Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm — 3Q2018 issue

The ulti­mate beginning

Naru­to Uzi­ma­ki. From 1999 to 2017, Shon­en Jump Magazine’s hyper­ac­tive nin­ja knuck­le­head had a major impact on the geek cul­ture scene as well as ani­me and man­ga. From graph­ic nov­els, to oth­er nov­el­ty mer­chan­dise and video games, many ani­me fans world­wide fol­lowed his rise from out­cast of his nin­ja vil­lage to its leg­endary sav­ior. Dur­ing Naruto’s rise, there were many video games for var­i­ous sys­tems that fol­lowed every adven­ture of our blonde, blue-eyed hero and his friends. I got the oppor­tu­ni­ty to play one of the Naru­to-based games after a recent game shop­ping expe­di­tion when I found Naru­to: Ulti­mate Nin­ja: Storm.

Ulti­mate Nin­ja: Storm is a hybrid con­sist­ing of fight­ing and role play­ing game ele­ments. Free Bat­tle mode allows you to choose one main fight­er with two back­up char­ac­ters against anoth­er play­er or the console’s choice of char­ac­ters in var­i­ous stages tak­en right out of the Naru­to uni­verse. Free Bat­tle also allows you to earn extra cash if you defeat their oppo­nents using var­i­ous moves known as nin­jut­su. The extra coinage will be need­ed in the role play­ing mode, Ulti­mate Mis­sion Mode, dur­ing which you con­trol Naru­to in var­i­ous mis­sions that involve episodes 1 to 135 of the ani­me series. 

I found every­thing from the cin­e­mat­ic intro to actu­al game­play excel­lent. Nam­co Bandai brought their expe­ri­ence in mak­ing games like Tekken and Soul Cal­ibur and com­bined it with Masashi Kishimoto’s guid­ance in devel­op­ing the per­fect exam­ple of a video game based on a pop­u­lar ani­me fran­chise. Every stage, land­mark and char­ac­ter are por­trayed per­fect­ly in the game mak­ing me as if I was trans­port­ed to the Hid­den Leaf Vil­lage. The con­trols are easy and will help you pull off some up-close cool com­bos when cer­tain but­tons are dis­played. They’re also great dur­ing the explo­ration of Ulti­mate Mis­sion Mode as you’re try­ing to find hid­den items and mis­sion locations. 

Anoth­er cool thing about the game was that the music from the ani­me series was not only kept intact, but also was done in Dol­by Dig­i­tal Sound. The voice act­ing in the game is high cal­iber thanks to Nam­co Bandai work­ing with Viz Media and Stu­diopo­lis Inc. to bring togeth­er the orig­i­nal Eng­lish voice actors to reprise their respec­tive roles. Even with the excel­lent Eng­lish voice act­ing, you can also play the game in Japan­ese with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles for a more authen­tic feel. Any­one who has not played a Naru­to video game will find it per­fect for either a hot or rainy-day after­noon, or a friend­ly fight­ing game tour­na­ment at any ani­me convention.

Nam­co Bandai did an awe­some job of bring­ing Naru­to to the PS3 in addi­tion to pub­lish­ing addi­tion­al games based off this icon­ic fran­chise. For now, Naruto’s jour­ney to be hok­age has end­ed suc­cess­ful­ly, with a son ready to take up his own chal­lenges. Ulti­mate Nin­ja: Storm is a great start show­cas­ing Naruto’s ear­ly adventures.

Devil May Cry 4 — 3Q2018 issue

Dev­il’s in the details: DMC4 a nice break from Dante

Capcom’s “Dev­il May Cry” series is a game that has basi­cal­ly rede­fined the term “hack-and-slash” in video games. With the first three games using hack-and-slash style as well as action-adven­ture ele­ments, I won­dered what new sur­pris­es would the fourth install­ment of the series bring and to which system? 

