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Pokémon photo

Pokémon Black and White 2 getting hilarious event Pokémon

Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Every once in a while Nintendo emerges from its ivory tower to participate in special charity events where it provides free Pokémon for the unwashed washes to enjoy. Sometimes they're cool, other times you ge...

How Nintendo breaks hearts with the D.E.N.N.I.S. System

Feb 06 // Jim Sterling
[embed]244154:46787:0[/embed] While the system is designed for Dennis to trick women into having sex with him before abandoning them, its applications in business are frightening, and Nintendo's mastery of it is absolute. Like Dennis, Nintendo is able to seduce and conquer its fans by demonstrating value, engaging physically, nurturing dependence, neglecting emotionally, inspiring hope, and then separating entirely. Do you remain skeptical? Read on and understand.  Demonstrate Value This one's easy, because we already know, by Nintendo's own admission, that it secures customer loyalty by demonstrating the value of its product. Through marketing promotions, competitive pricing, and pledging to offer the widest variety of games to the widest variety of consumers, Nintendo attempts to demonstrate its value to the user. More often than not, it succeeds. In fairness, all videogame companies utilize the first step of the system. Duping the consumer into believing a product is worth the entry fee is what the game industry is all about. Nintendo's as committed as any when it comes to demonstrating its value.  Engage Physically No other company works harder to engage its customers physically than Nintendo. With the Wii, the DS, the 3DS, and the Wii U, Nintendo has been doing more to encourage physical interaction with users than any other company in the games market. Whether you're waggling a remote, tapping a touchscreen, or tilting screens left and right, when you're on a Nintendo system, you're 100% physically engaged.  Even those shy to embrace Nintendo's whimsical world of bodily nonsense are eventually suckered in. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword test the resolve of even the most adamant anti-waggle gamer, and the excellent Nintendo DS library has us all dragging styli around like they're little Weekend at Bernie's corpses! If you're a Nintendo customer, consider yourself physically engaged.  Nurturing Dependence  Nintendo has the key to the cage of some of gaming's most beloved and cherished franchises. Your inner child is Reggie Fils-Aime's bitch. Miyamoto is the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Mario except through him. To get your hands on Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, and so many more, you depend entirely on so-called Big N.  Nintendo knows it, too. It knows what you like, and it knows you have nobody else to turn to. Games like Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. feed your nostalgia, remind you of happier times before you became an evil-hearted adult, and convince you to stay with Nintendo if you want to keep getting that sweet, sweet hit. One look at the dogged loyalty of Nintendo's most ardent fans will tell you this has already been achieved. They remain hopelessly in the thrall of their master, suckling at its red, cracked teats with all the gratitude of a freshly-fed dog.  We're halfway through the system, and Nintendo's three for three! Neglect Emotionally Nintendo's demonstrated its value to you. It's engaged you physically with its cool new toy. It's nurtured your dependence with the allure of childhood memories and honest-to-goodness gaming. What happens next? Wii Music happens next.  Yes folks, you've just been neglected emotionally! Satoru Iwata's band of merry men are wizards when it comes to this step, leading fans on for so long before totally cutting them off. After stringing gamers along, Nintendo does an about-face, making its press conferences and announcements all about family-friendly crap that nobody cares for. We get some maniac woman on a stage, grinning like a bargain basement Joker as she tells you she's going to put a smile on your face. We get promises of Pikmin 3, but no actual news, while other favorite franchises are completely ignored. Reggie tells us Animal Crossing is a hardcore game and can't understand why anybody's feeling shortchanged. "Nintendo has abandoned the hardcore gamer," the cry rings out, over valley and hill. My Lord, why hast thou forsaken me? The answer is clear -- Nintendo's neglecting you emotionally. Inspire Hope Wait, they just announced Pikmin 3? Holy shit, was that a new Kid Icarus? New Donkey Kong? And what's with this Wii U eShop? It's, like, actually good. Nintendo's got a new online strategy, Nintendo's promising more core games. Nintendo's back, everybody! Nintendo finally gets it.  "Nintendo finally gets it." I've honestly lost count of how many times I've read that phrase over the years. After neglecting us emotionally, Nintendo makes some announcement or presents a fresh feature that has everybody (myself included) pull a U-turn and declare that, this time, Nintendo finally understands what we want, and at last knows how to give it to us. We are relieved. We are appreciative. And then ... we bang. Separate Entirely Weeks without games. A sudden 3DS discount that pisses off everybody who supported the system early. The eShop turns out to be bereft of content and shit as always. A reality that fails utterly to live up to the promises we breathed in like sweet oxygen. And all the while, Nintendo sits there, deaf to our pleas, blind to our entreaties. It's working on something else now, and has cut its consumers loose. It's okay, though. You need not be alarmed. Nintendo will be back, next time it needs to demonstrate its value to you. And the D.E.N.N.I.S. System rises again.
D.E.N.N.I.S. System photo
It's Always Sunny at Nintendo
Earlier this week, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto claimed his company had failed to "communicate the value" of the Wii U to consumers, a turn of phrase that struck me as quite amusing. As a fan of It's Always Sunny in Phila...

