioShock 2. So for people who want to know more about what Jason did, or you want to know more about the industry read on...

As an audio engineer, what got you into the gaming industry?

I was working in the music/record industry as a producer and tracking/mixing engineer for a long time and in the late 90’s/early 2000’s I was seeing a significant decline in record budgets. Labels were seeing decreases in sales. They started dropping bands from their roster in droves and slashing recording budgets. This was combined with the fact that bands were becoming savvier as to what studios were capable of achieving technologically. Bands would come in knowing they had a drummer that couldn’t keep time or a singer with piss poor pitch and would expect the engineer to make them sound like god. And we would but the job became more about fixing shitty performances and less about capturing great music. It was simply not why I got into making records. Overall the horizon for record making looked pretty bleak.

Then in 2003 my brother in-law, Scott Carroll, started working for Maxis/EA as an animator on “The Sims 2”. They were in need of freelance audio editors and I’ve been an avid gamer since age 13 so I jumped at the opportunity. Although editing Simlish for 12 hours a day can be somewhat maddening, I was making good money and was able to combine my passion for audio with my love for games. After finishing “The Sims 2” I decided to make the switch to games full time and haven’t looked back since.

Besides gaming what other projects have you been involved with? Will you or have you been involved in film?

I still work on music projects from time to time and I’ve also provided sound for the occasional website or new-media project but when not working on games the majority of my time is spent working on film and television. I’ve done sound for a few projects on Comedy Central like “The Awkward Comedy Show” and this crazy animated series about a crack addicted robot called “Crackatron”. Currently I’m working on co-producing a TV show with a good friend of mine, Victor Varnado, and I have a number of film projects going on. But generally I love providing sound for anything visual.

Working on games as a sound designer I’ve learned how satisfying it can be to add sound to an otherwise silent scene. Sound designers have significant influence on the weight that even a single animation can have. Every animation is like a blank canvas and you have so much freedom in the sounds you use to paint that canvas.

A few years back I got to try my hand doing sound design and re-record mixing for film on a short film called Roboto Supremo and found it immensely satisfying. Although it’s the same basic concept as providing sound for games, the gratification I get from working on film is much more immediate since it’s a linear process and everything’s right there in front of you. Plus you generally don’t have to wait several years before the project is completed. When I get the film the visual is basically complete and when I add sound to a scene it’s done. Levels might change in the mixing process but otherwise I don’t have to worry about a sound file not firing due to bad coding or the sound being dropped because the audio engine has reached its limit.

We know that you were involved with the dialogue editing of BioShock 2. What was the hardest thing you had to deal with?

The hardest part about working on “BioShock 2” was the pace. I was the lead dialogue editor and had two editors working for me. The turnarounds were pretty fast and we were getting multiple sessions every day so it was easy to have the work suddenly pile up. Plus, in addition to editing I was responsible for QC’ing every single line before I submitted it back to 2K. It was a pretty massive undertaking. I had to pull a few all nighters and by the end of it I think we were all a little burnt out but I live to tell about it. Hehe.

I’m currently lead dialogue editing “XCOM” for 2K and I’m handling it a lot better. I’ve basically tripled the number of editors working for me so I’m able to focus on the QC and file management more and do less of the actual editing myself. Getting a new editor on board is always an investment of time since I’m a meticulous bastard in terms of the way each file is edited, but it’s well worth it once I get a new editor up to speed.

Now I know you did audio work for Sims 2, Rat Race and even Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery Game . Now what exactly did you for each one of them?

On “The Sims 2” I was working as a freelance editor whereas the other two I was the in house audio director so my involvement was completely different.

“The Sims 2” was a fairly simple job. I would be sent DVD’s filled with Pro Tools sessions and every single session was a different animation voiced by one actor. The actor would do six or seven takes for each animation and I had to select the best take (or edit the best combination), clean it and bounce off the edit with the appropriate filename. Now mind you this is Simlish we’re talking about, so the actor is for all intents and purposes speaking gibberish; it’s not as if I’m listening for script accuracy or pronunciation. But listening to Simlish for 8-12 hours a day, you do start to pick up a sense of what is and is not Simlish. As crazy as it sounds there were actors that were definitely better at doing it then others.

Basically I had to watch the animation and try to get what the character is saying emotionally. Then I’d listen to each of the takes and pick the one that best matched the emotion conveyed and how the character is gesticulating.