DMC 4 fea­tures demon-hunter extra­or­di­naire Dante, but the sto­ry and main char­ac­ter has changed for a more intense expe­ri­ence. Tak­ing place in a remote island town called For­tu­na, you assume the role of Nero — a younger ver­sion of Dante — who is a mem­ber of the Order of the Sword. The Order of the Sword is a mil­i­tant reli­gious orga­ni­za­tion formed to destroy demons based on the actions of the Demon-Knight Spar­da, who rebelled against the demon under­world to pro­tect human­i­ty. At a recent cer­e­mo­ny to hon­or Spar­da, Dante smash­es though a sky­light and kills the priest lead­ing the cer­e­mo­ny, set­ting off a chain of events that would not only put Dante and Nero on a col­li­sion course with each oth­er, but also would lead both demon-hunters through a greater mys­tery to find out the true inten­tions of the Order and to stop a more vicious plot of a demon-invasion.

While Dante’s role in DMC 4 is not as the main char­ac­ter, he does still play a key role in the game as a playable char­ac­ter in cer­tain scenes. Nero is not to be tak­en light­ly either as his arse­nal con­sists of his Dev­il Bringer arm, his mechan­i­cal sword Red Queen and his dou­ble bar­rel revolver, Blue Queen. Nero can gain an extra advan­tage to accom­plish his mis­sion by gath­er­ing “Red Souls,” DMC’s orig­i­nal game cur­ren­cy, and “Proud Souls,” a new cur­ren­cy. After a mis­sion is com­plet­ed, Pride Souls can pow­er up Nero’s tools rang­ing from extend­ing the Dev­il Bringer’s reach to more pow­er­ful shots from the Blue Queen. The con­trols for Dante and Nero are easy to use thanks to the PS3’s Six Axis controller’s built-in ana­log fea­ture, which I found help­ful with cam­era issues from time to time. 

The excel­lent detail that is used in each lev­el comes to life in the back­ground and cin­e­mat­ic scenes. These were done with high def­i­n­i­tion tech­nol­o­gy that will make you feel like you are play­ing with a mas­ter­piece of art instead of a video game. Capcom’s sound team brings their A‑game again. Each sound and vocal effect com­bined with Dol­by Dig­i­tal Sound gives an orches­tral qual­i­ty to the game. Cap­com did a great job in voice and motion cap­ture for DMC 4. John­ny Yong Bosch (Bleach, Street Fight­er IV) brought Nero to life and Reuben Lang­don repris­ing his role as Dante.

Dev­il May Cry 4 shows what Cap­com is capa­ble of doing when they let their devel­op­ment team do its job: make their games enjoy­able. DMC4 is a chal­leng­ing, but enjoy­able way to kill free time when you want to get your demon-hunt­ing on. The replay val­ue is strong espe­cial­ly if you are a vet­er­an DMC play­er; this game is worth your hard-earned cash.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory — 1Q2017 issue

Pho­tos cour­tesy of GiantBomb.com

Max­i­mo con­tin­ues the quest to res­cue the princess

I have a love and hate rela­tion­ship with Cap­com. For every game they devel­op and pub­lish that will be a smash hit by being more cre­ative and stick­ing to the basics, they churn out five or six copies of the same game with­out break­ing any new ground (i.e. Street Fight­er V). I won’t even men­tion how they stud­ied the Kon­a­mi code of dis­pos­ing of one of their great­est game series and its leader. With this view of Cap­com off my chest, let’s look at a game that is orig­i­nal and has become a suc­ces­sor to the clas­sic games Ghosts ‘N Gob­lins and Adven­ture Island: Max­i­mo: Ghosts to Glory.

You take the role of said char­ac­ter, Max­i­mo, who, after return­ing from a bat­tle to pro­tect his king­dom, finds out that his main lady Queen Sophia is cap­tured by his once-trust­ed advis­er, Achille. To make mat­ters worse, Achille has devel­oped a drill that has pierced the under­world, allow­ing him to cre­ate an army of undead mon­sters to ter­ror­ize the king­dom. All is not lost as is seems that as Max­i­mo was free-falling, the Grim Reaper makes a deal for him to return to the liv­ing world in exchange for return­ing the lost souls to the under­world. Max­i­mo accepts and begins his quest to free Sophia and restore the peace tak­en by Achille. 

Max­i­mo retains the ele­ments from Ghosts ‘N Gob­lins and Adven­ture Island but allows free­dom to explore all of the stages thanks to its 3D design. Max­i­mo has the abil­i­ty to run, jump and crouch to avoid ene­mies and is eas­i­ly con­trolled with use of the ana­log con­trol stick. Max­i­mo is also ready for bat­tle with his trusty sword and shield, which can be thrown at approach­ing ene­mies and capa­ble of wip­ing out all ene­mies on the screen if the right pow­er-ups are applied. In addi­tion to his sword and shield, Max­i­mo has his armor which, if all the parts are gath­ered, he becomes invin­ci­ble for a brief period. 

