Friday, December 23, 2011

25 Days of Begging: Part Three

25 Days Of Begging: Week Three
         Well, we’re winding down to the last few weeks of begging and chances are you have already offended everyone you know with your incessant chatter about what presents you’d like for Christmas. But soldier on! How else do you expect to be able to get everything on your list? The trick is to nag them to the point that they give in and buy you everything you want just to shut you up. And that’s okay: who needs real friends when you have electronic ones? And just so you know, this is the last set of five before the Game of The Year top ten list. And yes there will be surprises!Everyone loves suprises.

15. Mortal Kombat 9
         Mortal Kombat came up 1000% since its last outing. They set a new standard for story mode for a fighting game, brought the series into the new millennium with a fighting system made for high level play, and really upgraded the graphics with the additions of x-rays and visible damage. And some of the fatalities are just silly (link). If you don’t have this game yet, it’s a must buy. Or I’ll send Reptile over to give you a kiss.

14.        Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD
         Sometimes you need to play a game that doesn’t just consist of shooting people in the face, curbstomps, and mindless violence. There’s were real gaming art lies: story, art, design, and interactivity all coming together to make an experience that moves the player. A great example of that sort of game is the Ico and the Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection. As you play these games, you encounter characters you care about, story lines that engage you, and game play that is just amazing. Not having a game like this in your collection you are really missing out on a major portion of the gaming industry.

13. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

         This game is purdy darn fun. You have multiple ways of story progression, multiple ways of defeating your enemies, and multiple endings. It’s one of the few shooting games in which you literally don’t have to shoot anyone, outside of cutscenes. Granted there are a few issues, but there’s nothing that should keep this from showing up on your list.

12. Catherine
         In one of the deluxe versions of this game, Atlus sends you a copy of underwear, a t-shirt for your lovely lady to wear as pajamas (or I guess you could wear it too, but trust me, you won't look as good), a pillowcase, and a pizza box. Everything you need for a night out. Persona Team has ever come out with anything that hasn't been hot, and Catherine is definitely a game worth grabbing. Just make sure you're faithful to your girl or it will turn you into a sheep-man, and have a screaming baby try to kill you.

11.        Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition

         Without a question, Street Fighter is the franchise that innovated the fighting game to something enduring that we actually want to play. If it wasn't for Ryu, then there would be no Morrigan, Fulgore, Marstorius, Jack the Ripper, Joe Higashi, or Scarlette. Street Fighter has continued to be a frontrunner in innovating the fighting game genre, and is still the ruler to which we hold everything up to.
         That said, if you're a serious fighting game guy, and you have been kicking around the idea of getting AE, but just haven't pulled the trigger yet, or if you're holding out because a character you like got nerfed, the 2012 update just came out (free), so the balancing and little details are worth taking a look into.

Honorable Mentions

Blaz Blu Continuum Shift 2

         Until Guilty Gear makes Badguy in HD, this is what ya got. Be happy with it.

Beyond Good and Evil

         You should get this game before the NDAA passes and we all go to jail.

Sonic Generations

         Sega made another Sonic game. But this time they decided to leave out the suck! (cough cough Shadow cough)

Street Fighter 3 Third Strike Online

         I dare anybody to make Q top tier.

By Chris Alexander
psn Imnotonfacebook
Xbl Mastergief

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

25 Days of Begging: Part Two

25 Days of Begging: Part Two
Well, week one is gone, and you still can’t be sure that your loved ones have made the right gift decisions, maximizing the awesome and limiting the suck. To improve your begging effectiveness, part two of this article has five more awesome games, more great honorable mentions, and another neat bit of kit for you to open, and then scream over like an eight year old kid.
Super Mario 3D Land
         Let it be known: I am no big fan if the 3DS, it’s just not my thing yet. But more games like Super Mario 3D Land are going to change my mind in a hurry. I think this might be the first three dimensional Mario game that I like. Almost all the old suits, neat camera angles, Shadow Mario. and more await you when you pop this in your 3DS, and seeing as it’s the first new game just for the 3DS, it’s a must have.


Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
         If I have to explain to you why more Metal Gear Solid is a good thing, then I’m not even sure how you found this website. Computer glitch? Monkeys typing on your keyboard? That’s how this is getting written: some Reese monkeys, a couple cans of Four Loko, and some bananas. Bradjelina adopted all my child workers, so I had to diversify.
         All jokes aside, this is a remake: you probably had great fun beating Solidus, Liquid, Boss, and company already. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy doing it again with shiny new graphics! Plus, if you didn’t get the PSP entry Peace Walker, then there’s a whole new game waiting for you, complete with a brand new control scheme. Plus, Snake Eater: Subsistence still comes with Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. And a boss mode. And then there’s the online multiplayer to think about. And it only costs $50.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition
         I heard that ‘Chief shows his face in this edition. You just have to put in the special code on your Game Genie. What, you can’t use a Game Genie on your 360? Well, no face for you. But what you do get is a completely reskinned edition of the reason that shooter games got hot on our current generation of consoles. Yes, Goldeneye did it big, and Doom before them, but the reason why we are able to enjoy the Battlefield, Call of Duty, or Gears of War franchises is because of the innovation in the genre by Bungie.
         So, what makes this game special? Well, HD graphics for the first two games in the series are a good start, and you can actually toggle between the old look and new in game with a button press. Pretty neat. Second, achievements and online multiplayer on the new XBL has been added, so if you’ve found yourself missing the three shot pistol of death, or the green gun combo, then you’re in luck. Just don’t expect them to add sword sniping back in.
Resistance 3
         If you have a PS3, and only a PS3, you don’t have the new Halo. You don’t have Gears of War. You almost didn’t get Half Life. But what you do have access to is a downright silly roster of weapons, enemies, and game play options in Resistance. In Resistance, it is normal to get attacked by a facehugger. Or an Invisodemon. Or a platoon of zombified aliens. And to defend yourself you have a shotgun that lights enemies on fire, a gun that shields and shoots through just about anything, biological weapons, and everything gains perks over time. Plus, let’s not forget that if there were a competition of whose game has humanity at the most desperate position in any game ever, Resistance may well be a winner.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
         You could make a reasonable fighting game from just the characters added in the new edition of the Vs series. It doesn’t matter if you gravitate for traps, chainsaws, penance stares, or objections, there’s probably a new character you have been looking forward to fight as, or beat up. This game is literally mind blowing, every match by similarly skilled players holds excitement and drama. Matches between uneven competitors become combo expos, which hold their own entertainment value. Don’t feel bad though: pwning builds character.

Honorable Mentions
Get rewarded for violence. What’s better than that?

Yakuza 4
Tired of old, fat Italian gangsters eating pasta, and killing each other with Tommy guns? Well prepare for young, tattooed gangsters drinking sake, and killing each other with katanas!

Crysis 2
Pretty enough that if your wife sees you playing with it, she might get jealous.

Fifa 12
Maa-den? Who ees Madden?

L. A. Noire
Use the lessons of sniffing out lies taught to you in this game to figure which one of your friends is in fact the one that dealt it.

The Playstation Vita isn’t out yet. It won’t be out by Christmas. It won’t even be out by New Years. But in Febuary, we will finally get a chance to see Sony’s view of the future of portable gaming. One of the major gripes about the PSP, lack of killer games, seems to be a thing of the past, with AAA titles like Bioshock, Uncharted, and Call of Duty developing games just for the new system. With two touch screens, dual analog sticks, wifi and 3g, and by far the best portable graphics ever, the Vita will be finding its way into many happy pockets soon after all the Eggnog has been drunk.
Games to watch for:
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (w Cole from Infamous)
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
BlazBlu: Continuum Shift Extend
Touch my Katamari

Monday, December 19, 2011


Developer(s): Behavior Interactive
Publisher(s): THQ
Genre(s): Action Adventure
System(s): Playstation Network, Xbox Live
Rating: Teen

As a child of the eighties, I was thoroughly excited when Transformers finally got a good game after three disappointing releases.  So imagine my surprise when I found out about another of my favorite shows getting its video game debut.  Voltron: Defender of the Universe is an action adventure game based on the 1980's series.  In the game, you get to control one of the five lions, each with its own attributes.  You fight your way through King Zarkon's Drule army decimating vehicles and small inferntry.  Each lion is equipped with a multi-directional cannon that is controlled with the right analog stick.  Movement is done with the left analog stick.  The lions have melee attacks to take out ground enemies while their pounce attack is excellent for taking out airborne attackers.  At the end of the level, the lions combine to form Voltron to fight the Robeast.  Attacks are coordinated through quick-time events.  When playing with two or more players control over the robot is passed to the next player once the previous player's turn is complete. A sequence begins by choosing one of four attacks, after which a quick time event occurs. During the enemy's turn players can defend by performing a similar quick time event.  Once the Robeast's health has been depleted, Voltron forms the Blazing Sword and delivers the finishing blow.