After completing “Sims 2” I took a job as Audio Director for a small developer in NYC, Super-Ego Games. They were developing an original IP called “Rat Race”. It was supposed to be a playable sitcom set in an office so needless to say it was very character driven and there was A LOT of dialogue. While “Barbie” was a different game in that it was a licensed IP aimed at kids, it was also comedically based and character driven so it too had a lot of VO. As audio director I was in charge of all aspects of audio for both titles but the majority of my time was spent casting, recording and directing the voice actors. I also handled the majority of the sound design and edited the music as well as mixed all the cutscenes. Like audio directors for most small companies I had to wear many hats so I did whatever I had the time and skills to handle and hired staff and freelancers for everything else.

At any these gigs, did you ever get to meet a celebrity (as in a movie star)?

We had big plans on “Rat Race” to hire celebrity talent to voice guest characters in certain episodes, which would have been very exciting, but sadly that never came to fruition.

Not sure if they’re the A-list “celebrities” you were looking for but I’ve worked with some known musicians like Anthrax and Bruce Hornsby during my record making career and in the last film I worked on, “Tell Your Friends”, I got to meet Jim Gaffigan, Janeane Garofalo and Colin Quinn. I was also snubbed by Henry Rollins once… that was pretty exciting.

Any future titles that you will be adding audio skills to?

Aside from the aforementioned game “XCOM” I’m currently audio directing on an undisclosed title set in space by a small company in NYC. I’m also about to start post on the film, “Tell Your Friends”; I’m scheduled to do post for a spooky horror indie feature later this month; and I’m co-producing a TV pilot with my friend Victor Varnado. I think that’s all I have scheduled right now.

Any words of wisdom for those who want to get into the audio world?

Get an internship at a busy studio ASAP; on the job is the best way to learn the trade. While getting formal training in audio never hurts and it’s good to learn some of the nuts and bolts science behind what you do, true knowledge comes through experience and when you’re done with school you’ll still need to get that experience somewhere. If you get your foot in the door at a busy post house you may start out making coffee but you’re more likely to be thrown in on a project earlier on and there is no better teacher than experience. Then you can take all the money you saved on audio school and spend it on some nice gear.

To learn more of about Jason Kanter go to www.jasonkanter.com

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spider-man Shattered Dimensions

Platform(s): Playstation 3, X-BOX 360, Nintendo DS, Nintendo WII
Developer(s): Beenox (PS3, 360, WII), Griptonite Games (NDS)
Genre(s): Action-Adventure/Platformer
Rating: E for Everyone

Spider-man. He’s the amazing web-slinger with the never-ending witty comments and the spider-like abilities that makes him an icon in the Marvel universe. So will the wall-crawler leave a legendary mark in Beenox’s “Spider-man Shattered Dimensions” or not?


Spider-man Shattered Dimensions revolves around an artifact known as the "Tablet of Order and Chaos". When it is shattered into pieces during a skirmish between Spider-Man and Mysterio it causes problems with multiple Marvel Universe realities. Madame Web calls on four versions of Spider-Man from four realities to assist her in bringing the realities back into balance: the Amazing Spider-Man; Spider-Man Noir, a 1930s version of Spider-Man; Spider-Man 2099, the Spider-Man of a possible future; and Ultimate Spider-Man, the younger Spider-Man of an alternate present who is currently bonded with a symbiote.


From the start, I’ll say that this is a fun game to play. The game play is reminiscent of the older Spider-man games (not including Web of Shadows), where it’s more linear with very little free-roaming. It’s a hit-or-miss factor but it fits this game. Combat is still simple button-combo commands and you get more when purchasing them in the Web of Destiny menu. The combat, however, is a good point to focus on because it differs with each dimension. While the commands stay the same, the attack styles are different with each Spider-man. Amazing Spider-man will use more web-based attacks while Ultimate Spider-man’s attacks are just the symbiote striking. Noir suit are more physical and 2099 is more aerial-based.

The dimensions are another favorite point in my book. It’s obvious to say that no two dimensions are alike, but I give credit to how Beenox approached it. Despite the slight repetitiveness in the games, you’ll be taking a slightly different approach in each world. Especially in the Noir world, where stealth is your primary objective. The Noir world gives it that Arkham Asylum style to it (and there’s a reason why I’m bringing up a DC game in a Marvel game review) because the bulk of your actions in that stage is taking down opponents under the cover of darkness. Meaning that you can’t just go in and wail on the opponents because you’ll end up looking at the death screen.

The audio in the game is something worthwhile to mention. We all know that Spider-man has a witty remark for almost anything that happens, but this game makes him run his mouth. And when you consider that there’s 4 Spider-men that you play with in the entire game, you get a lot of funny/sarcastic comments and remarks. Add to it that they put Deadpool in the game as a boss and you have a stage that’s rife with crazy commentary, even when you keep the game on pause for a while.


