Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: etc, etc, etc

In a sentence, imagine Street Fighter II with slightly nicer graphics and hyper combos.

In more than a sentence, why is it that Capcom’s fighting games are allowed to be so lazy and yet get relatively good reviews? Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the 1.1 versions of both of those. Shallow and lazy. Particularly the versus series. Great potential for some kind of interesting story mode reduced to a handful of cool cutscenes.

So. What do you get in Tats vs Caps? Not a lot. Punch people in the head on seven stages in Arcade Mode. Punch people in the ahead against the clock in survival mode and punch as many people in the head before your life runs out in Survival Mode. Even for a Capcom game there is a paucity of unlockables. →  You reading at me?

The next gen consoles then and now

Folks, it has been some time since the “next gen” was actually the next. I think it is about time to call it the current gen, and on that note, I think it is time to re-evaluate the three major players in the race. Much has changed, and my opinion of each console has changed wildly. Note that this is not an attempt to analyze who is going to “win” the console war. I think that it is quite clear that so long as there are games like Wii Fit and Wii Sports released at the right times, Nintendo is going to be unchallenged in total sales numbers. Meanwhile Sony and Microsoft will claim the Wii is not a true competitor, and then spin the numbers to make it look like they were the true winners. →  SaGa Frontier Readmastered

Memorial Day Post

A couple of things on my mind that I decided to condense into a tidy post for you to ponder over the weekend.

-First of all, the biggest piece of gaming news on videolamer for 2008 – I bought Zak and Wiki. For $20 new! I know taking a risk and waiting for a price drop was suicide with this game, but everyone gets lucky sometimes. Now I am part of the club, and can smoke with all the cool kids in the bathroom.

I’ll be honest with you – I think part of the reason I did not jump for the game immediately was my own inability to read more on the subject. I had no idea the game used crazy wii-motions to help solve puzzles. That makes it a little more exciting! →  Prince of Postia: Article Within

Blockbuster gaming – what a difference

You may have seen some of the recent news pieces on how Blockbuster is attempting to get more aggressive with its game offerings, starting with putting GTAIV on their coveted front wall of new releases – the first for a game. An interesting step to be sure, but I had to take a trip down to my waterfront store to see what else was changing.

I have written in the past about this Blockbuster and its lack of quality. Few new games and an absence of organization drove me away from it as a rental avenue. About two months ago this started changing for the better. The games section was reorganized and expanded, and for once it looked like it was supposed to. The store also started selling PS3s, and for a little while actually had two 80GB models (which I would have jumped on if my taxes were done earlier). →  Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this post!

Discussion Review – Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Smash Bros Brawl is no doubt the biggest game to hit the Wii yet, and if history indicates anything, it very well could be the best selling Wii game by the time the console retires. Such epic expectations seem daunting, though we know that many fans are already more than pleased with the results. With experience in all three games, videolamer’s Chrises explore the world of Brawl.

Christian: Alright Chris, we’ll get right down to it. As a “love letter to the fans”, how does Brawl stack up? Personally, I am impressed with the sheer amount of content, but am shaky on the execution. The music is abundant, but too many of the tracks are straight out of the game they came from, and the newly arranged tracks are often a little too conservative for my liking. →  Shadow of Read

Review – God of War: Chains of Olympus

Reviewing God of War: Chains of Olympus can be done in either a paragraph or several pages. Actually, describing the game can be done in one hearty breath, though its existence makes for a longer and frustrating commentary on the industry.

Let us get the first part out of the way; Chains of Olympus is developer Ready at Dawn’s attempt to bring the full God of War experience to the PSP. In this goal they have succeeded; the game looks and plays so closely to the PS2 originals that Chains (almost) sits right up there with them in terms of quality. It really is amazing to think that this game is being played on a handheld. Unfortunately, in trying so hard to emulate the PS2, the experience also becomes excessively generic. →  [send private information]

Mario Galaxy and gaming mindshare

Super Mario Galaxy is officially out. With any luck, I’ll be the first person on Videolamer to discuss it, though I am probably the only one who doesn’t yet have it (though you are all welcome to buy it for me during my almost ended state of unemployment). That’s okay however, because I’m not really here to discuss the game proper, but the buzz surrounding it. Simply put, this is being called a return to form for Mario, a game that is the rightful successor to Mario 64. This sounds eerily similar to the remarks made about Twilight Princess, which fits the mold created by Ocarina of Time better than any other Zelda to succeed it, even Majora’s Mask. For most people’s money, these are the top two games on the Wii, Metroid Prime notwithstanding. →  The fuck does Cuno care about reading?

