Too Mutant...

I rented X-Men: Destiny and played it for a few hours this morning, it's extremely reminiscent of Silicon Knights last effort, Too Human, which overall isn't a good thing. It's got some big positives, any X-Men will be thrilled at interacting with many minor and major characters from the comic series, and the customization that is allowed is fun and interesting, if a little simplistic. But the game just feels sloppy and unfinished in a lot of ways. The whole game looks like an original Xbox title with a slight HD upgrade. The combat is pretty sluggish, which makes you less effective at fighting than you really should be, and there's just not much variety to the combat. Admittedly I had fun with what I did play, but I was several hours in and nearly every other review clocks a playthrough at roughly 5 or 6 hours. This would be fine for a downloadable title, and frankly, if this were say a $20 downloadable title, I'd actually probably recommend it overall as it would be a fun romp for a few mindless hours, but as a full retail release this is pretty unacceptable. Maybe hardcore X-men nuts caan justify it, but everyone else should probably give it a pass and just wait a few weeks til a far superior super-hero game is due out (that'd be Arkham City).

That's really all I got for today, but I should have another post up either tomorrow or Friday. In the meantime, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


Terra Nova needs TUROK!!!

Ok not really, but I'm watching the much-hyped Dino series Terra Nova, about people from the future going back to a time when Dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and it seems given all the giant reptiles that want to make a tasty snack out of humans, someone like Turok could've been very useful. What do I actually think of the show? The pilot works as a fun mindless action romp, but I'm not really sure it has any legs. It was entertaining enough for me to give it a chance, and it seems like Fox will give this at least a full season unlike many promising sci-fi shows.

The biggest video game release (at least that's a new game and not a re-release) this week is X-Men: Destiny. It seems on the surface to have some of the ingredients for Arkham Asylum, such as no movie or TV series tie-in and has a fairly original concept of having an original hero and choosing between either the X-Men or the Brotherhood. That being said, developer Silicon Knights doesn't have the greatest track record as of late, the 3 choices of characters seem like lame stereotypes instead of  custom character most games would let you make, and frankly it doesn't look very good graphically. I will probably still rent it and give opinions tomorrow, but until then, we'll probably chuck it up to another disappointing licensed game that probably could've been great.

That's pretty much it for today, should have another post up tomorrow or Thursday. Until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: The King's League


What the hell has happened to Level 5?

Gah, sorry about only posting once last week, I've been working a ton and it's kind of left my creative batteries drained. I should be able to post 3 times this week, I'll see if I can do more to pick up the slack. Anyways, this is something I've been thinking about for a little while now, but Level 5 seems to be yet another great company that thrived in the PS2 era and inexplicably has pretty much lost it's magic in the PS3 era. I mean seriously, in the PS2 era, they were rpg superstars, they made several of my favorite rpgs on that system-Dark Cloud 2 (the original was decent enough, but 2 was a massive improvement), Dragon Quest VII (my favorite in the whole series) and Rogue Galaxy, which is one of my my favorite rpgs of all time (I should probably do that list sometime, maybe later this week if I can). Not to mention a little puzzle series on the DS called Professor Layton which is generally considered one of its best franchises.

So it was no wonder when the PS3 was about to launch, one of the most hotly anticipated titles was White Knight Chronicles from Level 5. It looked epic, with you being able to turn into a giant knight in order to fight giant demons. Of course, aside from the fact that it took freaking forever to actually come out (you were seeing footage of this game before the PS3 actually launched, it finally came out in North America just last year), it was pretty mediocre. Ok, no huge deal, Dark Cloud was fairly mediocre IMHO, but 2 was a massive improvement and remains a favorite to this day, they should have no issue making a decent sequel right? Well no as it turns out. White Knight Chronicles II was released earlier this month and the reviews are just as bad if not worse than for the first one. I've said several times this year that we seem to have a serious lack of solid console rpgs so for a great rpg company like this to be making big missteps is worrying. Granted, maybe all they need to do is realize that the whole concept isn't working, just drop it and move on to the next thing. Hopefully they have not lost their touch, because their next game due out here is a collaboration between themselves and the legendary Studio Ghibli.

No obviously the game looks incredible, and is already getting praise like "the most beautiful game I've ever played" thrown at it. So hopefully this is Level 5 getting their act together, because I don't think I will take it very well if a collaboration between these two awesome studios doesn't turn out well.