Pokemon event photo
Pokemon event

Here's how to get Meloetta in Pokemon Black and White

North American distribution event next month
Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
March? I don't even want to start thinking about March yet. That said, it's nice to get the heads-up on the planned distribution event for the Mythical Pokémon Meloetta in North America. You'll want to take a trip...
3DS Pokedex Decal photo
3DS Pokedex Decal

Here's how to turn your 3DS into a Pokedex

All you need is $15 and master sticker placing skills
Feb 02
// Brett Zeidler
Who out there is unlike me and doesn't still have their original Pokedex from back in the day? Well, if you have a 3DS and/or 3DS XL you can turn that boring device into a freaking Pokedex! Etsy shop GameThemedThings&nbs...

Top ten best THQ games: Remembering a giant

Jan 31 // Allistair Pinsof
Anyone who knows me, knows that I loves me strategy games. I love StarCraft, Rise of Nations, Sins of a Solar Empire, Civilization -- you name it. Company of Heroes was probably the first one that got me really into WWII from a strategy perspective. It is also one of the first games that took advantage of advanced graphics -- namely, destructible environments -- that have a huge effect on gameplay. As tank shells create craters, for example, your infantry can use the modified terrain as cover. Subtle details like that keep gameplay fun and dynamic and also provide a refreshing twist on the classic RTS. - Daniel Starkey [Take a look back at our previous Company of Heroes coverage.] Licensed games, as a general rule, tend to be rather uninspired affairs. Relic Entertainment's acclaimed Warhammer 40,000 titles fly in the face of that trend. Space Marine and the Dawn of War series are genuinely entertaining titles that pay homage to Games Workshop's license rather than abuse it. Relic has delivered quality experiences time and again, developing games capable of standing on their own merits while still providing ample amounts of fan service for the already initiated. As someone who has spent more than a fair share of hours painting miniatures and rolling dice, it's clear Relic has a great deal of reverence for the source material. Captain Titus' battle with Ork and Chaos forces on Forge World Graia brought that universe to life for me. I wish Relic the best and hope that their new overlords at Sega allow them to keep making these games for a long, long time. - Kyle MacGregor [Take a look back at our Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine review.] While the game was initially buggy, a heroic modding community has managed to make S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl into something worth celebrating; despite its dreary setting and almost constant peril, the Zone was a place that oozed life. It is a brave game both mechanically and tonally, considering no FPS has come close to what S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl attempts is slightly sad; the singular highpoint of the whole Call of Duty franchise is when the series visits Pripyat in the irradiated zone. - Alasdair Duncan [Take a look back at our S.T.A.L.K.E.R. coverage.] It feels wrong to love Saints Row 2, but it feels even worse not to. The presentation lacks polish, the writing is tasteless, the focus is aimless ... but it's so fun!  Where Saints Row made a marked improvement on the GTA series' controls, Saints Row 2 makes a remarkable improvement on almost every other level. GTAIV offered flawless presentation but boring combat; Saints Row 2 is just the opposite. It's the sandbox game I've always wanted, where nothing matters but the player having fun. Want to surf on a car for no reason?  Hell ya!  Want to ride golf carts through a mall while doing a drive-by?  YES! Even the music is awesome in this game. GTA is great but nothing compares to firing infinite rockets at cop cars while driving to Hum's "Stars". If only I could merge Saints Row 2's gameplay with GTA4's presentation and story, I'd have the greatest game ever. For now, I'll take Saints Row 2 over GTAIV.  After all, I can watch The Wire if I want inner city drama.  - Allistair Pinsof [Take a look back at the only Saints Row 2 video that matters on the internet.] Lock's Quest is one of the most unique games released on the Nintendo DS. It spices up tower defense with direct character control and RPG elements.  Long before Iron Brigade and Starhawk, Lock's Quest had players building walls and constructing turrets to later fight among them. The ability to directly control Lock on the battlefield may seem trivial at first, but it adds an entirely different prioritization element to tower defense, where Lock's location, health, and special abilities all factor into the decision making process.  