PRO: The gameplay is pretty straight forward; blast away enemies as you run freely around the landscape.  I liked the Zelda-inspired overhead view that shows your enemies approaching from all sides.  The graphics are bright and colorful with detailed enviroments.  Remixed music and scenes from the original series move the story along and make you apart of the action.  The Drule army attacks your lion en masse with tanks, jets and soldiers.  Combat is frantic and fast-paced as you're attacked from all sides.  Space combat gives a nod to old school games like Space Invaders and Galaxian.  I liked this alot.  I remeniced about those arcade days as I guided my lion, taking out Drule ships along the way.
CON: As much as I enjoyed this game, there were a few bad spots that I feel could've been improved upon.  Though the overhead view gives a Zelda nod, at times I felt that the camera was too far away.  The attacking troops look like ants though they are understandably smaller than the Voltron lions.  Aiming with the multi-directional cannon seems a bit choppy.  I ended up missing several targets as I moved around; however, standing still was not an option.  Doing so made me a sitting duck and forget successfully nailing the foot soldiers.  I compensated with melee attacks.  I also would've like combat to expanded upon when fighting as the Voltron robot.  I really didn't care to much for the sequenced fight as opposed to a Real Steel battle.


OVERALL: Voltron: Defender of the Universe is a fun game if you're a fan, new or old, of the series.  I thoroughly relived my childhood with this game much like I did with the latest Transformers game.  To me, it was nastolgic to hear Peter Cullen's indomitable voice narrate the game as he did breathing life into Optimus Prime.  I took the game for its highs and lows like I did with the series.  I have enjoyed Voltron: Defender of the Universe despite its quirks and found it to be entertaining.  It's a blast from the past that'll have you relive the past. Voltron: Defender of the Universe gets 3.5 out of 5.

See you on the next level,
Brian M.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The King of Fighters XIII (Console-version) Review

Platform(s): Playstation 3, X-Box 360
Developer(s): SNK Playmore
Publisher(s): Atlus
Genre(s): Fighting
Rating: T for Teen

So who remembers a little game released about 2 years ago titled The King of Fighters XII? If you do (or want to), then you can agree with me that the game was a complete disappointment to KOF fans worldwide. Why, you ask? Because, in comparison to all the previous games under that title, KOF XII was nothing more than an incomplete title that should have stayed in the development labs. But now, with the release of The King of Fighters XIII, will SNK Playmore’s legendary fighting game title get the revival that fans have been longing for or will it be the sad end of an otherwise illustrious legacy?

The Story:

The King of Fighters XIII takes place after KOF XI, and is the last game of the third story arc that started in The King of Fighters 2003. The fighter Ash Crimson has absorbed the powers from two of the descendants of the clans who sealed the Orochi away 1,800 years ago, Chizuru Kagura and Iori Yagami, while Kyo Kusanagi is to be his last victim. As his former comrade, Elisabeth Blanctorche, prepares to stop him, fighters receive an invitation to another King of Fighters tournament hosted by a person labeled as "R". The tournament is sponsored by Rose who is being controlled by "Those From The Past", the organization behind the two previous tournaments that has been trying to break Orochi's seal.

The Pros:

Okay. So the first major pro that I have to add on here is that this game is a major improvement from its previous version, KOF XII. There’s no more Critical Counter system (tapping Heavy Punch at the right time to make your own custom combo), Guard Attacks or anything of the sort. It’s all taken out, and replaced with better moves that are reminiscent of the older titles of the games.

My next pro is the roster. KOF XII had myself (and many other players) ticked when certain people weren’t included in the short roster. Once again, XIII has fixed that problem by bringing back the characters we wanted to see in the game. Yuri Sakazaki, Mai Shiranui, and K’ are just a few of the returning faces making it on the roster for the newest installment.

Next, the combat has to be a favored pro of mine. As I said earlier, they’ve taken out all the failed moves from KOF XII and added newer moves to keep the combat fresh. EX moves is one of the newer things added to the game, allowing the characters to not only perform an EX version of their special, but of their Desperation moves. Also, the Hyper Drive gauge is a new addition, where players can sacrifice half of this gauge meter to perform Drive cancels, or activate the once it’s full to have a short but unlimited use of Drive cancels.

That means that if you catch the opponent in a combo and activate the Hyper Drive gauge, you can create your own devastating combo. It’s not an easy task, seeing that combos in this game require near surgical precision to execute a lot of moves, but once you get it down, it’ll be a problem for opponents.

Finally, the extra modes that are included in this game are a personal pro. For the beginners and newcomers to the game, they have a solid tutorial mode that really teaches you the mechanics of the game. A Mission Mode is added for players to get the character-specific combos down (which goes from simple to ridiculous sometimes). However, the Time Attack and Survival modes are the two that’ll keep the fighting game fans who aren’t big on playing online busy for a while. And personally, the last 2 modes should be a staple for any fighting game.