-Ok that's it for today, I should definitely be posting again tomorrow with thoughts on X-Men: Destiny (probably not a review, but Wednesday is a possibility for that). Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Man on a Ledge


The Top Ten Videogame Villains that deserve their own game...

Video games used to be pretty simple. You were the hero, there was  bad guy, and you beat him and saved the day/princess/planet/whatever. It's taken awhile, but we are starting to just now really get games that to least allow you to choose to be the bad guy or at least morally ambivalent. But truly interesting villains should get their time in the spotlight s well, so here's 10 that are most deserving:

10. The Purple Tentacle: From the awesome Day of The Tentacle, Purple has all the makings of  classic villain. Created by toxic sludge, he's arrogant and a super-genius, and wants to enslave the world. With adventure games making a comeback, one starring Purple with the trademark Maniac Mansion humor involving executing such a world-conquering plot would be pretty awesome.

9. Psy-crow: Earthworm Jim's arch-enemy and most competent antagonist could do very well in a hardcore yet humorous action title that would be essentially the same as classic EWJ game play. It wouldn't even be that hard to make a concept for, just have him constantly thwarting Jim and his buddies.

8. Lechuck: The main villain of the Monkey Island series seems like he has a lot of potential for a great pirate-themed title, be it an adventure game or something along the lines of Pirates! or Age of Booty. Something that showed his rise from nobody to legendary pirate would be pretty interesting.

7. Dr. Robotnik: While Sonic has been damaged more or less beyond repair at this point, Robotnik getting his own title might stand a decent chance. He always has a wide variety of vehicles which could be very fun and interesting to actually use. The structure could be easily done as well-progress through levels scooping up adorable furry critters for your robot army and each stage boss is a lame friend of Sonic's you get to ultimately destroy which would be very cathartic for long-suffering fans.

6. Captain Qwark/Dr. Nefarious: Granted Qwark has evolved from egotistical villain to ego-driven sidekick but Dr. Nefarious is still full out villain and either would be great in their own game. For Qwark, something that allows you play as the hero Qwark actually thinks he is would be awesome. As for Nefarious, pretty much anything involving a scheme of conquering the universe will do.

5.  Magus: The initial (though not true) villain of the best rpg of all time (FACT), Chrono Trigger, Magus is probably the only one on this list who would work in  game where he isn't necessarily the villain. The quest to redeem himself after the events of Chrono Trigger would certainly be interesting but just as good would be his rise to power. We know he started off a spoiled brat in a technologically advanced society, his journey from the doom of that culture to the most powerful wizard of the Middle Ages would be something to see.

4. Frank Fontaine: The main villain of Bioshock, but also the leader of  huge class struggle between himself and Andrew Ryan, the founder of Rapture. It would be extremely interesting to see this class war erupt at Rapture's high and then see the volatile downfall, with you being Fontaine, causing it ll to come crashing down around you.

3. Saren: This one is so easy it pretty much writes itself. It's the tale of Saren's corruption, from heroic Spectre to agent of the Reapers. Was he always someone who played way outside the lines to get things done, like a renegade Shephard, or was he more of a paragon that was slowly turned by Sovereign? I think we deserve at least one game starring him to find out.

2. Bowser: It's actually really surprising Bowser doesn't have his own game by now. Sure he kidnaps the Princess eleventy-billion times, but former Mario adversaries Wario & DK have theirown series of awesome titles, and the Koopa King has been playable in some form in numerous off-shoot titles.  A platformer or rpg actually starring Bowser is long overdue.

1. Ganon: Nintendo's equivalent to Darth Vader would be a great inspiration for a game. We pretty much always see Ganon as a fully developed warrior to be reckoned with, but we know from OOT he started off as a petty thief. A God of War or even Prince of Persia-esque game about his quest to aqcuire the Triforce of power seems like such a no-brainer. Maybe it's to keep some of the mystery, but Ganon easily seems like the villain most worthy of a game to me.

Ok that's it for today, I should have another post up later in the week, in the meantime here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: J. Edgar


The Ten worst gaming peripherials/add-ons OF ALL TIME!!!

The 3DS thumbstick add-on looks terrible, and it will probably be terrible until it's actually incorporated into the next iteration of the hard ware. But frankly, it's hardly the worst thing companies have come out with. Here are 10 far worse ideas that probably shouldn't have gone past the pitch phase....

