Thursday, April 26, 2012

God of War: Ascension - Teaser Trailer

First off, let me say that I’m glad that Kratos will soon be back in action. There was no way
Santa Monica Studios could let his adventure end with the cliffhanger left by God of War 3.
Seeing this reveal trailer begs the question of how are they going to top part 3? As awesome as
GoW 3 was, I can’t imagine how Santa Monica Studios can better themselves. Releasing the
two PSP games helped keep the Spartan in the lime light and a graphic novel written by a New
York Times bestselling author gave us a behind the scene look at the first game. It seems Athena
may still be present in this sequel. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is. Sony will release more
information as it becomes available and I’ll be keeping track of it.

 God of War: Ascension - Teaser Trailer

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Asura’s Wrath Afterthought Review

Asura’s Wrath Afterthought Review

Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer(s): CyberConnect 2, Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Genre: Action
Rating: T

Looking for a good action game? Then take a look at Asura’s Wrath. You are Asura, one of the Eight Guardian Generals, godly warriors who fight to protect Heaven and Earth from a destructive force known as the Gohma. Returning from an epic battle, Asura is summoned to the Emperor’s throne where he discovers the Emperor has been slain.  He quickly finds himself being pursued by Imperial Guards after he blamed for the crime.  Asura rushes home to protect his family only to find his wife dead and daughter, Mithra, kidnapped.  His former ally, a god named Deus, reveals himself to be the Emperor’s assassin.  Enraged, Asura attacks Deus for his betrayal, but Deus gains the upper hand and tosses the beaten Asura off the platform and falls to the Earth.

Twelve millennia pass and Asura finally escapes the underworld to discover that his former comrades have used his daughter’s power to amplify their godly abilities.  Asura swears to rescue his child and nothing will stand in his way.

Right off the bat, you are thrown into an epic battle that takes place high above the Earth.  Taking control after the opening cut-scene, you unleash Asura’s powers upon the enemy horde attacking the Imperial Armada.  The target mechanic allows you to attack several enemies at once.  Place several cursors across the screen and Asura will launch a powerful attack that will damage all his foes.  The scene is something out of Star Wars with an armada of giant spaceships locked in an orbital dog fight with lasers blazing.  Asura’s Wrath is a straight forward beat ‘em up action game that is on tier with other hack-and-slash titles like Devil May Cry and God of War.  Your weapons are your fists and a lot of pent up rage.  Combat in the game is done mostly through contact-sensitive sequences.  Press the button at the right time for the best score.  You’ll spend most of your time building up Asura’s Boost Meter that will grant him extra strength when activated.  This is mostly used as a finishing move.

PRO: The action in Asura’s Wrath goes over the top especially in the boss battles.  I was impressed with the game’s opening cinematic, wasting no time throwing me to the wolves during a climactic battle much like Bayonetta’s opener.  And the larger-than-life Dragon Ball Z inspired boss battles are truly something.  The first boss battle is against the weakest of the Seven Deities, Asura’s former comrades.  Asura fights against this mountain sized titan until the god releases the power stolen from Mithra.  The boss grows to planet-sized proportions.  My immediate reaction, after making a Transformers-The Movie reference, was ‘I gotta fight that?!’  Imagine my surprise after witnessing a man-sized god defeat his planet-sized adversary by attacking his finger that covered an entire country. This scene truly sells the size this god has achieved.  CyberConnect 2, the same company behind the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series, left no attention to detail unchecked in the design of the characters and epic battle scales.

CON: However, the game’s strength is also its weakness.  Though Asura’s Wrath is chock full of action, it wasn’t varied enough to truly satisfy.  The enemy sets were minimal, maybe six to seven at one time on-screen, when compared to the aforementioned titles.  If Asura was supposed to be in an all-out battle, it would’ve been more pleasing to see him take hordes of foes or several enemy sets.  Granted that ending the scenario by activating the Boost Meter is an option and enemies continue to spawn if you don’t, I would’ve liked it to be a part of normal gameplay instead of putting spawning enemy sets on the back burner.  Ok, we all know cut-scenes tell the story otherwise, you’ll have no idea what’s going on.  Asura’s Wrath is no different except they use too many of them.  I like how each chapter is set up as if you watching an anime but most of these chapters are told through cut-scenes.  There’s a cut-scene followed by a bunch of fighting, another cut-scene, more fighting, rise and repeat until the epic boss battle.  I can deal with the storytelling but I would’ve preferred the scenes to be a bit shorter; some run for nearly three minutes, a couple times the scene was almost four minutes, before you get back to the action.

OVERALL: Despite all that, Asura’s Wrath is still an enjoyable game with intense action, out-of-this-world battles against the gods and a raging avenger that will even make Kratos cower in his sandals.
Asura’s Wrath gets 3 out of 5.
See you on the next level,
Brian M.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Skullgirls Review

Skullgirls Review

Platforms: Playstation Network, Xbox Live
Developer(s): Reverge Labs, WayForward Technologies
Publisher(s): Autumn Games, Konami
Genre(s): Fighting
Release: April 10 (PSN), April 11 (XBL)

Skullgirls is a downloadable 2-D fighter developed by Reverge Labs that features an all-female cast of characters, each with unique powers. The game’s story centers on an ancient artifact known as the Skull Heart which will grant the deepest desires of the woman who possesses it. As with many other fighters, each character has their own story and set of goals. Skullgirls is played differently than many other fighters. Players can choose the ratio of characters they want from one to three. Single player teams are powerful whilst two to three player teams are able to perform assist attacks.

