Tag Archives: Game of the Quarter

Devil May Cry 3 — 1Q2017

Devil May Cry 3-02
Photo courtesy of GiantBomb.com

Dance with the devil in Dante’s rebound adventure

by Brandon Beatty
by Brandon Beatty

When I finally got my own copy of Devil May Cry 3, I read that it brought back the melee action that made the first game awesome to play, but it raised the bar for future installments of Capcom’s demon-slaying series. Was the praise heaped upon DMC3 well deserved or was this another way of Capcom milking a great game series dry for more cash? I got my answer in Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening, Special Edition.
Set as a prequel to the original DMC, we find our fearless demon hunter Dante beginning to set up shop when a mysterious man named Arkham arrives with a invitation from Dante’s brother, Vergil. This “invitation” turns into a demon-style, revealing that Vergil has not only helped in resurrecting a ancient demonic tower, but also he wants Dante’s amulet to open a portal to connect the human and with the demon worlds. Dante, of course, is not pleased and sets off to stop Vergil and his plans of world domination.
DMC3 starts from the beginning as an explosive nonstop melee with brief but important tutorials for players to master Dante’s moves and his signature weapons. In addition to the tutorials, four different combative arts called “styles” are available to Dante, giving him various abilities to increase the power of various guns, striking weapons, dodge attacks, and unleashing hand-to-hand combat with devastating results. Once Dante defeats a certain boss, he will be able to use them in the form of unique, various weapons. There is a lock-on feature to directly target enemies that, with practice, will be a valuable tool to rip enemies apart. Also in the special edition, there are two modes of play: Normal, which is basic DMC speed; or, Turbo, where EVERYTHING is clocked up 20 times the normal speed of the game to test your skills. Also, you can play the game not only as Dante, but also as Vergil, who has some serious weaponry and moves that would make Jubei Yagyu be in awe.
Score-4The game music fits each level with a Phantom of the Opera type of feel while the battle scenes uses an electronic/heavy metal beat that heats up the battles. My only issue is that it’s repetitive every time I fight enemies, but it’s well done nonetheless. The voice acting in DMC is top-notch thanks to Reuben Langdon as Dante and Daniel Southworth (Power Rangers: Time Force) as Vergil. Both actors did the motion capture and voice work for their respective characters.
With the good comes the bad, however. While I appreciate the use of analog control in addition to moving the screen camera around, the controls are tank-like. That is frustrating because if I’m surrounded by enemies, I’m easy pickings. Also, the automatic firing ability of Ebony and Ivory is still in DMC3 but it requires rapid pressing instead of the fluid ease found in the first game. I also had to stock up (and I mean STOCK UP) on red orbs to purchase power ups for Dante and his weapons or learn new moves since the game was trying to do a stick-up job every time I need to make some upgrades. Fortunately, I could replay each mission to get more orbs or level up.
DMC3 lives up to its high praise guaranteeing plenty of challenge and replay value when you just want to get medieval on things but legally. This Special Edition is a no-holds barred adventure in demon-slaying with the best in the business. If Capcom wants to do a movie for Devil May Cry, I’m for it, but do it right; in other words Capcom, stick to the story and the payday bonanza will take care of itself.

