Can Cliffy B. fix Resident Evil?

Resident Evil 6 is completely terrible. Between this and Operation Raccoon City, there's a lot of discussion that the series is in need of something drastic to fix it. It's certainly a valid argument that the franchise could use a fresh set of eyes on it, but is Cliffy B., The man behind Unreal & Gears of War the guy to do it? He certainly thinks so. I certainly think Cliffy could put his own spin on the Resident Evil formula and it could be interesting and successful. But what he could not do is basically make Gears of War with zombies. Cliffy certainly knows how to do grim shooters really well and maybe RE could use some of that, but at it's heart it's never been about putting lots and lots of bullets in undead things. The best examples of the series (namely Resident Evil 4 & also Code Veronica in my opinion). It's a game about survival with at least somewhat limited resources. You've never really felt like a badass in a good Resident Evil game, you feel like you barely get through most encounters. That's pretty much the opposite of Unreal & Gears of War. Sure in Gears you fight against an oppressively invading alien horde, but you still feel like a badass while doing so. If Cliffy B. can bring something new to the table while maintaining that essential RE feeling, I hope Capcom takes him up on it.

Today may be the biggest single release day of the year gamewise, as the sheer number of titles are mind-boggling. But easily the most noteworthy is the latest entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise. It may say III, but hell this is the 5th main game and actually the 8th if you count the portable entries. People at first bemoaned the drastic change in setting to Colonial America (no gigantic buildings to dive off of!) but after all the previous games looking extremely similar, maybe a drastic change was needed to keep it fresh. We even have a new protoganist in Connor, who is half Native American. It also features naval battles, which seems like an odd turn just because you think one assassin wouldn't be much use when boats are firing cannonballs at each other. I've honestly never been able to get into this series, but I certainly at least intend on giving the Wii U version a shot so I'll see if this is new direction is what finally has me invested in it.

A couple years ago, I said a LOTR lego game would be at the top of my list for the next Lego title. Maybe if little to nothing of Lego games had come out in the interim, today's release would be a welcome occasion. But we've had several in that time and now frankly I feel bored with them. I now Lego games aren't necessarily aimed at guys my age. They are dependable family entertainment. I'm sure kids will love it. But this series could've been a lot more and it's a shame that Traveler's Tales has settled for the lazy cash in route when it could've been something special.

Ok that's it for today, until next time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Evil Dead


From the makers of Kickpuncher: Puncher who kicks....

Ok, video game titles don't need to be subtle or clever. Some don't even make a whole lot of sense. But it's hard to take a title seriously when it's as ridiculously generic and redundant as the latest MOH franchise, especially when it's a huge underdog in a market dominated by the Call of Duties and Gears of Wars & Battlefields. Hell even Halo's return is imminent. It's class & buddy system at least seems like a semi-unique hook but I seriously doubt it will stand out even in this season of few really big titles since most of the big titles are shooters.

Ok as much as I wasn't impressed by New Super Mario Bros. 2, The Wii U game really seems to be fixing that more and more with each video I see or preview gets me more hyped as it shows much more variety and depth than in it's rather paltry E3 showing.  Though with only 24 days to go Nintendo really needs to ramp up the press on this thing. I have heard starting later this week that's exactly what they intend to do, so hopefully we'll get all the info we've been waiting on for over a month since the launch date and price was announced.

That's really all I have for today. I should be able to get at least one more post in this week. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: IRON MAN 3


Ok yeah, Kratos beating up Parappa just feels weird...

Admittedly not much in the realm of big releases this week unless you are actually excited about yet another craptacular Bond game or a re-release of the oh so fun Doom 3 where even though it was the future no one knew how to use a gun and a flashlight at the same time...

However, if you are a Playstation plus member, you can try out the beta for their upcoming Smash Bros. knockoff, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. I am one such member and have played a few hours. The online itself is pretty seamless, I didn't notice any lag and the matches I played all went smoothly. The selection of characters is rather limited, but it is a beta so that's fairly forgiveable. The characters present represent a pretty good variety of styles, the surprise of the group is probably Colonel Radec from Killzone, easily holds up against Sweet Tooth and Kratos. It's certainly a competent title, but unless the full release shows off a lot variety, it still smacks of a very corporate, focus-group tested release with little of the creativity and straight out fun of the title it so clearly is inspired by. And while Nintendo has lots of weird characters they stuff in their series, they make it all fit. Sony hasn't really managed to do that. Maybe because none of its titles are serious in the way games like Killzone and God of War are. Beyond that, The two stages I was able to experience were pretty droll without a lot of creativity to them.

Again at the end of the day, anyone who wants a competent Smash Bros. wannabe probably won't be too disappointing with this, it manages to check off the essential points and all. But it doesn't really take any big risks or depatures from that formula either, which is a dissapointment.

That's all for today. Until next time here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Carrie


My Million Coin Journey...