PRO: Skullgirls features a unique combo system that puts an end to infinite combos, the main gripe about the VS. series. The fighting system gives players a chance to break looping combos in several ways, thus giving them a chance to fight back. No more putting down your controller and watching a combo exhibition.

At the selection screen, players can customize their characters. I was impressed with the character models. Each one is hand drawn and in the match looks a lot like a Saturday morning cartoon. The theme works for this game.

CON: The throw back to an eight-character list is nostalgic for those of us who remember Street Fighter II. However, new players who grew up during the era of larger character lists may not feel that there is enough variety. Unlike the aforementioned game, Skullgirls does not feature any sub-bosses before the final boss.

OVERALL: Skullgirls is a solid fighter with high replay value. The characters are beautifully drawn and backgrounds are visually impressive. And Michiru Yamane, best known as the composer for the Castlevania series, provides music that completes the feel of this animated fighter.

Skullgirls gets 4 out of 5.

See you on the next level,

Brian M.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Project X Zone: An Initial Look

So this is a bit of big news. There has been word circulating of a major crossover game between Namco Bandai Games, Capcom, and Sega but just recently, a title for it has been revealed.

It's titled Project X Zone (X standing for "Cross") and it is a strategy RPG game that will be coming out for the 3DS sometime this year. While there aren't many details on this title yet, the first set of screenshots gives us an interesting take on what the roster may look like. From the screens released, characters from Sakura Wars, Valkyria Chronicles, Super Robot Wars, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Tekken, Xenosaga, Mega Man X, Space Channel 5, Virtua Fighter, Darkstalkers, Devil May Cry, Tales of Vesperia, .hack, Rival Schools, Dead Rising and Shining Force are in this title. Below are a few screenshots of Project X Zone:

We will post up more information will be posted about this title as we come across it. However, if you want to check out all the screenshots of Project X Zone and read up on the title itself, you can click on this link right here: 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hammerfight Review

Platform(s): PC
Developer(s): Konstantin Koshutin (aka Gkosh)
Publisher(s): Kranx Production
Genre: Action/Combat/Hack-and-Slash
I recently discovered one of the most addicting and deep games I’ve ever played for Mac and PC; and it seems to have a genre all of its own. In my best words, it’s a 2D Physics-based, Hack and Slash fighting game, with RPG elements. On top of that, 80% of the controls is in the way you move the mouse.

As you can see…this game is insane. You’re constantly swinging a huge weapon, around a flying machine that you pilot around the screen with your mouse. It sounds easy, and learning the controls is simple, but to master the physics of the vast array of weapons (whether it be a Hammer, Chain Mace, Pickaxe, Scimitar, etc.) takes a lot of experience. Once you land your first “Crushing blow” to an opponent’s pod, you’ll have a hard time quitting.

The main storyline takes place about a thousand years ago in a made up Egyptian-themed land. You start off as a guard in a small village. In the first few levels you smash your way through several waves of attackers with a limited variety of cheaply forged weaponry. You are then captured by a rich warlord and enslaved to fight in an arena for glory and for a shot at freedom. You fight intense one on one battles with single more skillful foe, capturing the opponent’s weapon upon certain victories. After you gain your freedom you are sent on several and they differ vastly: from slicing your way through massive flying worms and hornets, to raiding a village and breaking down walls and structures with the movement of your mouse.

Once you play a few levels of each different type of challenge, you unlock an arena version of each game mode. So, if you prefer quick thinking and dodging, there is the 1 on 1 arena battle. You can play arena mode from the game menu and fight a tougher opponent every time you win and earn coins to be spent on your character’s machine.

As you play, you can lead a path for honor and glory: showing mercy on other fighters that beg for their lives, or trashed their machine’s health to a point where it can’t fly... or you can ignore their pleas and smash the disabled machine anyway, resulting in more loot, but less honor from the crowd. As your honor goes up you gain access to new weapons and armor and you gain new flags for your machine with each title you are given. As I mentioned, this game is very dynamic.

Personally my favorite part about Hammerfight is the range of combat skill that you can potentially reach and how many different weapons you can become skilled at using. Swinging a fixed Iron hammer at an opponent is pretty easy to learn, and with practice, you can get a deadly good whack at the opponent every time.

And if using one weapon at a time doesn’t satisfy your hunger for destruction, you can combine two different swords together; all of a sudden you’re Kratos. S winging two fixed swords around your character scrapping up every beast and opponent around you. It’s not an easy fighting style to play, but when mastered your offensive and defensive abilities are dangerous.

Complete with legendary weapons, gem sockets for weapons, throwing knives, mortars, poison, and several different game modes, it’s shocking that Hammerfight hasn’t made it to consoles yet. No fear though, if you want to play against a friend, plug in up to 4 mice on your computer for a battle royal.

I give this game 4 stars out of 5, only because it demands you have a mouse with a right click and scroll wheel to enjoy the full range of controls. I highly recommend it.

Here’s a link to start playing Hammerfight. Supported on Mac and PC.