A heads up: Make sure that Max­i­mo keeps his armor as long as pos­si­ble since like Arthur in Ghosts ‘N Gob­lins, if Max­i­mo takes too many hits, he would be down to his box­ers, which would lead to his death if he takes anoth­er hit. Also, con­trol­ling Max­i­mo is not dif­fi­cult, but some prac­tice is rec­om­mend­ed to get adjust­ed to mov­ing around. 
The stages are excel­lent­ly designed and guar­an­teed to make you feel that you’re in Maximo’s world. The game’s music is an enjoy­able mix of orig­i­nal and remas­tered tracks from the orig­i­nal Ghosts ‘N Gob­lins. The chal­lenge lev­el is ridicu­lous­ly high, guar­an­tee­ing great replay value. 

Max­i­mo: Ghosts to Glo­ry is one of those type of games that will please fans of old-school adven­ture gam­ing who want to play the genre with the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy. In my opin­ion, Max­i­mo is also a exam­ple of what Cap­com can do when they allow cre­ativ­i­ty to flour­ish instead of always milk­ing their gold­en fran­chis­es to death. 
Well done, Cap­com. Well done.

Devil May Cry 3 — 1Q2017 issue

Pho­tos cour­tesy of GiantBomb.com

Dance with the dev­il in Dan­te’s rebound adventure

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.

The 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.

Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny — 3Q2015 issue

Onimusha 2 has ele­ments of sat­is­fy­ing sequel

Pre­vi­ous­ly, I reviewed the first game in Capcom’s crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed series Onimusha, where his­toric fig­ures and moments in Japan­ese his­to­ry were mixed with action/adventure gam­ing, third-per­son com­bat and brief moments of puz­zle solv­ing. After play­ing the first game, I won­dered if the sec­ond install­ment would keep the suc­cess­ful for­mu­la and raise the bar for future install­ments. When I received Onimusha 2: Samu­rai Des­tiny, I put on my cus­tom-made samu­rai armor and pre­pared to have my ques­tions answered.
Onimusha 2 con­tin­ues the plot of cho­sen war­riors work­ing to pre­vent Oda Nobuna­ga from uni­fy­ing Japan through the use of demons called gen­ma. Set 10 years after the first game, Nobuna­ga has risen to pow­er despite the defeat of his demon­ic bene­fac­tor Fort­in­bras, who was stopped by orig­i­nal pro­tag­o­nist Samanouske Akechi. With Samanouske in hid­ing to per­fect his new demon slay­ing abil­i­ties, it’s up to Jubei Yagu to take up the sword and acquire five leg­endary orbs and use them to stop Nobuna­ga before his dark plans of con­quest becomes real­i­ty and demons become the dom­i­nant species of Earth instead of man.
Game­play in Onimusha 2 remains the same but does have some new ele­ments. Dur­ing com­bat with ene­mies, you can still fight through ene­mies, but if timed cor­rect­ly, Jubei can per­form “Issen” (light­ing slash) on var­i­ous ene­mies, allow­ing him to con­tin­ue for­ward, giv­ing him a brief minute to defend him­self or retreat. Anoth­er ele­ment is the require­ment to solve cer­tain puz­zles to obtain cer­tain items or gain access to cer­tain areas. For these puz­zles, I high­ly advise uti­liz­ing patience and strong mem­o­riza­tion as they have a much stronger effect in Onimusha 2 than in the first game. The final new ele­ment is role play­ing that enhances the sto­ry­line. Jubei can not only inter­act with non-playable char­ac­ters, but also gain allies who will give infor­ma­tion or assist him in boss bat­tles pro­vid­ed he is in con­stant con­tact with them or if his allies are not involved in their own plans to defeat Nobunaga.
In addi­tion to new allies, you will notice that Jubei is nor­mal­ly equipped with his sword, but can acquire weapons such as bows and arrows, a matchlock gun and oth­er weapons that use the pow­er of nat­ur­al ele­ments. Jubei does have two oth­er advan­tages to help as well: The abil­i­ty to tem­porar­i­ly trans­form into Onimusha with enhanced attack pow­er; and, the pow­er to acquire var­i­ous souls with­out the use of a ogre gaunt­let to upgrade his armor and weapons.
The con­trols will not present any lev­el of dif­fi­cul­ty espe­cial­ly if the Dual Shock ana­log con­troller is used. You can appre­ci­ate the qual­i­ty of the char­ac­ters’ move­ments in game­play and in the cut-scenes which may make one won­der if they are play­ing a samu­rai adven­ture game or watch­ing a movie.
The music per­formed in this game is excel­lent as Capcom’s sound team always brings their best efforts, guar­an­tee­ing that the music will be a treat. If you enjoy instru­men­tal Japan­ese themes, you’ll prob­a­bly love the soundtrack.
Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Des­tiny did exceed­ed my expec­ta­tions for a game to be con­sid­ered a true samu­rai mas­ter­piece. This not only shows that Cap­com can unleash their bril­liance if they real­ly try, but also shows oth­er devel­op­ers that in order to bring a superb gam­ing prod­uct involv­ing var­i­ous ele­ments of Japan­ese cul­ture, they must will­ful­ly present his­tor­i­cal ele­ments prop­er­ly while craft­ing a high qual­i­ty sto­ry­line. I can not wait to start the next chap­ter of the Onimusha series where the next des­tined hero strikes anoth­er blow to Nobunaga’s ambitions.