As a tower defense game, it really shines in that it's not unforgiving in its difficulty, but the later levels really feel like they push you to your limits. While it's satisfying to have a great base built that easily repels the hordes of robots, it doesn't get much better than feeling all is lost only to scrape by with a well timed electrical explosion that takes out the last of the advancing enemies. Lock's Quest is pure fun, whether you are a fan of tower defense or not. - Darren Nakamura [Take a look back at our Lock's Quest review.] 50 Cent: Bulletproof was an awful waste of time. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, on the other hand, stands as the greatest guilty pleasure for any person who was brave enough to try it back in 2009. 50 Cent and G-Unit are playing a venue somewhere in the Middle East where his payment is in the form of a diamond skull, because why the hell not? As luck would have it, that skull is stolen and 50 Cent goes on a bullet hose rampage, destroying the country and yelling "you fucked up!" at everyone until he finds it. Because no one takes Fiddy's skull. No one. - Brett Zeidler [Take a look back at our 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand review.] Red Faction: Guerrilla is initially interesting for its building destruction mechanics. It's quite a hoot to blow up a building's support beams and watch it tumble down into pieces on top of anyone around it. I might die in the process, but it hardly matters since I'll just get a new guy and have at it again. That's when it hit me: these thoughts and ideas have a lot, perhaps too much, in common with those of terrorists. After all, the goal is to drive these uninvited invaders off of the planet, since they're only there for economic reasons. Guerrilla explores terrorism in an almost uncomfortable way, by executing it perfectly. Throwing away a life in an explosive raid is okay to do within the game, though it does make me a bit uncomfortable. And I love that. - Patrick Hancock [Take a look back at our Red Faction: Guerrilla review.] Very few games have warmed my heart like Costume Quest. There's just something about it. Although many people were quick to point out it was a very basic RPG experience, for a downloadable title it was perfect. Subtle changes to RPG tropes, like candy as currency and trick-or-treating as quests, helped showcase that the game wasn't merely a homage, but a labor of love. Combat has elements reminiscent of Super Mario RPG and exploring the whimsical world never felt like a chore. Double Fine did a great job recapturing the spirit of every child's favorite evening, and THQ did the right thing by publishing it. - Chris Carter [Take a look back at our Costume Quest review.] Until the arrival of Darksiders 2, drawing comparisons to Zelda was used interchangeably as a slight and compliment. Whether shamelessly cribbing from God of War, Portal, and Panzer Dragoon made the game stronger or not was also a point of contention. Never before had a game attempted such blatant copying of contemporary, popular games. Though some resisted Darksiders -- and still do -- for me, it showed that there is no shame in copying others when quality and holistic design come before tribute. The variety of level design comes from copying other titles, but Vigil Games is what made all the disparate parts come together in a game that continues to surprise until its end. When stripped away from its idols, you get Darksiders 2, the equivalent of a dried-out sponge. - Allistair Pinsof [Take a look back at our Darksiders review.] Some people may say that its predecessor, Saints Row 2, was a funnier and better game. These people are afraid of change. The Third is the full realization of what the series had been working towards. It is utterly ridiculous and doesn't pretend to be anything but. By doing this, the actions of the player outside of cutscenes fall in line with the character's actions within them, unlike a certain other company's open world games.The http://deckers.die mission in particular is what skyrockets this game above any other. In a single mission you become a toilet, a sex doll, use the Mega Buster, participate in a text adventure, and fight a boss that simulates lag. I truly hope that when future generations talk about the best levels in video games, deckers.die is sitting alongside the classics. - Patrick Hancock [Take a look back at our Saints Row: The Third Dildo Baseball Bat review.]
Top Ten THQ Games photo
From wrestlers to panda-suit-wearing sociopaths
When assessing a publisher's impact on the industry, we tend to focus on the highs rather than consistency. THQ was anything but consistent, putting out Nintendo DS shovelware, rushed licensed games, and taking part in one of...