Super Mario Maker – 1Q2016

Super Mario Maker-15

A masterpiece in the making

by Lyndsey Hicks
by Lyndsey Hicks

Super Mario Maker is the Mario game that isn’t quite the standard Mario fare but is the game you didn’t know you needed. It is, alongside few others, the killer app for the Wii U.
Let’s start with what Mario Maker isn’t. This isn’t your regular Mario hop and bop, save the princess adventure. In fact, little story if any exists and Peach is barely mentioned or referenced. This is Mario stripped down to his bare elements, showing how his adventures come together. It’s also really an excuse to revisit Mario’s past and get some of the newer enthusiasts up to speed, just in time for Mario’s 30th birthday.
The stage is set by utilizing some of Mario’s greatest games. Making Super Mario Maker-27an appearance are elements from the original platforming masterpieces Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3. Joining those are secondary greatest hit Super Mario World and the more recent hit New Super Mario Bros. U. All four games represent some crowning achievement for the everyday plumber and thus have some merit for making you revisit these set pieces to create your own masterpiece.
Creating that masterpiece is simple and intuitive. The level editor focuses on levels, not worlds, and wisely makes the process quick and painless. Want to make a level with 10 Bowsers underwater Score-5only to face off against a lone Hammer Bros. before the end gate in Super Mario world style and graphics? That’s easy. But this is also where the only gripe that I have with the game rears its head. While you may want to make that stunning gauntlet of pain immediately, you’re limited because of the game’s unlocking system. Game styles beyond the initial two and ultimately the majority of your creation library are unlocked via a time system that goes by days. You can speed it up, but it’s intended to make you the creator spend several days trying out the system and getting a feel for new elements in a paced environment. I can appreciate the sense of not wanting too many elements all at once, but the system is a little slow and frustrating when I have a million ideas that I can’t fully implement for several days initially.
Mario Maker looks fantastic for the most part. The non-level editor graphics look great and are crisp. The game runs off the Wii U graphical power so while your newer game styles and non-editor graphics look good on the Wii U gamepad and on the TV, your older graphics for most of the styles are going to look a little bad at 1080p resolution on a newer TV. Nintendo took a risk in not jazzing up the older game styles and it paid off, quite honestly. I’d rather play a SMB3 level in the way that it would have looked on the original NES than a fixed version that’s been changed.
In addition to the graphics, the soundtrack is a mix of new and old. The main themes associated with each game style and level type (Ground, Underwater, Underground, Castle, Airship and Ghost House) are remixed for use during the editing process. They are found, though, in their original form when an actual level is played. The remixes are great and bring something new to the table, while using the original version does a lot for immersion. The game’s illusions to spiritual predecessor Mario Paint don’t hurt, either. It, too, had a unique soundtrack and hearkening back to that era of creativity in several places such as the soundtrack is a  welcome inclusion.
What I love most about Mario Maker is its sense of Mario love. It’s not afraid to let the gamer take control and it’s also about Nintendo letting folks in to see the wheels turn behind one of its most iconic franchises. Nintendo clearly loves Mario, whether it’s from a monetization point of taking its internal level editor and turning it loose on the population, or from the standpoint that Mario is Nintendo and he’s been given the royal treatment for a job well done for the past 30 years. Super Mario Maker is the company’s love letter to Mario fans and well done letter at that.

LittleBigPlanet — 3Q2015

LittleBigPlanet-09
Photos courtesy of Gamespot.com

A class in master crafting

by Lyndsey Hicks
by Lyndsey Hicks

There are always games that come with a certain amount of hype. These are the titles that everyone raves about but wind up on your never-ending pile of shame. You’ll probably buy it but never actually get around to playing it or playing it long enough to see what all the fuss is about. LittleBigPlanet is one of those such games.
Quirky is the first adjective I’d use to describe the platforming game featuring Sackboy, an anthropomorphic creature that’s featured front and center at the heart of the game. Sackboy can be Sackgirl as well, and that’s part of the charm of the game. It can be whatever you want it to be and do just about anything you want it to do, in the name of getting from point A to point B.

Score-5The quirkiness comes in the fact that the environment in which it does so is all about Play-Share-Create. The levels of LittleBigPlanet are meant to be user-created and shared for online play among the LBP community, so the depth of the game is immediately obvious and worth the price of admission alone.
Controlling Sackboy/girl is simple, yet not without its problems. It’s much like playing any platformer of the past 20 years and the control scheme is simple and intuitive in letting you figure out what to do and how to apply it later. Where it falters is the jumping mechanics. While obvious and simple, the jumping does feel slightly off and floaty, which is a problem in a game that relies on that mechanic to carry it. It’s annoying to have to re-do sections of a level solely because of a missed jump, and that detracts from the core experience.
While the mechanics could use tweaking, not much else needs work. LittleBigPlanet-04The soundtrack is fantastic and fits the game perfectly. It’s a good mixture of indie folk and pop, and it immediately reminds of the brilliance that is Katamari Damacy. The graphics are also in the realm of perfect and evoke a certain sort of charm that begs more playthroughs just to see what developer Media Molecule could come up with next. It’s breathtaking and simplistic, like a child’s world come to life, and begs to be admired.
LittleBigPlanet is one of the few games of the past few years that demands to be played and warrants purchase of system just to play it. If you haven’t bothered to play it by now, you need to stop what you’re doing and get on it. It has its minor problems but they’re nothing to keep you from enjoying what’s considered a masterpiece. It’s worth every moment of its Play-Share-Create moniker.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom — 2Q2015