Unfortunately, there are some major downsides in the game. First off, the game is short. How short, you ask? You get about 13 stages that can be completed in about 30 minutes on average, 15 if you do a speed run. So you don’t get much of the game to play. There’s also very little replay value to this game. After the first 4 stages, you get how to handle the game and well, you’ll probably get bored quick. So unless you’re doing an online walkthrough or you’re an achievement/trophy hunter, there’ll be no reason to play this game a second time.

Also, this game gets very glitchy at times. From enemy markers still on your screen when there are none there to parts of a mission where you’ve defeated the baddies and there’s no cut-scene or objective to do, you will encounter glitches even if you install the game to the hard drive. Thankfully, there are no major camera angle flaws. However, if you’re crawling on a wall and there happens to be a ledge…yeah, it’s like doing a DUI trying to crawl forward.


Spider-man Shattered Dimensions is an alright game. It’s not worth its $60 for the purchase, but if you have a GameFly account, then it’s something to check out. And if you’re a fan of witty comments, then pause the game on Deadpool’s stage and count to 60.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hoggy reminds you of the good ol' days! REVIEW!!!!


Developers: Raptisoft

Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later)

Genre: Puzzle Platformer

1 Player

Rating: E for Everyone

Available: Now (FREE via iTunes Store)


You are a pink slime mold by the name of Hoggy, your girlfriend gets kidnapped and it's up to you to get her back by eating fruit out of 45 jar-world puzzles.

As it says on their site Hoggy is a side-scrolling puzzler that is inspired by Super Mario Bros and other Nintendo hits.


Well from the jump if you are a fan of the classic NES and SNES games this will be an instant win for you. The jars that you enter and keys that you get after eating all the fruit in the level are straight out of Super Mario Bros 2, as well as the grass platform areas that you walk on. The sound has the 16-bit pop to it, pleasantly enhanced with very old school-pleasant-to-listen-to soundtrack. Watching Hoggy devour everything in sight and the fact that he's pink, makes you think of Kirby. Overall the controls are quite responsive, you tilt the iPhone (or iTouch) from left to right in order to move in said direction. Jumping... well that's a different animal. You see he can't jump, but he CAN stick to the floor or ceiling if you tap the screen, and with a little extra tilt to your weird gravitational jump you can go up and diagonal... sort of. It takes a little time getting used to it because in some levels you need to be PRECISE! The levels (when it comes to the design) are colorful, fun and easy on the eyes. I mean seriously, it really is the love-child of Super Mario 2 and Kirby. The game's difficulty can vary from very simple to downright confusing if you are not the puzzle conquering type when it comes to video games.


The controls (at first) are VERY VERY frustrating! You sometimes move too fast because you tilted the iPhone (or iTouch) too far OR you don't move fast enough because you aren't tilting it far enough. So some rooms (jars) where you need to be very close to a baddie without touching him you will occasionally slip up and tap him (death) because you can never really tell how much is needed on the tilt.

Nothing to go crazy over because after a solid half an hour on the game you will figure out how to position your hands. The only thing that would be considered a "con" is the varying difficulties. You never really know what you're getting into when you go in certain jars. Some of them (like I said earlier) are embarrassingly easy, while others are so hard that you end up looking for a cheat sheet/walkthrough. It's not gradual. Some hard ones are in the beginning, which when you think about it is no that bad. The one thing you'll realize is that there is NO REPLAY VALUE once you beat it, unless you don't play it for a while.


A fantastic game, and you can't beat free! Worth trying and hard to put down.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, September 10, 2010

Emerald Chasers Video #7

Okay, everyone. This is the final video for Emerald Chasers. Aquatic Maze Boogie (Labyrinth Zone Remix) for your viewing pleasure.

Thanks for viewing all the videos and spreading the word. There's more to come so stay tuned to The Reset Button and J1 Studios for a whole lot more! Thanks once again and until next time!!!

- Ray Riley

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Emerald Chasers Video #6

So the videos are coming to a close for Emerald Chasers. Video number 6 for everyone is...Volatile Battery, the Flying Battery Zone remix. Check it out here!!!

Stay tuned for the last 2 videos. And if you haven't downloaded Emerald Chasers. do so now!!! Until next time!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Emerald Chasers Video #5

Video #5 is the one that started it all. Spring In Ya Step - the Spring Yard Zone remix is up for your viewing pleasure. Check it out right here

Stay tuned for more videos from Emerald Chasers. There's only 3 more to go after this. And if you didn't download the free album at J1 Studios, do so now!!! Until next time!

