Xbox

06.25.12

On Monday we talked with Sam Hulick, Sascha Dikiciyan and Cris Velasco about composing the Mass Effect soundtrack. This time we had the privilege of talking about another Bioware’s dark fantasy RPG series, Dragon Age. The series has many similarities from Mass Effect like interweaving dialogue choices throughout the current installments. However Unlike the Mass Effect series, score is done by one man. Inon Zur has been the franchises leading composer since day one, helping atmosphere behind the series. It’s an underrated soundtrack, but do people notice? Do people look at soundtracks as a whole or as background noise?

06.25.12

Is Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City on it's way to PS3? The ESRB recently rated both games with a stereotypical M rating for the PS3. This shouldn’t come of as a surprise as rumors of GTA V release this fall or in 2013 early continue to ramp up.

06.24.12

Astro Gaming has thrust themselves into the forefront for gaming headphone technology, right alongside the other “big cats” like Turtle Beach and even Sony with their headsets.  Their latest model, the A40’s, proved to be quite popular with the gaming public, but that isn’t stopping the company from progressing forward with an even more advanced model.  Say hello to the A50’s, which are coming sooner than you think.

06.23.12

I am so glad I’m finished with Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor.  Everything that could go wrong in that game does, and does so quite valiantly.  Even operating something as simple as a window visor is impossible thanks to the crappy Kinect controls.  But, honestly, this isn’t the first time a developer has gotten a motion experience wrong with Microsoft’s device – and it certainly won’t be the last.

06.23.12

Years ago, I reviewed Steel Battalion for the original Xbox, a game that came with a huge, table-sized 40+ button controller and two navigation sticks.  At that point, I said it was a little too over-complicated for its own good, but those who made the effort to invest time with it would be promptly rewarded.  Now, fast forward to last night, when I spent hours trying to navigate through Capcom’s latest game, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, for Xbox 360.  Same situation, too over-complicated for its own good, but no matter how much effort is put into it, the rewards never come.  So much for forward progress.

06.22.12

Travellers Tales has been producing a whole bunch of Lego games over the years, and while some folks think they’ve been droning on, there has been some significant progress.  Levels have gotten bigger, gameplay ideas have expanded a little bit and, most importantly, you can play split-screen co-op, which means you don’t have to stay on the same screen.  And with Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, the company’s latest effort, it expands even further – into a whole freakin’ city.  If that’s not something to get excited over, we’re not sure what is.

06.21.12

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

06.21.12

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

06.20.12

Zen Studios can’t really do any wrong when it comes to their Marvel Pinball table designs.  Seriously.  Someone could tell them to do a legitimate Howard the Duck table (one not based on the movie) and they’d have it ready to go in a matter of months, complete with wisecracks and awesome skill shots.  Over the past year and a half they’ve knocked out some winners, but nothing compared to what we’ve seen with the Avengers Chronicles pack.  This is clearly their best work to date – and hopefully not their last in the deal.

06.18.12

Early this year, Bioware’s Mass Effect saga came to five year run. Rest aside the ending; the series is one of the most complete trilogies in video game history. There are two aspects that Mass Effect nails perfectly. The series was first to interweave choices all the way through the third and final installment captivating fans from start to finish. However, you can’t tell a great story if you forget to create the atmosphere for your game to breath in. The music in the game really doses shape Commander Shepard with it having one of the best scores in gaming, but do people notice? Do people look at soundtracks as a whole or as background noise?

06.17.12

What may work well on the mobile scene doesn’t always translate to console success.  True, there are those cases where a game’s crossover appeal is better than expected, like when Angry Birds made its debut as a PS Mini last year, but for the most part, they’re two separate markets, and some games don’t transition well between them.  Take Babel Rising, for instance.  With some more effort, Ubisoft could’ve made this a roaring beast on Xbox Live Arcade.  Instead, it’s more like a whimpering kitty.

06.16.12

Inversion arrived last week with very little fanfare.  Perhaps it was the fact that it was released during E3, and that Namco Bandai had bigger projects to focus on.  Or maybe it was just one of those games that the company is hoping will be a “sleeper” hit, relying more on word-of-mouth than a multi-million dollar ad campaign.  Regardless, it’s here, and while it definitely has some key moments with its gravity-shifting tactics, its quality never really rises above that of a SyFy made-for-TV movie.  That’s not to say some won’t be entertained, but it could’ve been so much more.

06.15.12

When producer Suda 51 works on a game, the last thing you should really come to expect is normalcy.  For years, he’s been adding some crazy touches to his games, whether it was wielding the “Big Boner” in Shadows of the Damned or slicing an enemy in half with a lightsaber in No More Heroes before performing a peculiar sexual motion to recharge it.  Now we have Lollipop Chainsaw, his latest effort, one in which he teams up with Super director James Gunn to deliver a game experience so far tongue in cheek, it practically rips through the other side.  But, relax, that’s a good thing.