#10. The Sega CD: Some may argue that this is actually a system, but I'd argue otherwise, since it you cannot play it without the Genesis. Expensive, not heavily supported and a seemingly half-assed attempt to beat Nintendo out the gate before their  CD add-on that never really materialized was supposed to launch. Filled with craptacular ports and terrible FMV games (not there's ever really been such a thing as a good FMV game) the only redeeming thing about this was that there were several genuine classics on the system such as Sonic CD, the Lunar series and the definitive version of Eternal Champions.

#9. The 32x: Much like the ill-fated cd, the 32x was Sega's half-assed attempt to offer gamers 32-bit gaming without actually being 32-bit. It required the Genesis to use so again not a full console, was a bitch to setup and was really lacking in anything that would constitute a solid library, with tons of terrible ports and nothing that really seemed to true 32-bit.

#8. The PS2 Eyetoy: This just may have been technology that was ahead of it's time, what with Wii, Kinect and Move all doing to a greater extent. Doesn't mean it doesn't suck though. Support again was pretty much nil, and really not one of the titles was memorable. The only reason the PS3 version isn't a complete failure because they just integrated it into Move.

#7. The GBA E-reader: This bulky piece of junk was how you played overpriced old Nintendo games on the go. It was a stupid unnecessary format, But even worse was the add-on content, where it actually required another GBA and a link cable in order to download things like additional levels.

#6: Wii Wheel: It's a couple cents worth of plastic that does absolutely nothing, yet many casual gamers were convinced it was necessary, so tons were sold. Nearly any plastic add-on for the Wii would belong on the list. but the Wii Wheel was the most successful, so it pretty much represents the whole range.

#5:  R. O. B.: ROB has sort of a cool retro appeal these days thanks to his surprising appearances in the occasional video game, but those old enough to have actually owned one remember it was basically a highly-hyped POS with only 2 incredibly craptacular games ever even released for it. Some people claim it was part of  a "trojan horse" strategy by Nintendo so people would think the NES wasn't just another video game console, but I don't remember one kid who enjoyed ROB and many skipped the practically useless robot altogether.

#4: Sega Activator: In concept, this might have sounded kind of cool, fighting games were all the rage at the time, and actually being able to kick and punch your opponents seemed like a great idea. The execution was where this truly failed, as everything was needlessly complicated and worked terribly, with things like  high ceiling or a chandelier causing massive interference.

#3: The Super Scope: The NES zapper was pretty awesome, it worked surprisingly well and had a decent amount of solid games. The Super Scope by comparison only had a handful of games, none of which were very good, and also had issues even working properly. It also was constantly expensive, requiring a whopping SIX AA batteries to operate.

#2: The Power Glove: "I love the Power Glove" it's so bad. Truer words were never spoken. This might be the absolute worst controller ever made. Only 2 games were ever released for it specifically, and they were terrible. It was compatible with other titles, but good luck getting it to work even if you could figure out the controls.

#1: The Gameboy Camera/Printer: Most of these previous ideas listed at least have some logic behind the idea. The Gameboy Camera has none whatsoever. Sure it might have been one of the most portable "cameras" at the time it came out, but who the hell wanted monochrome low res pictures that you couldn't even tell what the pictures are of? This is absolutely the worst idea for a peripheral/add-on ever, no contest.

Ok that's it for today, with a little luck I should have another post up by Tuesday, until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


Well it's not like Sony has their act together either...

So the 3DS lately seems doomed to fail, right? Poor sales, gimmicky atrocious add-ons, and a constant promise of of a killer library that has yet to materialize. Surely Sony has seen these mistakes, not to mention learned from their previous ones and will completely destroy Nintendo's stranglehold on the handheld market with Vita right? Clearly you have not been pay attention to Sony.

One of the biggest complaints about the PSP was it's shitty battery life. You were lucky if you got more than a few hours out of the damn thing. People have had similar complaints about the 3DS' battery life, since it's considerably shorter than the DS'. So surely Sony would fix that issue this time, right? Nope. The Vita has at best the same battery life as the 3DS. Sony of course is offering "optional" extended batteries.

The other big issue links to Sony's bone-headed insistence on proprietary media. Virtually everything these days uses an SD card, including the 3DS (hell it comes with a 2 gb that seems like it'll cover most of your needs).  And it's a relatively cheap storage medium. The Vita has no internal storage and has no memory included. While Sony has stated you'll be able to save games on their own cards, virtually any additional content such as movies, music or dlc will pretty much require it. And of course it only works with their cards, which are more than double the cost of  comparative SD card.

So throw in the shitty battery life, seemingly necessary extended battery and ridiculously overpriced memory cards the Vita just seems like the clusterfuck that was the PSP all over again, just with slightly improved graphics and front and back touch pads. Yay. Maybe I should just give in and start saving for an Iphone/Android....