Tatsunoko vs Capcom-10

Tatsunoko takes on Capcom in Wii brawl

by Brandon Beatty
by Brandon Beatty

Everyone who reads GI knows that I’m an otaku. I’m also a big fan of classic anime that has set the standard for today’s anime. Most of the awesome-level anime old and new has came from Japan’s world-renown Tatsunoko Productions. So, when I heard that Capcom was reviving its “Versus” series, I thought that Capcom was running out of gaming ideas. That was until it was announced that Tatsunoko would play a major role. I thought it was a joke, but I was in shock when the rumors were true and thus the question came about: What would happen if Capcom’s heroes met Tatsunoko’s heroes in a gaming forest? Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars for the Wii answered that question for me.

Developed by Eighting and published by Capcom, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a 3D game that places various characters from both companies’ top-selling series into a exclusive fighting game treat. Score-5Inspired by the Marvel vs. Capcom series, TvC allows duos from either Capcom’s or Tatsunoko’s rosters to fight against other characters with the winning team going on to face Yami from Capcom’s adventure title Okami. If you like to mix a Capcom character with a Tatsunoko character, that’s also possible as a way to give the gameplay more variety. In addition to the original arcade mode, there are survival and time attack modes that allow you to test your skills via limited health regeneration and defeating your opponents in the shortest time possible. An additional feature includes a mini-game shooter called “Ultimate All-Shooters.”

Control is handled with three buttons, which greatly simplifies the Tatsunoko vs Capcom-02learning curve. It’s simplified even more thanks to the Wii’s Classic controller, GameCube controller, third-party arcade sticks and the regular Wii remote. You will love the character roster consisting of each companies’ top franchises such as Street Fighter, Rival Schools, Viewtiful Joe, Lost Planet, Darkstalkers/Vampire and Mega Man for Capcom while Tatsunoko is represented by Karas, Tekkaman, G-Force and Yatterman. There are other characters that can be unlocked via use of money (Zenny) earned in each game, which also will allow purchase of alternate endings, costume changes and other unlockable surprises.

The music is top-notch in each stage, but the intro and endings songs are fun to sing and dance to. In particular, the Gesellschaft (Clear Skies) and the Daigo Temple (Cherry Blossom) stages are favorites.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is an answered prayer for fans of fighting games and anime. As a first-time connoisseur of this type of crossover, TvC is delightful game experience. As an otaku gamer, Capcom can work on my damn nerves at times with their no-thought decisions, but in this case, they worked with a renown anime company to bring a quality product to a system that was in SORE need of well-rounded games. Now only if Capcom can make amends with Keiji Inafune. They might be respected once more.

2UP EVALUATION

by Lyndsey Hicks
by Lyndsey Hicks

All of the razzle dazzle hype aside, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is something I want to play. I’m already a fan of most Capcom fighting properties, and I love the Versus series, so I’m going to play whatever they come up with next to join forces with and create magic. In this case, it’s anime related as well, so there’s a winning combination all the way around.

I didn’t know much about Tatsunoko before playing the game, but after spending a little time immersed in the super sentai world, I learned that it’s something that’s compelling to return to time and time again. Nice mechanics, an Score-4-5interesting roster and gorgeous attention to detail with the environments and soundtrack make it a nice package. My only gripes are that the story doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense (really, Yami from Okami, Capcom? That’s it?), and that not knowing that much about Tatsunoko actually works against me. Other than that, there’s isn’t a reason why I wouldn’t play this constantly, even if it is a Wii exclusive. That’s just another reason to go out and buy the now-defunct console.

TvC trivia

* The original title for TvC was Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes.

* While the game developers had the OK to add any character from Tatsunoko or Capcom, Tatsunoko did deny some choices because of licensing issues; originally, Phoenix Wright was suggested, but was pulled because of difficulties with finding proper attacks for him.

* Most video game reviewers such as G4’s Adam Sessler and IGN’s John Tanaka were doubtful about an outside-of-Japan release because of Tatsunoko’s final approved roster of characters. They were licensed in other countries, despite being owned by Tatsunoko, and the level of recognition of some characters was a concern.

* As of 2012, Capcom USA senior vice president Christian Svensson has stated that Capcom could no longer sell the game in physical or digital form because licensing rights with Tatsunoko expired.