So I reached 1 Million coins in New Super Mario Bros. 2 a few days ago, and promptly felt completely done with the game. It had taken about 2 months of somewhat inconsistent play that admittedly really ramped up with the release of the first wave of DLC level packs(especially the Gold Rush Pack). At times it really felt like a slog, mainly because there just wasn't that much to do. At it's core there's nothing wrong with the gameplay itself. It's classic 2d Maro. I could easily play hundreds of levels. But NSMB doesn't even have 60 and they are all incredibly short and seem to lack imagination. This shouldn't be hard, Super Mario 3D Land had  tons of levels along with multiple objectives for levels to keep things fresh long after the initial playthrough. What was NSMB 2's singular objective? Get more coins.

Along with more levels, a variety of way to collect coins would've helped tremendously. The previous NSMB game featured a large variety of entertaining minigames to enjoy long after the fun of playing through the main game ended. Simply including these and making them add to your coin count woud've helped tremendously. In fact, with that kind of formula, I don't think we'd feel a need to stop at one million coins. The counter doesn't stop at one million, you can keep going, but I can't imagine many who would want to. I really hope New Super Mario Bros. U offers a meatier experience, because it will be a very disappointing launch day otherwise.

That's really all for today, I should have another post up this weekend. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Worldbox


The X-Files....

I absolutely love turn-based strategy titles, which are pretty rare on consoles. I can probably count on one hand the number that came out this generation, and out of those only a couple were any good (namely Disgaea 4 & Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars). Admittedly, grabbing some classic revered franchise like XCOM and trying to update it for modern times can be a risky proposition. But according to pretty much every early review, this is a fantastic modern update. The whole idea that you can't please/save everyone and have to prioritize your resources and attention is a nice touch that adds a ton of replay value. The one thing that may be a deal-breaker for me is that death is permanent for your squad. I get the idea for the sake of challenge and realism, but there are few things that would annoy me more then having to replace a highly experienced squad member with a rookie I have to start all over with again. I certainly plan to at least give this a rent, and will hopefully give my impressions when I do.

On from revitalized older franchises to something we aren't seeing a whole lot of at this point-a wholly new IP. Dishonored is a stealth-action title that offers lots of choice is how you take out targets. Supposedly, you can even get through the game without even actually killing anybody. Though we've seen games promise that and while it's usually technically possible, it makes the games ridiculously hard to where it's not worth the payoff. Also, stealth-action games tend to handle the stealth fine, but fall apart at the action bits. Usually because your supposedly highly trained Assassin has trouble taking on anyone even though that should've been part of their training. There seem to be some complaints along those same lines but the reviews overall are really solid, hopefully making this a new franchise we can see future entries in.

Those looking for something new on the 3DS (especially to kill time until Paper Mario comes out) have something to look forward this week as well with Code of Princess. This game hasn't gotten much publicity, but it's from a lot of the same team that brought us the completely awesome Guardian Heroes. It's also an actual online 2D brawler, which is a rarity in and of itself. I hoping to get my hands on it sometime soon, I will give impressions if I do.

That's it for now, until next time here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: A Good Day to Die Hard


Nintendoes what Sony don't...

In a recent interview, a vp of Sony's American branch, essentially claimed that Vita can already do what the gamepad does. Frankly, not only does that feel like desperate jumping on the bandwagon, it also feels like a disservice to the Vita as well. The Vita is it's own portable device that you can take anywhere, and while the cross-play feature is nice, it's only on a few select titles. Nintendo's Gamepad screen is supposed to be used on pretty much every game. In addition to that, it's not the primary feature Nintendo is touting. The primary feature is asymmetrical gaming. You know, that whole thing where one-player is playing one type of gameplay, and another player is doing something else entirely. This is not adding to the fact that a so-called similar setup of simply buying a PS3 and a Vita would be far more expensive than simply buying a Wii U. Finally, by the mere nature of how games are developed, you don't get the exact same experience. The Wii U is setup for this right out of the box. You get the same experience on the gamepad because it's actually the same game. The Vita isn't a portable PS3, there is bound to be a difference.

But primarily as I said the main thing here seems to be Sony's extremely desperate attempt to grab on to some of the Wii U's thunder possibly to help the flagging sales of the Vita. Sony is in that oh so unenviable position of third this generation and while that could certainly change this next round, it might take something pretty drastic with Nintendo getting out the gate first with what's virtually guaranteed to be the least expensive option. Then Microsoft pretty much has the hardcore gamer market in a stranglehold despite a big lack of exclusive titles so they'd have to work pretty hard to lose that edge. That added with Sony's massive financial issues that may even mean they may not even be a presence in gaming in a few years just makes them seem like a once great contender desperately trying to hang on to its glory days.

That's all for today, I should have another post up tomorrow on this week's game releases. In the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Demon Shift


8 reasons the next Pokemon game MUST be on the Wii U...

