Late Night Game Week (Final Stage!): Wii, U Get 2 C That Jimmy Still Sux!

Ha ha. OK, I had to do that horrid spelling job in the header as a little in-joke even I don’t get and yep, it’s another pre-show title to save time because I just KNOW Jimmy’s going to lose it and fail at another game live on TV. Anyway, saving the Wii U for his final post=E3 Game Week show meant this was either going to be a blowout for Nintendo because more people stayed home to watch OR… a bust because they were all out clubbing or whatever the crazy kids do on a Friday night (har har). Anyway, the 20-Ryu Hadouken/cartridge blowing/toothbrush circle bits was dumb and funny (and all those “World Records” they set WILL be broken over the weekend, I bet). That multiple video games “record” bit was stupidly awesome, though. Jimmy “played” six games all at once for twenty seconds and looked as if he was trying to escape from robbing a vintage game shop and ran into an arcade only to be trapped on a Dance Dance Revolution Supernova machine. Or something like that – just watch the video:

See? Now go break THAT record, Mr. or Ms. Guinness…

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Late Night Game Week (Day 4): Jimmy Answers the Call of Duty, Gets Ghosted…

I actually wrote the headline before Jimmy’s show kicked off (hey, planning in advance works when you know what’s coming, correct?), but in case you missed it, the proof is above (or will be once NBC gets its act together, grrrr!).

Anyway, the show was a bit more game-centric and snappier than last night’s thanks to Defiance’s Grant Bowler, Jimmy running viewer videos of themselves playing with their mothers (pretty damn funny) and Elijah Wood geeking out with Fallon over The Last of Us before talking briefly about the new season of Wilfred and the remake of Maniac and then some fake video games in a skit.

As for CoD:G, well, it looks great on the Xbox 360 (but I think that dog has a LEAN button… whaaaat?!), but the demo was too short and other than a nice scripted building tumbling down and the novelty of playing as Riley (the dog) for brief bits, it’s looking like a CoD game, which is great to bad depending on your bias in either direction. I only play for the campaign mode anyway, so I may look into this on the PS3 or PS4 in the future. And oh yeah, I was actually wrong up above! Jimmy didn’t suck so much at the game today. Well, other than barking at the screen at one point (OK, it made me chuckle a bit).

Well, tomorrow is Nintendo’s day on the show, although I noted in the teaser for the show, they had “Nintendo Wii” and not “Nintendo Wii U” as the system being demoed. Oops. Er, unless Nintendo has some surprises we didn’t see at E3 planned for tomorrow, that is…

Late Night Game Week, Day 3: Jimmy (Almost) Survives Watch_Dogs And Aisha Tyler

The problem with five minutes of one game (or two and a half minutes give or take of two games) is it’s IMPOSSIBLE to grasp what the hell some games are about. That said, in the case of Ubisoft’s stellar-looking upcoming action/adventure game Watch_Dogs, five minutes on a crazy and funny talk/variety show with a giddy host is excellent yet somewhat less than perfect for a game so huge. Don’t get me wrong, kids – I’d invite Jimmy Fallon over to the home office and show off some wacky games he’s most likely never heard of at the drop of a hat, BOOM, I’m there… er, he’s here (oh, you know what I mean). Thankfully, Aisha Tyler (also a HUGE gamer and comic as well as Ubisoft’s go-to celebrity as she also happens to be a character in the game) did a great job of explaining the concept and some of the open world gameplay before Jimmy took over and failed a mission (*sigh*). Well, he got further than I thought, but still. I’d actually love to see the guy host an ALL gaming show one day, not just one with funny segments and a few stars popping up to plug their assorted projects.

Of course, that would be a different show entirely, but a NEEDED one for gamers and G4 is no more (although, like a zombie with a steel-plated skull, the damn channel is STILL on the air pumping out movies and reruns of old shows including X-Play and Spike TV is too damn dumb to watch unless GTTV is on, as it’s just macho crap and blood beat-fests all day and then some. Yuk). I suppose internet “TV” shows are a good source, but not if one has a crap connection or hell, prefers gaming news from eight feet away and doesn’t own a damn Smart TV or whatever it is that basically means you’re online watching Honey Boo Boo when you COULD be learning a new language or something else more interesting…

Noose Flash: Microsoft Caves (Temporarily, I Bet) On Some Xbox One Restrictions…

Read it and weep, or clap or run to the window and make like Peter Finch or whatever… but don’t get TOO happy, I say. Sure, Microsoft is finally listening to some of the rage (justified and unjustified) that’s been washing up over them since the reveal of the Xbox One, but the console is still packing a slew of restrictions that make it unpalatable under certain conditions. For one, a mandatory online connection is STILL required to activate the console (set up an Xbox Live account and probably check in with Kinect), meaning those gamers without broadband access at home or nearby (you know, the ones Microsoft told to buy an Xbox 360 if they wanted to play games offline?) can’t use the thing at all (duh).