The Cons:

What can I say that’s bad about this game? I can mention a few things, to be honest. First of all, I’ll mention the one thing that every fighting game fan knows about a SNK game. Yes, the SNK Boss Syndrome is heavy in this installment, folks. For those who don’t know what that is, the SNK Boss Syndrome is the term associated to the bosses in a SNK fighting game, who are nowhere near easy to beat due to their cheapness, sheer strength, and ridiculous difficulty. So if you thought that Seth (Street Fighter IV), v-13 (BlazBlue), and Shao Kahn (Mortal Kombat 9) was bad, fight against Saiki and Shadow Ash. It’s guaranteed that you’ll hate every moment of that fight.

My second con falls in the story mode. Now…the story mode is done well, considering that it tells the story from different teams’ perspective and everything. However, the one thing they could have added in there was some voice-overs. As much as I like the story mode for KOF XIII (which is a first for the series, I believe), they could have added that in as well.

My final con isn’t really a con at all, but I think that it should be noted. Now, I love the fact that there are new moves added to here to improve the game. But on the other hand, it seems that they are taking a few pages away from their rival’s books. What do I mean? EX moves and NEO MAX moves…you can easily see the resemblance to Capcom’s famed EX Moves and Level 3 Supers. Overall, it’s not a bad thing, considering that the NEO MAX moves look and are more devastating than the Level 3’s, however it seems a bit monotonous in a way.


It’s safe to say that The King Of Fighters XIII is an exceptional improvement over its predecessor. However, I can say that the 13th installment of KOF is possibly one of the best fighting games this year. From the roster to the solid, technical game play and even the extra modes, this is probably the one game that most hardcore fighting game fans will keep with them for a while.

Final Score: 5 out of 5

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Retro Review: X-Men vs. Street Fighter

Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Platforms: Arcade, Sega Saturn (Japan-only), Playstation
Genre: Fighting
Rating: Teen

With the release of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the upcoming Street Fighter X Tekken, I'd thought it would nice to take at look back at how the cross-over genre began by reviewing the game that started it all--"X-Men vs Street Fighter."

During the haydays of arcade gaming, Capcom released the coin operated console game that pitted their own against the X-Men. The Street Fighter characters retained their appearance from Street Fighter Alpha 2 while the Marvel character remained largely unchanged from Capcom's two previous Marvel releases, "X-Men: Children of the Atom" and "Marvel Super Heroes." Gameplay for X-Men vs. Street Fighter is similar to the style of Marvel Super Heroes, and adds a tag team feature. Unlike the forementioned title, this game's matches consists of two-on-two battles as opposed to a best two-out-of-three match. Players controlled one character while their partner waits off screen. You can switch parnters on the fly and the match lasted until a team is defeated.

PRO: X-Men vs. Street Fighter's two-on-two matches provided much more variety than in other fighting games at the time. You can begin your assault with one character and finish with the other. No best-out-of-three matches here. It's one match; winner take all. The character models were smooth and fluid, and cartoony, much like in the first two Marvel based games and in Street Fighter Alpha which made intergrading Ryu and friends with the X-Men a seemless fit. The action is very fast paced, pulling off insane combos to devastate your opponent. Hyper Combos add flare to your attacks. These are enhanced versions of a characters super combo.

CON: By today's standards, X-Men vs. Street Fighter would be considered a turtle plodding along in the sand. It's limited roster of 12 fighters and graphics have nothing on current titles Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Street Fighter 4. But in it's hayday, X-Men vs. Street Fighter was the game to play.

OVERALL: Today's fighting games and even some action games have to thank the fighting games of yesteryear. X-Men vs Street Fighter not only brought variety to what was once a straight forward genre (beat your opponent and that's it), but it has also inspired gameplay for titles such as God of War series, current Mortal Kombat release, and Devil May Cry series. X-Men vs Street Fighter set the standard for cross-over fighting games as well as games that succeeded it. It was a fun and entertaining game enjoyed by many an arcade attendee and still is to this day. And will continue to inspire future tag-team crossover fighting games.

Final Score: X-Men vs. Street Fighter gets 5 out of 5.

See you on the next level,
Brian M.