Brawl Web site reveals completely new material

As some of you may have noticed, the official Smash Bros. Brawl website finally unveiled completely new material last week.

First off was the new character, Ike, from Fire Emblem. Ike comes without any warning whatsoever – although I’m hoping to see a lot more interesting and varied characters, I’m happy enough that they announced Ike suddenly – it implies there could be more announcements of this sort.

As a character, Ike sounds most like Roy. Some complain that Roy and Marth were too similar in Melee – Ike will only add to these complaints if both of the others return – but I disagree, as Roy and Marth play quite differently, despite how much their moves look alike. I think they can vary Ike’s move style considerably – wielding a two-handed sword, he might actually have more reach than either. →  Eh, I've got nothing better to do.

An even more Smashingly little amount of information to Brawl about: Music

Recently, the Smash Bros Dojo has opened its doors officially. Though much of the information is not new, updates are guaranteed to be coming every weekday from Masahiro Sakurai himself!

Unlikely to be the last surprise waiting for us inside a box.

Most of the information is stuff any fan of the games would know by now – such as how to play or information about the one stage that has been revealed.

However… if you look at “Music” there is a list of composers that is nothing short of formidable. Absolutely amazing.

The list itself gives examples of games the composers worked on, which is helpful for several names I didn’t recognize. Let’s take a look.

The usual suspects:

  • Koji Kondo
  • Masaaki Iwasaki
  • Minako Hamano
  • Shogo Sakai
  • Toru Minegishi
  • Yuka Tsujiyoko
  • Hajime Wakai

These are all composers who worked on several Nintendo games in the past or recently worked on big-name Nintendo games. →  Did I do that?

Best Game Ever – Lumines 2

When deciding upon which system to purchase next, many people will look for that one game to satisfy their needs almost immediately. Xbox had Halo and GameCube had Smash Bros. Melee. Well, you can add Lumines 2 for the PSP to that list. I’m here to tell you that you should buy a PSP for Lumines 2. Even if you never play another PSP game, you would still have spent your money wisely.

You’re probably asking yourself, “What makes Lumines 2 so special?” Well I’ll tell you, smartypants. Lumines 2, although somewhat of a Tetris clone, does some amazing things with its sound design. Things that I can say, without hesitation, are perfect examples of art within games. There are moments in Lumines 2 that I did not think could be created in a video game. →  Europa Universalis IV: Articles of War

Console Predictions from a Gamer

After what felt like three bajillion years (which seemed to be filled with pointless bickering), all three systems are finally out on the market, waiting for whomever wants to jump into the next-generation console war. The last few months have been a very telling period for gaming, with the PS3 not performing as well as some would hope, and Nintendo’s new console coming completely out of nowhere with some amazing numbers, especially considering it’s coming off the heels of possibly the worst performing Nintendo console ever, the GameCube. With that in mind, we can get into the nitty gritty: the future. What’s in store for each player in the console war? We can’t say for sure exactly, but we can have fun predicting.

Xbox 360: In a startling revelation that I’ve found while roaming this clogged series of tubes, many people who were on the fence about the 360 went straight for it the moment the PS3 stumbled coming out of the gate last November. →  Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘Game Over.’

Let Us Cling Together: The joy of playing games cooperatively

Imagine you’re delving into a dark labyrinth. You’re exploring the endless hallways, looking for a path leading deeper into the ruin when you’re ambushed by a dozen demons both ahead and behind. You’re certain this is the end… but then you realize your partner was trailing a ways behind you, and by now she should blasting her way through the enemies attacking from the rear. Thus assured, you unsheath your sword and charge on ahead… This is the magic of cooperative gaming.

I find it hard to get into any competitive game (with the exception of Smash Bros). The idea of playing against other people just isn’t as fun as playing alongside them. I tend to find cooperative games much more enjoyable, but it’s a much under-appreciated genre. Before the release of Half-Life, Valve promised cooperative play in the game but never delivered, instead creating only an online deathmatch mode. →  This post are sick.

The pros and cons of unlockable content

Congratualtions! You unlocked a new article. This one is on, you guessed it, unlockables and extras in games. They’ve been around for a while, but nowadays it seems that very few genres do not include some sort of rewards for the player to earn. Many gamers have respond kindly to this, so much so that a lack of bonus content may actually hurt a game in a review.

However, not everyone considers them rewards. There is a strong group of gamers who seem to greatly dislike unlockables, citing that a person who has spent hard earned money on a brand new game should have access to all its content without jumping through hoops. I’ve seen the debate rage on many times, but I’ve never been able to determine which side is right. →  The King of Articles 2002: Unlimited Match