That’s the main sticking point for me, but I also dislike the current licensing terms that say the product can (and will) change any time at Microsoft’s discretion. So expect things to roll back in as the system draws in suckers users who don’t mind or don’t know this until it hits them in the face when they turn on their consoles one fine day and get smacked upside the noggin with a mega-update that smarts because it’s the company thinking it’s time to move “forward”… We shall see, but I got a sack of pennies (well, 21 pennies) riding on not all going as smoothly as the company would like. Hell, at LEAST the damn box is region-free now (something the Xbox and Xbox 360 can’t claim outside of a handful of games that run on consoles in almost any territory)…

E3 2011: Mass Effect 3 Is One Of My Games of the Show (Or, Yup, It’s All That)

As solid as the previous installments were, it looks as if Bioware is pulling out all the stops even further for the third installment. Refined, faster combat and a slicker visual upgrade should give the game even more appeal to the action gamer crowd and of course, that character interaction Bioware is famous for is in full effect. While ME3 was one of the games of the show for me (sequel division) I’m hoping the strangely addictive mining mini-game makes a return (with a few tweaks to make it easier to hop into for newbies) and we get more side missions that add depth to the overall plot. The fight to (hopefully) save Earth begins on the PC. PS3 and Xbox 360 March 6, 2012.

Back In a Bit… Post-E3 Version

Yes, I’m exhausted and taking the weekend off – I’ll be compiling a ton of notes on the way back and will be running updates and trailers all next week along with a few reviews I started before the show. Expect some game of the show picks (Arkham City, Skyrim, Wii U, some indie stuff, Vita, blah, blah blah…)

Namco Bandai Lands IN NYC With Hits Galore

The great thing about not going to E3 is that the best parts of of it (getting to see and play upcoming games with not a lot of waiting) will come to you (provided you’re invited to a press event or two post-show). A few of the fine folks from Namco Bandai (or Bandai Namco) rolled into NYC with an incredibly solid lineup that should keep gamers of all stripes glued to their controllers and sporting ear to ear grins. While some of the games shown were still works in progress E3 builds, it was impossible not to walk away completely floored with anticipation about most if not all of the titles shown.

In the order which I saw and/or played them, here’s a quick rundown on what was on display:

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom (PS3/Xbox 360) – Game Republic truly seems to enjoy making some great-looking, purely fun to play titles and this gorgeous single player experience looks to be yet another winner. You play as a young agile type who discovers and teams up with Majin, a huge stone elemental giant of sorts and soon find yourself attempting to rescue a missing princess. Graphically, there’s a fanciful stylized (yet realistic) look to the game that should please fans of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus while the gameplay excellently mixes fast-paced combat, stealth sections and environmental puzzle elements that require teamwork between the player and Majin. From the demo I got to see, this could be quite a sleeper when it lands in stores later this year.

Clash of the Titans (PS3/Xbox 360) – Yet another fun Game Republic-developed title and after a bit of hands-on time I can safely say that this one was a nice surprise in terms of its impressive level of old-school challenge and the rather large weapons selection players can accumulate. The game’s difficulty should appeal to all skill levels (just set it to Hard if you’re finding some areas too simple and you’ll be rewarded with a rather fierce challenge). However, if you have an extra controller and a buddy handy, there’s a two-player co-op mode that should help whittle the AI down to size. Thanks to QTE events during combat, you’re able to grab sub-weapons from any armed enemy to add to your armory and most of these assorted death-dealers are upgradable once you’re the new owner.

The art style and color palette are straightforward yet quite nice, recalling elements of the film while adding in new levels and enemies created specifically for the game. The mix of fast-paced hack and slash action plus stages graded by how quickly you can complete them should have those who crave perfection jumping back in to improve their scores (and bonus items awarded). Interestingly enough, the DVD drops into stores around the same time the film does, so those who liked the flick can be assured of a few more hours of fun in a lot more interactive format. “Release the Kraken!”, indeed.

 

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja STORM 2 (PS3/Xbox 360) – Fan-favorite developerCyber Connect 2 (the .hack series and plenty of Naruto titles on the PS2, PS3 and PSP) keeps getting better and better and this impressive sequel to the formerly PS3-only release is headed to the Xbox 360 as well. The game looks incredible and controls in the short timed demo build were insanely responsive, making for a pretty slick (albeit brief) peek at what’s to come. Fans of the anime will be definitely be pleased and I think I can drop a hint to Tekken fans here that there’s a really cool surprise in store for you should this game pop up on your radar…

Pac-Man Party (Wii) – Pac-Man is 30 years old and still going strong thanks to this upcoming family friendly mix of tsuguroku and mini-games galore. While only a few of these howlers were playable at the event, what was shown was hilarious stuff indeed from both a visual and gameplay perspective. Sure, the action was simple Wii Remote shaking, tilting and swinging, but all who stepped up to give the game a shot ended up cracking up after one or two quick events. From tossing pizzas into a huge blazing oven, soda bottle jet-pack blast-offs and obstacle packed conveyor belt races, these super quick blasts of fun should keep you and the kids busy for some time.