- Ray Riley

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Emerald Chasers Video #4

Video #4 is up for your viewing pleasure. This time, it's Heart Of The Ruins (Aquatic Ruin Zone Remix). Check it out!!!

Stay tuned for more vids from Emerald Chasers. There's only 4 more to go until it's complete!!! And if you haven't downloaded the album, do so!!!

- Ray Riley

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Emerald Chasers Video #3

So here's the third video for Emerald Chasers. This time, it's Peak of the Ice Cap (Ice Cap Zone Remix). It's a bit of a fan favorite, so enjoy!!!

Stay tuned for more vids from Emerald Chasers and if you haven't downloaded the album, do so now! Until next time!
- Ray Riley

Monday, August 23, 2010

Emerald Chasers Video #2

Here's the second video for Emerald Chasers. Glitch in the Boss System (Robotnik Theme Remix). Yeah, I'm calling him Robotnik instead of Eggman...anyway, enjoy the video, download the album at J1 Studios if you haven't already and thanks for your support!!!

Stay tuned for more!!!
- Ray Riley!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Emerald Chasers (The video collection)

So as a thank-you to everyone who's downloaded the album "Emerald Chasers" - and incentive for those who haven't - we're giving you video(s) of the tracks on the album. Here is the first one, "Treading on Hot Lava".

More will be coming soon! Thanks for your support, everyone!!!
- Ray "Shinigami" Riley

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game

Developers: Ubisoft Montreal & Ubisoft Chengdu
Publishers: Ubisoft, Universal Studios
Platform: PSN (now) & XBLA (Aug. 25th)
Genre: 2D Beat 'em Up, RPG
1-4 players Simultaneous action
Rating: T for Teen

Scott Pilgrim is a 23-year-old Canadian slacker, hero, and part-time bassist who is living in Toronto and plays bass guitar in the band "Sex Bob-omb." He falls in love with American delivery girl Ramona V. Flowers, but must defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her.

You play as Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine or Stephen Stills (along with two other unlockable characters)

The graphics on this game are awesome in a very "let's bring it back to old school" kind of way. Very reminiscent of the NES classic River City Ransom. To match the graphics it does provide a good bit of that RPG aspect that RCR had that made it a true classic among those original gamers, like leveling up to gain new attacks and increase your defense. You can even use the money you earn from defeating enemies (they turn into coins when they die) to buy food and accessories to become stronger.

The controls are pretty simple: You have a light attack, a hard attack, jump, and block. I can't forget to mention the Special attack that takes down a large group of enemies when you feel you are in a real desperate situation and the Striker assist, which is when Knives Chau, (a supporting character) comes in to help for just a moment. I like that the enemies are very creative and humorous, plus you get to pick up just about ANYTHING in the game and use it as a weapon! During co-operative play, certain actions can be performed such as simultaneously taunting to defeat enemies or reviving fallen comrades before they lose a life.

The look and feel of this game brings you back to the original graphic novel series by Brian O' Malley's artwork. This game is loaded with tons of homage pieces to other popular video games, comics and anime. We're talking about from Mario-esque question blocks that are full of coins, to one of the bosses having the giant mutating arm like in the anime Akira.

The other one thing that had me a bit worried was what they were going to do with the sound. I remember with NES games it was hit or miss. You either got memorable MIDI music, or the most annoying beeps and boops your poor little ears ever heard. Thankfully the music is a cute pleasant stroll down memory lane with a new school indie style flare to it.

The gameplay is generally solid and fun whether or not you have four players, or stuck going through this "romp" solo. Which brings me to the cons...

Now don't freak out there aren't that many pressing issues that will turn you away from this game, but they have to be pointed out.

One of the things that really get under my skin is the lack of online co-op play that any game that is four players simultaneous action should have.

The other thing is that if you do play with someone, they are considered a guest and any upgrades that character gets disappears once you turn off the game. The only way for them to have any level ups stick around, is by playing the game with the other characters in one player mode and playing through the same story and cutscenes. Very VERY tedious.

The last thing that can get on my nerves is that the characters feel heavy/sluggish when you walk around with them. I mean sometimes they just move too slow! Thankfully they did add a dash move (which helps a lot), but it would've been way easier to just have them move just a little bit faster. You get use to it after a while though.

See that wasn't so bad now was it?
Overall, it's a solid game and worth the $10. GOOD OLD FUN!

Rating: 4/5

Reviewed by Jason Richardson.