Monday, December 5, 2011

25 Days of Begging: Part One

25 Days of Begging: Part One

So, 2011 has gone by and you have been woefully behind in your gaming. Maybe you have been out with the in-laws in Amish Country, maybe you have been dodging cholera and dysentery encamped outside your nearby city hall (you dirty hippies, you), or maybe you have been trapped beneath a rock and you haven’t quite managed to free yourself in the last twelve months with your dull pocket knife. Good luck with that. For all of you, this article will detail the 25 games you need to beg for the hardest, shiny new hardware to meticulously wipe fingerprints off of, and a whole slew of honorable mentions that are good 26th choice games in case they won’t buy you what you really want. This is also something like J1Studios game of the year awards as well, so pay attention kid, you might learn something.  After all, you don’t want to get stuck with this.

            I love Bastion, and I fought hard to get it on this list in a year full of better than average gaming. Between the low price, replayability, solid action-rpg gameplay, and overall polish, the main fundamentals of the game are good. But what really knocks it out of the park with this game is the narration that cues off of actions taken during the game. Its sort of like that post apocalyptic Family Guy episode, but completely not annoying. One might be tempted to compare this mere downloadable game to full disc RPGs like FFXIII or a throwback like Eternal Sonata. That same person should also conclude that it’s better than most of the RPGs that have come out in the last few years. A lot better.

      The sort of people who like and play Dark Souls are the sort of people whose leisure activities involve safety words. If you like punishing difficulty in which anything can kill you at any time, in many ways, congratulations, this game is for you. Mind you, there’s more to this game than insane difficulty, but its tough to enjoy its amazing graphics, sound design, story, and dungeon architecture, when that angry monster keeps insisting on gnawing on your skull like he’s trying to open an extra difficult bakugan. “Fun”, right? To its credit, if your self-esteem somehow manages to survive getting killed again and again, and you make it through the dungeon and kill the dragon, the sense of accomplishment is like almost nothing else in gaming. Go treat yourself to an ice cream cone, you earned it.

            This may well be the last KOF ever. Since the last editions have not had the commercial impact that they needed to, despite the recent renaissance of the fighting game, SNK has brought us this swan song to bid farewell to Kyo and company, possibly forever. But, if this is the last game they make, then it’s a darn good one to go out on. As is consistent with the newer editions of KOF, the fighting system has gotten a major revamp that the advanced players can use to make even more stylish combo mayhem onscreen. The new cancel system allows you to combo someone with a series of normals, then a special, then a super, then an upgraded SDM (bigger than the leader SDMs from KOF 2003), if you get my meaning. Also added was a Street Fighterish ex system, except you can ex a super as well (like the old SDM). It looks and plays just as ridiculous as it sounds: every character has the capability to play like Dante with the Devil Trigger and X Factor. Get ready for some YouTube combo exploits.

            I love Tekken. With the exception of Tekken 4 (hot trash), Namco hasn’t let me down yet. The latest release Tekken Hybrid, is a sort of a combo pack of Tekken awesomeness. Namco, more than many of the other studios, really understand value for their fighting games: Tekken has had bowling games, beach ball fighting, side scrolling 3d beat-‘em-ups, space combat, secret characters, four games on a disc, 3rd person action games, and much more. So what are they giving us this time?
            Tekken Hybrid comes with Tekken Tag HD, Tekken Tag 2 Prologue, and Tekken: Blood Vengence movie for only $40. It’s a great price for a great game: just hope your friends aren’t cheap and use True Ogre all the time.

            There’s a talking gun that shoots glowing octopi onto people’s faces who then get hypnotized, becoming friendlies. Until their heads blow up like a pound of c4. Dildos are a legitimate means of killing someone. Every weapon has individual balltap animation. Do I really have to explain to you how bonkers this game is? Prepare for nonstop insane slapstick humor, punctuated by occasional outbreaks of good gaming.
Honorable Mentions for this week:

DC Universe Online
Since this console and PC based MMO went free to play, it got a whole lot more attractive. Definitely worth a look.

Little Big Planet 2
I honestly don’t know how this didn’t make the list. I might flame myself.

NBA 2k 12
One of the best sports games ever. Take that, EA.

Dead Space 2
Who would have thought that Dead Space 2 would be more of a survival horror game then the newest Resident Evil?

Must Have Hardware:  3DS
Portable glasses free 3d sounds like something from a Sci-fi show, but Nintendo has worked its magic on its newest handheld. Better yet, now that there’s actually some games out for it, and a nice price drop, look forward to your nearest Gamestop being sold out for the next few months. Even more new games, as opposed to retreads and remakes, should be on their way soon.

Suggested games:
Zelda: Orcania of Time 3D
Super Mario 3d Land
Super Street Fighter 4 3D

By Chris Alexander
PSN: Imnotonfacebook
XBLA: Mastergief
R.I.P. Gamepro