Samurai Shodown Anthology — 2Q2015 issue

A com­plete clas­sic collection

The fight­ing game indus­try has always thrived on the very con­cept that makes a title in the genre: com­pe­ti­tion. There have been fabled rivals through­out the entire lifes­pan of the genre, with quite a few pre­tenders to throne. How­ev­er, SNK Play­more was one of the orig­i­na­tors and the pack­age of games with­in Samu­rai Shodown Anthol­o­gy shows they weren’t play­ing around in the ’90s in the slightest.

It’s pret­ty safe to say that Samu­rai Shodown was nev­er a pre­tender. It’s got all the mark­ings of a mar­quee series, some­thing that could car­ry a com­pa­ny far in the worst of times and keep eyes on the prod­uct. At its core, it’s a game about samu­rai and oth­er war­riors fight­ing to the death. What sets it apart from the com­pe­ti­tion — even from with­in its own sta­ble with brethren King of Fight­ers — is its pro­duc­tion val­ues. The games have always been gor­geous and there’s a lev­el of detail that has­n’t been seen in oth­er series except for the likes of Tekken. With­in the col­lec­tion of that is Anthol­o­gy, all of the nat­u­ral­ly gor­geous art­work and lev­el of detail is on dis­play. It’s impor­tant that this be empha­sized because that’s what Samu­rai Shodown is about at the end of the day: Samu­rai fight­ing to the death while look­ing fantastic.

The lev­el of detail extends to the sound­track as well. In all games in the pack­age, the sound­track is an excel­lent con­cer­to of Japan­ese bam­boo flute and shamisen. This may not float your boat, but for a pack­age that focus­es on samu­rai, this is an excel­lent choice to make up the back­ing soundtrack.

Samu­rai Shodown Anthol­o­gy is per­fect col­lec­tion of fight­ing games, most­ly because it’s good to have the entire set of games on one disc with­out hav­ing to own infe­ri­or ver­sions of noto­ri­ous­ly arcade-per­fect games. These are exact­ly what you fell in love with in the arcade and they’re all in one place, lov­ing­ly includ­ed at the orig­i­nal def­i­n­i­tion. If you’ve nev­er expe­ri­enced the hype that was Samu­rai Shodown, now’s an excel­lent chance to do so. Pre­pared to be wowed.

2UP EVALUATION

Final­ly, a clas­sic game that start­ed the weapon-based fight­ing genre is back on the PlaySta­tion 2. For decades, SNK Play­more con­tin­ued this series with not one but six titles, empha­siz­ing Japan’s adap­tion of duels. Uti­liz­ing var­i­ous char­ac­ters and locales, Samu­rai Shodown gives gamers a break from the Tekken/Street Fight­er clones on the mar­ket, and shows a brief slice of life in medieval Japan dur­ing which samu­rai fought under the code of Bushido.

