Content about SEN

07.01.12

In an effort to keep up with Call of Duty and its Elite service, EA has shifted Battlefield 3 in a whole new paid-content direction with the announcement of a Premium service, one that offers map packs and various weapon and XP boosts for around $50.  A decent price, but one that’s really set aside for the dedicated fans.  They’re out there, as the pack has sold 800,000 units so far, and climbing.  The first real map pack to come with the service, Close Quarters, offers some extensive combat situations that will test even the most frivolous of players.  However, the way it does it may not be what most Battlefield fans are used to.

06.30.12

The legacy of Tomba! is a small yet important one.  The game (and its following sequel) were made by a team known as Whoopee Camp, inspired by classic side-scrolling games of old and eager to make their own.  The original came out on the original PlayStation way back in 1998, followed by a sequel over a year later, and though they were well critically received, they weren’t the best sellers Sony was hoping for.  Sadly, Whoopee Camp was no more after the second game came out, but their story lives on there, thanks to the thoughtful gaming crew at MonkeyPaw Games.

06.29.12

Trying to invigorate a game genre that’s gone to its point of extent is a tricky move.  On the one hand, you create a worthwhile game experience that’s bound to attract some kind of audience.  On the other, it’s not always guaranteed to work.  With that, we have Zivix’s JAM Live Music Arcade, a game that takes an assortment of rock tunes and lets you mix them however you please, provided you’re ready to switch between various instrument tracks.  At first, it definitely shows signs of innovations, but it’s when you’re trying to go to the next level with the game that it really shows how flawed a rock experience it is.

06.28.12

We’ve already got an abundance of downloadable arcade racing games available for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Not only do you have pretty much every major Sega arcade racing franchise (Sega Rally, Daytona USA, Outrun), but you’ve also got secondary favorites like Hydro Thunder Hurricane and the recently released Mad Riders.   But that isn’t stopping D3 Publisher from releasing Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad, a no-frills dirt racing extravaganza with plenty of drifting, high-flying arcade action.  It’s hardly the most original thing out there, but at least the motor keeps running.

06.27.12

With war, no answers come easy.  An enemy’s motives may not be what you think, as he or she may merely be protecting their family; but on the other hand, someone’s decision could be fueled by the fact that something’s just not right.  With Spec Ops: The Line, the long-awaited third-person action shooter from 2K Games and Yager, this feeling really seeps in as you, Captain Walker, and your fellow team members investigate goings-on in Dubai, trying to locate Colonel John Konrad and his fellow members of the 33rd U.S. Battalion.

06.21.12

It’s been nearly 12 years since we’ve seen Tekken Tag Tournament, Namco’s off-shoot in its fighting franchise, where you could tag team between two characters when facing off against enemies, switching them out with tactics and engaging in some rather creative melees as a result.  We’re supposing that the company preferred the “one vs. one” option for so long, as they demonstrated in Tekken 4, Tekken 5 and Tekken 6.  But finally, we’re getting a return of team fighting madness with Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which is set to hit Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this September, with a Wii U release to follow later in the year.

06.21.12

Remember the good ol’ days of arcade-style overhead racers?  I’m talking about stuff like Sega’s classic Hot Rod and even the original Codemasters NES release Micro Machines, where you would race along breakfast tables and garage floors trying to prove you were number one.  Well, these days, that formula of racer lives on, with EA’s Reckless Racing games doing some damage over on the iPad, as well as Bang Bang Racing, an offering from Digital Reality, doing donuts on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.  But did these guys manage to get the formula right, or does it stall out of the gate?

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.

06.20.12

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.

06.18.12

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!

06.16.12

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.

06.12.12

More often than not, I always hear about these developers who try to load a multiplayer game with an abundant amount of features, whether it’s additional weaponry, new maps or some other technical doodad that’s trying to draw attention.  But, honestly, the best kind of multiplayer games are the simplest ones, built upon an ideal concept that players can immediately grasp onto.  For some inexplicable reason, When Vikings Attack, a new PlayStation Network effort from Clever Beans, found its way into our hearts.

06.12.12

Last year’s DiRT 3, I think, was the pinnacle for Codemasters’ long-running rally racing series, as it simply got everything just right.  The feel of the cars, the variety of the tracks, the sheer thrill of flying off a jump and landing for a first place finish…everything just clicked.  So with that, the team was probably wondering…”So what next?”  We get that answer today with the release of DiRT Showdown, a not-so-routine sequel where you’re taking part in a racing festival, competing in fun – and quite destructive – racing events.