Devil May Cry — 1Q2015

Photos by Brandon Beatty/Gaming Insurrection
Photos by Brandon Beatty/Gaming Insurrection

Capcom’s instant action platforming classic

by Brandon Beatty
by Brandon Beatty

In previous installments of Otaku Corner, I reviewed manga based on Capcom’s Devil May Cry. Ever since DMC’s arrival in 2001, it has grown from a critically acclaimed series to written and visual adaptations in comics, written novels and other various merchandise. Originally set in the Resident Evil universe, because of technology restraints and an expanding reverse storyline from Resident Evil, the series was ported to the PlayStation 2. Having enjoyed experiencing the manga’s action, I wondered if I would feel the same when I played the first DMC game? I was about to find out.

Devil May Cry has elements that are similar to Resident Evil; the Devil May Cry-15only difference is that you will be dealing with supernatural enemies instead of those who were created by unethical scientific experiments. You assume the role of Dante, a demon hunter/investigator who uses his skills to exercise demons for profit and to avenge the loss of his family from said creatures. One night while working, Dante is hired by a mysterious woman named Trish, who after a brief but amazing test of Dante’s skill, hires him to go to an abandoned castle where Mundus, the demon who is responsible for the death of Dante’s family, is planning a return from hell. Unknown to our badass hero, he has taken on a a job that starts out as an opportunity for vengeance, but soon will unlock an ancient birthright and his true destiny as mankind’s newest protector against demonic forces.

Gameplay in DMC is a complete 180 from Resident Evil as the battle style is more melee combat that running and hiding from zombies. I found the controls pretty easy to use, thanks to the analog sticks that allow plenty of free movement to jump and take full advantage of Dante’s sweet combat moves. You will love it when Dante gets to business immediately with use of his twin handguns that can infict damage rapid-fire style and his awsomely designed sword Alastor that can be upgraded to unlock new attacks. He also has a BIG trump card to really make the demons howl with the use of “Devil Triggers” (think Goku or Vegeta going Super Saiyan with an arsenal of weapons and being in god mode).

Score-5-retrogradeThe graphics are beautiful as Capcom developed a great game engine and made great use of the PS2’s technological capabilities to bring out the action without using the god-awful camera angles found in Resident Evil. I personally liked how each cutscene brought DMC’s storyline together without any over-the-top drama. The enemy variety is good, too, ranging from demon marionettes to giant owls and other demonic creatures. I enjoyed the voice acting because it was not forced, flowing in sync with the game’s plot. I am proud to say that I would definitely replay this game when I’m feeling like I want to rip some demons apart.

Devil May Cry is a standout original game that is worthy of its praise from gaming critics the world over. I find this another testimony to the fact that Capcom can do themselves and their customers justice by being true to their craft. I was pleased with my first DMC gaming experience and await more in future installments of this series.

Injustice: Gods Among Us — 4Q2014

Photos courtesy of Shacknews.com
Photos courtesy of Shacknews.com

Justice takes a new form

by Lyndsey Hicks
by Lyndsey Hicks

There have been a few DC Comics fighting games that have taken advantage of its variable superhero and metahuman roster. Justice League Task Force and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe are among those that come to mind. And because of MK vs. DC Universe, brought to you pre-Midway implosion by the company that created that step in the direction of redemption, DC was able to foresee the fruits of making a decent game based on their properties. Enter Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Let’s get straight to the point: Marvel has had the market cornered on fighting games involving superheroes for some time now, thanks to the resourcefulness and shady undertones that are Capcom. So, for Injustice to stand a chance in the suddenly re-crowded fighting game arena, it had to be something special. Thanking those gods among us, it is.

Injustice plays much like the 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat. The combat system is a lot like it in tone and rhythm and the animation style and framing is much like it as well. If you can play that incarnation of MK, more than likely you’re going to be able to pick up Injustice and run with it in a few short hours. And much like the MK reboot, there’s much more under the pretty coat of nostalgia. Injustice is deep, with plenty to keep the fighting game crowd coming back for more and just enough to pique the interest of casuals who don’t know much about fighting games but want to see who would win in a Batman vs. Superman battle.