I was allowed for a brief moment to not only act out a samu­rai fan­ta­sy, but also to release any anger in a healthy way. While the mechan­ics take some prac­tice to become famil­iar with, the music, char­ac­ters and graph­ics are top-notch and the sto­ry is sim­ple. My only com­plaint is that there’s one cheap-shot char­ac­ter that loves to pounce. For all of the Soul­Cal­ibur clones flood­ing the mar­ket these days, I proud­ly say Samu­rai Shodown Anthol­o­gy has great replay val­ue, and it DEMANDS a space in any gamer’s library. I’m glad that SNK Play­more had the wis­dom to keep this series alive from the begin­ning, instead of a com­pa­ny that relies on milk­ing their cash cow to the bone. Well done, SNK Play­more. Well done.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom — 2Q2015 issue

Tat­sunoko takes on Cap­com in Wii brawl

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. Inspired 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 learn­ing 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

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 inter­est­ing 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 issue

Cap­com’s instant action plat­form­ing classic

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 only 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).

The 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.

Mega Man X54Q2014 issue

Pho­tos cour­tesy of http://www.GamesPress.com

Duo team attack finish

MMX5 takes place sev­er­al months after the events in Mega Man X4, dur­ing which the giant space colony Eura­sia has been tak­en over by an unknown reploid known as Dynamo as it was under­go­ing exten­sive repairs. As a result, a com­put­er virus infect­ed Eurasi­a’s grav­i­ty con­trol sys­tems, send­ing it on a col­li­sion course with Earth. At the same time, Sig­ma and his new band of Mav­er­icks have tak­en con­trol of var­i­ous areas that have equip­ment capa­ble of pre­vent­ing Eurasi­a’s fall, and he has also launched his own virus across the globe. X and Zero, under orders from their new leader Sig­nas, must go to those areas to acquire the equip­ment need­ed to stop Eura­sia, and send Sig­ma back to the scrap heap once more where he belongs. 

MMX5’s game­play remains the same as any reg­u­lar action-adven­ture game. You can chose between using X and Zero, who each have unique abil­i­ties. I chose Zero because of the option to use his Z‑Saber and Z‑Buster as more effec­tive com­bat tools, and also because of his stronger jump­ing abil­i­ties. MMX5 allows both char­ac­ters to be swapped out dur­ing the stage select screen, pro­vid­ed you choose before time runs out. This adds fresh­ness to the game­play, keep­ing the game from being too mun­dane or too com­fort­able for a cho­sen character. 

I liked the fact that there are new armors in the game that X can start off with. The Gaia armor from MMX 4 is less pow­er­ful but still gets the job done. You can find oth­er armor sets that will give you an advan­tage, with good old Dr. Light pro­vid­ing insight about them. He has also made a spe­cial armor for Zero that you will find lat­er on. I also want to note that if play­ers pay close atten­tion, there will be some back­ground scenes in MMX pay­ing trib­ute to clas­sic Mega Man and Mega Man X games.

The plot of the game, while a good sto­ry­line point with stop­ping Eura­sia, may frus­trate you because you would have to defeat the first four Mav­er­icks and lat­er be told that two were devel­oped simul­ta­ne­ous­ly with­out pre­vi­ous knowl­edge of both plans. I also ques­tioned the devel­op­er’s method of stage plan­ning when they placed Dynamo in near­ly every mid bat­tle to delay either X or Zero with­out any strong chal­lenge, and I ques­tioned why, dur­ing Duff McWhalen’s stage, it takes a huge amount of game time to fight off a sub-boss that required run­ning and fir­ing just to keep it at bay.

Despite some frus­trat­ing issues, MMX5 is a great game to kill time with and shows how — with prop­er care and fresh ideas — a gam­ing fran­chise can still be rel­e­vant. Get the pic­ture, Capcom?

Mega music

Cap­com always had a cre­ative knack for nam­ing Mega Man adver­saries. Mav­er­icks in X5 are based off of the orig­i­nal band mem­bers of the rock group Guns N’ Roses.

Griz­zly Slash — Slash
Squid Adler — Steven Adler
Izzy Glow — Izzy Stradlin
Duff McWhalen — Duff McKagan
The Skiv­er — Michael Monroe
Axle the Red — Axl Rose
Dark Dizzy — Dizzy Reed
Mat­trex — Matt Sorum