06.11.12

When Virtua Fighter 5 initially released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 a few years back, it entertained long-time fans of Sega AM2’s brawling series, though some missing features – namely online play on the PS3 – left them being somewhat uneven.  But the company finally resolved those differences this past week with the release of Final Showdown, a long-awaited follow-up that fixes some (but not all) of the mistakes, thus making it a smoother fighting experience.  And cheaper, too.

06.01.12

Remember last year when Techland and Deep Silver introduced the racing game Nail’d?  It actually provided a fresh new take on the ATV racing scene, thanks to its heavily vertical (yet still surprisingly cramped) level design and its non-stop speed.  Well, Ubisoft apparently liked it as well, as it’s commissioned the game’s developer, Techland, to do it all over again for Mad Riders, which hit Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network this week.  And while some of the game’s flaws still remain intact, it remains a fun racer – especially if you’ve got online friends looking to join you.

05.30.12

It looks like the strenuous wait for Doom 4 will continue on, as neither Bethesda nor id Software have any new information about the sequel -- and it won't likely be present at E3.  However, it looks like we'll have the next best thing, as the companies did announce this morning that it is bringing back an Xbox/PC favorite for the current generation of gaming.  Hope you've got your boomstick handy.

05.30.12

At one point, folks were worried what would become of Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank series, considering that the team was moving on to multi-platform development with its upcoming Electronic Arts project Overstrike, announced at last year’s E3.  Well, don’t fret.  Along with the forthcoming Ratchet and Clank HD Collection, which is being developed by Idol Games and overseen by Insomniac, the team is actually returning for an all new effort – one that long-time fans will appreciate.

05.30.12

When it comes to games made specifically for the PlayStation Move, Sony could’ve done better.  Some of the lamer party and dancing efforts are easily forgettable; Kung Fu Rider stunk worse than a slice of Gouda cheese left in an unplugged fridge for a week; and Medieval Moves was too jittery for its own good.  But now, two years after its initial announcement, we have a game that actually makes the PlayStation Move look likable, even though using it actually reveals a pretty big weakness.

05.29.12

If there’s one company that knows how to show appreciation for its classics, it’s Sega.  Over the years, they’ve re-released a number of their Genesis and arcade hits as digital downloads, and includes them in such compilations as Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection as well.  So it should be no surprise that it continues to beef up its Sega Vintage Collection, this time with a trio of games that, while not exactly fitting together in a theme, provide entertainment for old-school gamers and newcomers everywhere.

05.29.12

A lot of folks I know were pretty disappointed with Resistance 3, despite Insomniac Games’ efforts to take the series in a new direction following the death of its main hero, Nathan Hale.  Me?  Well, it irked me in places, but I could see what the developers were trying to do, and I had a fair amount of fun with it – even though I still turned to Killzone 3 by default afterward.  Now, people are once again getting divided up over the release of Burning Skies, the first portable entry for Resistance on the Vita.  (In this case, game critics.)  But, honestly, is it really that bad?  Nope, in fact, it’s pretty good.

05.27.12

Fans of Doctor Who are a rabid bunch, aren’t they?  And who can blame them?  For years, the cult TV series has lived on in one form or another, currently setting up for another season in what appears to be the Wild West.  Now BBC Multimedia has ventured forward with a downloadable game for PlayStation Network, one that eschews the kind of ambience that fans of the series may greatly appreciate.  Sadly, however, the gameplay just never lives up to its potential.

05.24.12

Since its release over the past few months on both mobile platforms and consoles, The Pinball Arcade has become a popular release with both pinball fans and newcomers alike, as the development team at Farsight Studios has managed to perfectly recreate some of the more popular tables out there for digital play, including Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! and most recently, Funhouse and Bride of Pin-bot, which are coming to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network next month.

05.24.12

It’s been a good five years since we stepped onto the battlefield with a full-fledged Ghost Recon game, cruising through the skies with Advanced Warfighter 2.  Since that time, Ubisoft’s been putting the finishing touches on its latest chapter, Future Soldier, only to run into delays and forcing its release date to move a few months.  Well, the time for delays is over, as the finished product has finally worked its way to store shelves.  Now the question is, has this long wait been worth it?