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06.20.12

Zen Studios can’t really do any wrong when it comes to their Marvel Pinball table designs.  Seriously.  Someone could tell them to do a legitimate Howard the Duck table (one not based on the movie) and they’d have it ready to go in a matter of months, complete with wisecracks and awesome skill shots.  Over the past year and a half they’ve knocked out some winners, but nothing compared to what we’ve seen with the Avengers Chronicles pack.  This is clearly their best work to date – and hopefully not their last in the deal.

06.20.12

It’s a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon – classic PlayStation/PlayStation 2 games being remade with high-definition gloss-overs and some new motion features added for good measure.  But at least it’s a trend with merit, judging by what we’ve seen so far in collections featuring Sly Cooper, God of War and Ico/Shadow of the Colossus.  And now you can add one more classic to the fray, as Capcom has officially unveiled Okami HD, which will be coming to PlayStation Network this fall.

06.19.12

When it was first released last year, Batman: Arkham City did more than turn a few heads.  It defined exactly what a comic book-oriented game was supposed to be.  Featuring a larger environment than the original Batman: Arkham Asylum, breathtaking amounts of stuff to do within the prison-like city, awesome gameplay ranging from gliding to fighting enemies on the ground, and plenty of unique story twists, it set the standard for games that will follow in the years to come.  And with that, WB Games was probably wondering, “Why let Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC owners have all the fun?”

06.19.12

At one point in time, you couldn’t go wrong with Mario Tennis.  When it was first released on the Nintendo 64, it was a simple little party favorite, packing hours of addictive gameplay, especially if you brought along friends.  The game fared even better on the GameCube with Mario Power Tennis, featuring more great multiplayer options, as well as better graphics and court offerings.  But on the 3DS, Mario Tennis Open feels like it takes a stumble for the worse.  The core gameplay is still in the game, along with many offerings for single and multiplayer offerings, but it just feels like something is off in the serve.

06.18.12

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is set to unleash fear on villains starting tomorrow across a multitude of platforms.  Obviously, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are prime choices, but by no means should you discount the handheld versions, mainly PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.  WB Games invited us to check out a demo of the upcoming 3DS game, and we came away pretty happy with the results.

06.18.12

Early this year, Bioware’s Mass Effect saga came to five year run. Rest aside the ending; the series is one of the most complete trilogies in video game history. There are two aspects that Mass Effect nails perfectly. The series was first to interweave choices all the way through the third and final installment captivating fans from start to finish. However, you can’t tell a great story if you forget to create the atmosphere for your game to breath in. The music in the game really doses shape Commander Shepard with it having one of the best scores in gaming, but do people notice? Do people look at soundtracks as a whole or as background noise?

06.18.12

The Electronic Entertainment Expo showcased a lot of great games a couple of weeks ago.  Some we knew about for months now, and are highly anticipating for a fall/winter/2013 release.  Others, however, managed to sneak up on us, coming out of nowhere and surprising us with a great deal of inventiveness.  Among them was a new creation from Zen Studios, the team behind the Zen Pinball and Pinball FX 2 games.  And no, it’s not a pinball game.  Get this – it’s a musical kung fu action game.  Take that, The Last Dragon!

06.18.12

Nintendo’s 3DS system got off to a bad start when it released last year, with a mostly lackluster launch line-up and lack of features for the system.  But now, finally, it seems to have gained its footing with some stellar game releases, including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, amongst others.  And while its showing at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo wasn’t the greatest, there are still some great games to look forward to.

06.17.12

What may work well on the mobile scene doesn’t always translate to console success.  True, there are those cases where a game’s crossover appeal is better than expected, like when Angry Birds made its debut as a PS Mini last year, but for the most part, they’re two separate markets, and some games don’t transition well between them.  Take Babel Rising, for instance.  With some more effort, Ubisoft could’ve made this a roaring beast on Xbox Live Arcade.  Instead, it’s more like a whimpering kitty.

06.16.12

Inversion arrived last week with very little fanfare.  Perhaps it was the fact that it was released during E3, and that Namco Bandai had bigger projects to focus on.  Or maybe it was just one of those games that the company is hoping will be a “sleeper” hit, relying more on word-of-mouth than a multi-million dollar ad campaign.  Regardless, it’s here, and while it definitely has some key moments with its gravity-shifting tactics, its quality never really rises above that of a SyFy made-for-TV movie.  That’s not to say some won’t be entertained, but it could’ve been so much more.

06.15.12

I can already hear dozens of folks screaming at Konami now.  “What did you do with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker?!  Why wasn’t it included?”  And by that I mean I’m referring to Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on the PlayStation Vita, a package that only comes with two of the three ingredients that the original PS3 and Xbox 360 releases had.  Those two games, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, are certainly enough by their own merits, but you know folks are going to complain about the lack of Peace Walker.  But is it really that much of a deal breaker?  No.

06.15.12

When producer Suda 51 works on a game, the last thing you should really come to expect is normalcy.  For years, he’s been adding some crazy touches to his games, whether it was wielding the “Big Boner” in Shadows of the Damned or slicing an enemy in half with a lightsaber in No More Heroes before performing a peculiar sexual motion to recharge it.  Now we have Lollipop Chainsaw, his latest effort, one in which he teams up with Super director James Gunn to deliver a game experience so far tongue in cheek, it practically rips through the other side.  But, relax, that’s a good thing.

06.14.12

When Men In Black III came out a few weeks ago, I actually thought it was a fairly good sequel, especially considering how abysmal Men In Black II was when it came out ten years ago.  Was it a sequel we really needed?  Nah, but it was certainly welcome, especially with the time travel gimmick.  But we can’t help but wonder where that ingenuity went when it came to the sub-licensed game Men In Black: Alien Crisis.  Because, honestly, there’s just no fixing this mess.