This weekend, we have yet another Pokemon title, on the DS, marking the latest of many, many portable entries. I'm sure like every single one before it, it will sell incredibly well, but there's no doubting that as a whole the series has gotten pretty stagnant. I'm sure there's a world of difference between Pokemon Black/White 2 and say, Pokemon Gold/Silver, which came out 12 years ago that's obvious to the long time player, but for anyone else, it doesn't look or feel all the different. It needs a shake-up, and a full blown console release, especially on the Wii U would breather some much needed life into the series and here's 8 reasons why.

#8. It's never been done: Just for pure novelty's sake it would be worth it to have a proper console release. Sure there have been some Pokemon games released for home consoles, but never the full-blown gym-battling gotta catch-em all experience you get on the portable games. It's hardly unusual for Nintendo's main franchises to release both console and portable titles, and some franchises shift back and forth every few years, but we've never seen this mega-selling franchise on a Nintendo home console in proper form, and it's long over-due.

#7: Expansion: One of the many valid complaints against Pokemon as a series is that it's a cash grab, as nearly every edition comes with two versions where you can't really get access to all the pokemon in each release without owning both versions. Nintendo has an opportunity here to make that a more valid strategy with just releasing one big title and then expanding it through downloadable packs which I think would actually get much better sales then the current strategy of releasing two titles that are virtually the same except for a few select Pokemon.

#6. More Dynamic Battles: I don't think much has to be changed in the actual way Pokemon matches go, they are really solid strategic systems and the recent addition of multi-pokemon battles helps keep that fresh. But the presentation has been sorely lacking throughout the series. The actual battles are unimpressive and stagnant with just the minimal amount of animation. I'm not saying these need to be at some kind of FF level, but seeing the Pokemon actually move and re-act along with improved animation would go a long way towards keeping the battles exciting.

#5.  Better Online: Yeah, Pokemon multi-player is kind of a mess. That's not really a surprise, as to date Nintendo's whole online system has been kind of a mess. This would be a chance to prove how serious Nintendo is about online and it wouldn't even be that difficult. Just throw in some competent multi-player battles, leaderboards and probably some monthly tournaments and you are pretty much set.

#4. Cross-Play: Sony is pushing it hard now, but Nintendo has repeatedly tried this whole cross-play thing over the years and this would be a good way to make it work well. Simply being able to train your Pokemon on your 3DS on the go and use them when you get home would be a huge step for both the concept of cross-play and the Poekmon series itself.

#3. It's a big world after all: There are a number of different regions featured in the Pokemon series. Which are big for portable entries, but obviously a little small for a console game. A massive game world encompassing most of those regions would be pretty awesome as it would allow some favorite Pokemon from past games to battle newer ones. This leads to my next point:

#2. Becoming a true Pokemon Master:  There are well over 600 Pokemon throughout the entire series. No portable entry has all of them, but a console version arguably could. Sure there would probably be some balance issues and redundancies but I think any Pokemon fan would think all Pokemon in one game would just be incredibly awesome. As long as they could be managed properly, which leads to my main point:

#1. Easy Management: The gamepad is pretty-much tailor-made for this type of game. It would make managing your pokedex a breeze, leave all the usual command options on there saving the TV screen for action without any clutter, and just in general make the interface smoother, making Pokemon itself a smoother series.

So that's the list. And I can honestly say as someone who has very little interest in the series currently that I'd be very excited to hear about a version coming to the Wii U sporting most of these obvious improvements that would come pretty much automatically with a big home console release. It would also be another big gun in Nintendo's arsenal against the looming next-gen offerings from Sony & Microsoft.

That's it for today, I should have another post up this weekend. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Croods


Lacking in Star Power..

So the "final" initial roster for Sony's Smash Bros. wannabe, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, has been released, and while more might be offered later as DLC, the roster is pretty terrible. Only 20 fighters? Good & Evil Cole? Random dude from Killzone? Fat Princess? Just for reference, Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii had nearly 40. Sure, some are palette-swaps but it also has those oh so iconic characters that have way more personality than 99% of Sony's roster. I love Nathan Drake & Ratchet & Clank, but pretty much everyone else on the list is devoid of anything resembling a compelling personality, including super angry all the time Kratos.

Also it's October, which pretty much starts the slate of big holiday releases. And while this year may no be ridiculously jam packed like previous ones, there are still a fairly solid number of big releases coming out this month alone. The first being the latest desperate attempt to breathe some life into the Resident Evil franchise with Resident Evil 6. The demo released a little while ago shows off several different styles of gameplay, all executed extremely poorly. Laugh at your useless A.I. companions. Or Leon karate kicking heads off zombies. The horrible Gears of War style levels don't fair much better, with it being nearly impossible to get behind cover AND shoot. I wouldn't be surprised if after this flops it's awhile before we see a Resident Evil title again, which might be a good idea seeing as there has been like 4 in the last year.

That;s really all for today, should have another post up in the next couple of days. Until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Snake Squad