Score-4-5That’s something else that’s going to draw in even the uninitiated: the name recognition. Yes, lots of folks now know who the merry band of mutants are over at Marvel, but millions more know the names Batman, Joker, Superman, the Flash, Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman. That instant brand recognition is what compels a certain part of you to come back and learn more about what’s really a good game. While you might not know who Doomsday is or why the Omega Sanction is instantly fatal to most living beings, you know the names behind the main characters for play, or at least most of them, by sight alone.

That brand recognition plays a large part in why the game is Injustice-02successful in its mission: The package around it doesn’t have to be slick and beautiful, but it is. And it’s enough to make the price to play worth it. Taking into account the work that NetherRealm Studios previously completed, Injustice is quite the step up graphically. Every background is gorgeous and lavish in the game that’s already beautiful from the outset. The graphics step up from MK vs. DCU in a way that have to be seen to be believed. And while it doesn’t seem like the game could get any better looking, then there’s the character models. Every character is accurate, down to the details from storyline arcs such as Crisis on Infinite Earths differences. However, while the graphics wow, the music isn’t great. It’s not terrible, either, but it’s not exactly turn-up-the-volume quality. It’s just there, which is highly unusual for the team known for producing outstanding soundtracks in the MK series.

I may not be able to tell you exactly who would win in a fight between Darkseid and Black Adam, but I can make the point that Injustice does the DC universe quite a bit of, well, justice when it comes to a quality fighting game featuring the Dark Knight, Boy Wonder and Man of Steel.

Which version to buy?

There are two versions to choose from: regular edition and ultimate edition. Ultimate edition, while costing considerably more, is the better bargain because it features all of the released DLC and character skins. It also comes with Mortal Kombat combatant and stalwart Scorpion as a playable character.

Titanfall — 3Q2014

Photos courtesy of Shacknews.com
Photos courtesy of Shacknews.com

Keep calm and prepare for Titanfall

by William Harrison
by William Harrison

Hello, pilots and welcome to the Frontier. The long-anticipated Titanfall is up for review and let me tell you, I had a lot of fun with this one and so will you. It posts a few unique innovations as well as an online only style all of its own. And, of course, giant robots … everything is better with giant robots. The campaign mode is weird at first but it’s nothing that can’t be handled.

Titanfall takes place in the distant future and in another colonized area of space. Two warring factions, the IMC and the Frontier Militia, are fighting for control of their little pieces of space and the place they call home. Unfortunately, the IMC seem to be looking to control the area under the flag of Hammond Industries, a galactic widespread company that has its hands in … well, pretty much everything. Then in comes the Frontier Militia, who believe the people are better off without the watchful eye of the IMC and Hammond Industries telling you what to do.

Titanfall is a very impressive and beautifully rendered game. It’s Titanfall-01currently out for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. I have it for Xbox One and it’s about the only first-person shooter that I currently play. The gameplay is pretty much like Call of Duty, but that’s to be expected when Infinity Ward closed its doors and reopened to a split in the company not called Respawn Entertainment and Sledghammer Games. Respawn Entertainment is pretty much made up of the developers that made the COD series stories and games what they were.

The addition of the Titans (25- to 30-foot-tall robots) and the ability to either pilot or have the AI control it makes for a new number of things that can be done.

Score-4-5There is a campaign mode but it is multiplayer-based, meaning that the story is controlled by the outcome of the winning team in some missions. It only allows for 6v6 (12v12, if you include having the AI-controlled Titans on the map as well) so that the games can remain as lag free as possible. Don’t want to ride inside your own Titan, well hop out and switch your Titan to either guard or follow to help hold a position or for a little backup. I must admit that I am rarely riding inside my Titan when I play. They have a nice selection of weapons for the pilots but only about six for the Titans themselves, which is fine by me.

The multiplayer is done really well, but right now there are only seven play modes, with the seventh as a mash-up variety pack that consists of all play modes on all maps randomly selecting both. I believe the Xbox 360 version is missing a mode or two.

Here is how I see it: Titanfall is one of those games you hear about and think it would be awesome if they can pull it off right. Respawn did their homework and came up with a game that is fun and immersive. Unfortunately, it kind of hindered itself by being online only, and although the download needed to play it on Xbox 360 isn’t as massive as the GTAV download (1.3 GB versus 7.9 GB), it’s still a bit annoying. However, you don’t have to delete data to play. A matchmaking option that puts you with people in the same skill level would be a nice idea, too. If you haven’t played it, then you should definitely “Prepare for Titanfall.”