Ok that's all for today, hopefully I should have another post up Sunday. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Crystal Story


Just when you think it can't get worse...

So Nintendo's big conference was mostly a lot of nothing. They announced a new Monster Hunter title, a Pink 3DS and that Kid Icarus, which probably should've been  a launch title, was delayed yet again to next year. That wasn't enough to impress investors, as the stock dropped 5%. They didn't talk about the controller extension at the presentation, quite tellingly, they just revealed it on the show floor, and it's not just a second circular pad, it actually adds several buttons, which seems at least on the surface to add too much functionality to offer games that are merely compatible, which is worrying if for no other reason I doubt a lot of current owners have much intention of buying it. I mean seriously, maybe $20 for the add-on itself is mildly justifiable, but it also requires a separate battery, with no word on how long that lasts. Really? Another battery to deal with? Why is the 3DS so half-assed? Honestly if this becomes a forced add-on that all games require, I don't really see myself keeping my 3DS, but I don't see how anybody buys this thing separately in any significant amount unless it becomes mandatory or Nintendo offers it in a way that nearly everyone will end up owning it (i.e. packing it in free with a major title that uses it or possibly even several major titles). I really think Nintendo is in a no-win situation here, they may just have to admit they fucked up and dump the whole thing.

Ok that's it for today, sorry it's a little later than planned, but I've been a little under the weather the last couple of days, should have another post up either tomorrow or Saturday. In the meantime, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: We Bought a Zoo


State of the Mushroom Kingdom address...

Ok before I get to talking about the Big N's pending press conference I did promise I'd say some stuff about Disgaea 4. I'm several hours in so far and enjoying it quite a bit. Everything seems a lot tighter and more refined than the somewhat lazy third entry and the new features like the cam-pain HQ make sure there's always something to do to take a break from the overall grind. And sure there's plenty of grinding, but the battles are lots of fun and very dynamic. I highly recommend it to any rpg gamer, especially with the severe lack of rpgs out for home consoles this year.

Now tomorrow is a big Nintendo conference specifically about the 3DS. They will most likely be showing off the holiday releases that will make this system a must-own such as Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D, Kid Icarus, etc. along with hopefully a look at some future titles (such as Monster Hunter G). They might officially announce the second circular pad, and frankly they better come up with something to offer the current install base. At the very least if the circular pad is real, it should be offered free to any current owners. But frankly given how bulky and ungainly the thing looks, current owners should probably be given a free voucher for the new design. This isn't like the original DS compared to any later iteration-nothing added in those designs drastically changed gameplay options or cut off a significant portion of owners from enjoying the games because they had an earlier design. I think Nintendo knows it really has to blow the doors off the the hinges tomorrow, so hopefully that's exactly what they will do. Otherwise they may soon find themselves relegated to the inconsequential 3rd place they were in the last couple of generations...

That is all for today, I should most definitely have a post up by Tuesday specifically about Nintendo's big press conference. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


Yes, because creating a huge divide will save the system...

Nintendo seems to be in desperation mode with the 3DS still. I'm not completely sure why, the system hasn't even gone through it's first holiday season. But they've massively slashed the price and are now supposedly adding a rather drastic re-design that adds on another analog stick. Fair enough, dual analog sticks have been the norm for  long time now in controller schemes and should help immensely with control issues (also might be a big step towards porting Gamecube games, which has been rumored and would be awesome).

But what about those of us who already bought the system? Well like most things Nintendo brings out that add functionality, we can get one for our current system. Because that worked so well with the Motion+ add on and the small handful of games that even bothered to support it. Much like the Motion + the second analog is being touted s a good idea that should've been in the original design to begin with, but it instantly creates a significant portion of the audience who won't have this thing and won't buy it for a number of reasons, the main one probably the feeling of being screwed over just for buying the system early. And then you have developers, which Nintendo has a history or more or less leaving to their own devices when making games for the system, who certainly won't want to cut that portion off. If Nintendo wants this to work they will most likely have to mandate that all games actually use this second analog stick. But given Nintendo's history with third parties I don't really see that happening, plus it would absolutely look like a huge fuck you to anybody who bought the system prior. It's really starting to look like Nintendo is a rudderless ship here, and for their sake I hope they fix it at lest by the time the Wii U launches.

That's it for today I should be posting again tomorrow with thoughts on Disgaea 4 and maybe a couple other things. In the meantime here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Super Type


MMO'S Square, you're doing it wrong...