Enslaved: Odyssey  to the West (PS3/Xbox 360) – Ninja Theory’s absolutely gorgeous follow-up to Heavenly Sword is once again, a single-player focused experience that looks to combine cinematic storytelling with high-action gameplay sequences and so far, it’s a formula that’s working for me. The rich visuals and fine level design are looking impressive and after going though the demo build, I’m extremely looking forward to the final version. And yes, Andy Serkis is doing a stellar job, the facial animations are fantastic and once you see how effortlessly fluid the controls are, the game is a dream to play.

As a totally unique take on the Monkey King legend, it’s mind-blowing how well the dev team has transformed the main character, Monkey into a burly yet agile hero and placed him into a blasted out wasteland that’s actually quite colorful. Even more incredible is the dev team is making a Teen rated game that’s got as much visceral punch as some top M-rated titles. By the way, look for Trip, the game’s AI partner to set new standards in CPU-controlled AI. Although you can’t really control her directly, she reacts and moves almost like a living person would (and has some pretty funny dialog with Monkey). This is one title I want to cover in a bit more depth, so expect a gallery to pop up at some point.

Splatterhouse (PS3/Xbox 360) – Rising from the dead with a major graphics overhaul and tons of pure, unadulterated gore galore, Rick and his evil mask are back in action after far too long away from consoles. The game is looking superbly twisted with a dark yet crazily funny vibe running throughout the demo build. Fans of the originals will be more than pleased to see their favorite monsters rendered in beefy 3D as well as cool side-scrolling sequences mixed in with the more modern action. There are also plenty of cinematic angles that add a modern horror kick to the game and both lighting and color usage were brilliant in the demo build.

This one’s clearly shooting for a Mature rating, as the blood and chunks flow, splash and fly freely. That and Rick’s gal, Jennifer appears in some rather er, saucy collectible photos as the game progresses. Speaking of collectibles, players can expect to see all the console Splatterhouse games (and I believe the original Arcade version) on the game disc as a pretty awesome bonus. No concrete release date on this baby just yet, but I expect Halloween or sometime thereabouts would be fitting. Of course, we Splatterhouse fanatics want this one to bee cooked perfectly, so even if the date slips, it’ll be because the game is being polished to an even finer shine.

Time Crisis: Razing Storm (PS3) – This latest in the long running arcade gun shooting franchise looks to be the best yet thanks to a ton of content and PlayStation Move support. With the super intuitive design of the Move controller, the game is so much fun to play (yes, it’s a total blast) that it was hard to put down after a few stages. The again, the few stages I got to play with a fellow editor in co-op blew by so fast and had so much destruction going on that we were both sweating bullets in that air-conditioned hotel suite. By the way, if you don’t want to get a Move on, the game will also support the Guncon 3.

There’s a very heavy emphasis on destructibility here, as nearly every bit of scenery seems as if can be shot up by yours or the enemies’ bullets. You’ll also see levels wrecked by mid-level and end mission bosses that are huge, surprisingly fast and extremely deadly. Not only will you get a few different single and multiplayer modes in the main game, Namco is actually adding both arcade hits Time Crisis 4 and the swashbuckling Deadstorm Pirates to the disc as very sweet bonuses (arr!). As a longtime light gun fan ready to embrace a “new” way of playing a favorite genre, I can safely say the this one’s going to be played to death and beyond around these parts. No matter how awful a day you’ve had, you can always rely on a Time Crisis game to get the adrenaline pumping.

I’m kicking myself because I didn’t stick around to check out Ace Combat Joint Assault (there was only one PSP demo unit on hand which was running Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team, a multiplayer focused fighter that looked cool but was a bit chaotic as a single player experience). I think I spied a demo build of Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 as well, but I was headed for the door after a good chunk of time spent being wowed by everything else. Ah well… guess I’ll have to send up a flare for review copies. Anyway, galleries and movies to follow on the games listed – stay tuned…

E3 2010 Want List

This year’s show was pretty incredible with way too many great games to count. Here’s a short (hah!) list of a couple I’m interested in. Updates on as many as I can to come. If you don’t see a game you like here, feel free to comment and I’ll respond if it’s a game I overlooked.

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