Dragon Quest is one of the biggest series in video game history, even if its not a gigantic hit here, in Japan, the nation practically shuts down when one is released, so it's a huge coup for Nintendo to be the one getting all the DQ games lately. And hey, the series has never relied on graphics to impress(IX could've been done on a SNES), so it's not really something that'd even necessarily benefit from being on the PS3 or 360 normally. Dragon Quest X is one of the few reasons to actually hold on to your Wii beyond this holiday season really. But possibly not anymore. Dragonquest X is indeed coming, but in a drastic series departure, will be an online MMO. An online MMO on the Wii? Surely you must be joking? Apparently not.

Though hey, Monster Hunter Tri did at least decent numbers despite the Wii's lack of anything resembling a coherent system. And it is slated for Wii U at some point so maybe this can almost be seen as a test run. Get the kinks worked out before the Wii U version hits and maybe it'll be something that helps differentiate Nintendo's online from something else. The big issue is that they plan charging a subscription fee in order to get online. Now of course this is not completely unusual for an MMO, but it seems to be a really poor idea with the trend for MMOs these days not only being free to play, but that Nintendo's online reputation is a joke at this point, and they'll need to come up with something really impressive to get anybody to really go online with their system. The Wii is already long a lost cause in this area. We've been promised whatever Nintendo has planned for the Wii U will be better, but without any real evidence of such so far. DQX could be a huge way to get Nintendo fans online and a jumping point for a strong online portfolio, but having a subscription fee for an unproven online iteration on a system who's online functionality is already suspect long before its out is the wrong move. Hopefully Square will fix this either before the release or not long after it's out, or I think they'll have missed out on a huge opportunity.

That's it for today, I should be back tomorrow or Thursday with another post. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Blackthorne


Let the game avalanche begin!

Now that we are pretty much at the end of Summer, it's time for gamers' wallets to get very, very afraid. Even with many big titles such as Mass Effect 3 & Twisted Metal pushed back to sometime next year, we still have a gigantic deluge of titles coming in the next few months, especially for those owning multiple consoles, and it begins here.One of the most exciting zombie games in a long while, Dead Island comes out, and we'll see if it lives up to the amazing trailer. I'm not a huge fan of zombie titles, but it certainly looks compelling and IGN describing it as "Fallout with zombies", sounds promising. The 3DS gets another N64 classic this Friday with the release of Star Fox 64, which much like the 3DS iteration of Ocarina of Time, is shaping up to be the definitive version, making the number of must-own titles for the system double to a whopping 2 (though that should increase shortly with several big titles due out by Christmas).

But as an rpg nut who has been dealing with a real lack of rpgs lately, I'm by far most interested in Disgaea 4 for the PS3. Sadly aside from Skyrim rpg gamers don't have a whole lot to look forward to. While I absolutely love most Nippon Ichi titles and really enjoyed the first two Disgaea titles, the third seemed like just a little too much of the same. This latest entry however looks to solve most of those issues with a whole ton of stuff to do along with online integration in ways you wouldn't see in any other series. Throw in the series trademark over the top insanity and humor and you might have the sleeper rpg of the year on your hands. Too bad it might get buried under all the bigger releases.

Ok that's all for today, I should have another post up by Tuesday. In the meantime here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


No Sony, you can't go Home again...

It's generally agreed that Sony's Home program, designed to be a virtual space for gamers is a interestingly muddled experiment at the best of times. It's cumbersome, pointless, filled with annoying ads, and no one really uses it. Yet Sony seems determined to try and turn it into something gamers actually give a shit about. Their latest "genius" revamp? Turning it into some kind of MMO theme park. Really, a virtual theme park? Who the hell cares? This just seems like they are desperate to please at this point. It just seems ridiculously complicated like Home has always been. XBox live works because it keeps things streamlined and simple. It's virtually effortless to find people to play with on your level or any level you want.  Now I have to go to some vaguely described section of a "theme park"? Why would I want to do that? And you plan on making it something else to play? If I wanted to be in a social MMO I would be in one, there's tons out there, all free to play, and better organized than anything Sony will come up with. Home is a lost cause, Sony should just dump it altogether and probably just try and ape Xbox live as best they can. People pay for that service because it's by far the best, Sony is free because no one in their right mind would pay for it, and shit like Home continues to re-enforce that fact.

That's all for today, I have a fairly packed weekend, but with a little luck I should have a post up Sunday. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Infestor