Nintendo sales photo
Nintendo sales

Nintendo is profitable again, cuts Wii U / 3DS targets

Wii U projection down to 4.0 million from 5.5 million
Jan 30
// Tony Ponce
It's good news, bad news time. Good news: After suffering a rough year of losses thanks to the 3DS' sluggish start, Nintendo was able to become profitable again through the first nine months of the 2012 / 2013 fiscal period. ...
Fire Emblem photo
Fire Emblem

Character progression in Fire Emblem: Awakening explained

Everything you need to know, and more
Jan 29
// Brett Zeidler
Fire Emblem: Awakening is almost here, guys. Just one more week; you can make it. To get you ready and up to speed, Nintendo has produced a new video that completely explains the character progression system in the latest in...
Nintendo Network offline photo
Nintendo Network offline

Nintendo Network is going down for maintenance

Here's what will be affected and when
Jan 28
// Jordan Devore
Beyond Nintendo's regular maintenance of its online services, the company will be going through a brief period of emergency maintenance for the Nintendo Network this week. If you experience any odd behavior over the next two ...

C'mon, Level-5! Localize Ni no Kuni DS already!

Jan 21 // Tony Ponce
[embed]242714:46443[/embed] The original Ni no Kuni was announced way back in 2008. It would be nearly two years, mere months before the DS game's release, before any mention was made of a PS3 version. Wrath of the White Witch is no mere update of the DS version, subtitled The Jet-Black Mage. From what I've gathered, both games were developed separately and feature several elements that differ in significant ways, even though the general framework is the same. Even if Mage and Witch were identical save for the graphics, I still believe there would be strong interest in the former. The large library of quality RPGs on the DS and PSP indicates that the genre has found a cozy home on handheld devices. It's ironic that a genre infamous for demanding massive time investments would adapt so well to the style of bite-sized gameplay fostered by portable hardware. Level-5 envisioned Ni no Kuni as a franchise, thus there is no reason why anyone ought to picture Mage and Witch as anything but complementary experiences. I understand that the big draw of Witch is how closely the in-game assets resemble the original artwork, but it's not like Mage is a slouch in the art department either. [embed]242714:46442:0[/embed] It doesn't end there! In order for Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi's score to sound as crystal clear as possible, Level-5 opted to use a 512 MB game card, the largest of any DS game. "Compromised," The Jet-Black Mage is not. More important than graphics and card space is the fact that Ni no Kuni is a major milestone for an animation studio that has historically avoided getting involved with videogames. Ni no Kuni is technically not the first time Ghibli had a hand in a game's art direction -- Magic Pengel on the PS2 holds that distinction -- but the level of involvement here is unprecedented. Why would you not want to experience such an event firsthand? But Wrath of the White Witch was announced for the West, while The Jet-Black Mage wasn't. Localization for Mage was definitely considered, but according to Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino, the big spanner in those plans was the book bundled with every copy of the game. For those unaware, the 352-page Magic Master book is a companion guide that details in-game lore, creatures, and magic runes that can be drawn on the touchscreen to cast spells. This book is a crucial element of the game, and its existence as a physical object was intended to add an extra layer of immersion. Apparently it was too expensive to translate, and even if it were translated, there would be the issue of printing enough copies for each game and expecting consumers to pay a premium for the bundle. I'm sure Level-5 could have found a decent workaround, but I do understand the cost concerns. Disappointing news, but that's the way the world turns, right? By the way, Witch also requires the use of the Magic Master book, but instead of being a physical object, it's an in-game item accessible from the menu. And oh yeah, US publisher Namco Bandai is selling a limited "Wizard's Edition" bundle that includes a physical version of the book, now called the Wizard's Companion. WHAT. THE. FUCK. So all that talk about expense and translation hurdles was just bullshit? I'm trying to be as rational as I can, but the only conclusion I can draw is that neither Namco nor Level-5 thought Ni no Kuni would have been able to sell on the DS. I don't see how it wouldn't unless Namco wasn't planning on advertising the game at all. Look, I'm glad that Ni no Kuni is coming out for PS3, but we are still being robbed of delicious Ghibli goodness! There has got to be a way for the DS game to make it out here somehow. Here's what to do The DS is a lame duck. There might be a studio or two still releasing new DS software, but most have moved on to its successor. Therefore Level-5 should port Ni no Kuni: The Jet-Black Mage directly to the 3DS. The team won't really need to touch it up too much -- as you saw in the footage above, its a very beautiful game, I would say even by 3DS standards. With this platform transition, Mage would benefit from the larger game card capacity -- cards at the 3DS' launch could already hold 2 GB, four times the size of the DS' largest. I'm going to take an educated guess and assume that Mage's card was fairly packed, thereby preventing Level-5 from -- oh, I don't know -- including a digital version of the Wizard's Companion. Because 3DS game cards are much roomier, the already translated book ought to fit in nice and neatly. There you have it! Players now have in-game access to the book, just as PS3 players do, and they won't be prevented from casting spells be drawing the runes. And for those who desire the original experience as intended, there could be a 3DS version of the "Wizard's Edition" as well. [DS version unboxing by Espelancer] But what of the argument that a currently two-year-old game from a previous generation platform would be a hard sell no matter the pedigree of the parties behind it? If Namco doesn't want to play ball, Level-5 should take its business to a progressive company like XSEED, which has recently shown great willingness in taking chances on niche but highly demanded RPGs on Nintendo consoles. XSEED has already been rewarded for localizing The Last Story, and even Xenoblade Chronicles, which Nintendo of America itself published two years after its Japanese release, has done "quite well" by the company's expectations. If Wrath of the White Witch performs to Namco's satisfaction, there ought to be no reason to hold off on localizing The Jet-Black Mage any longer. But if Witch does not meet its goal, Mage should nonetheless be given a shot for the sake of sharing one of the most beautiful-looking games in recent memory with the rest of the world. We have evidence that low-print software runs can pay off handsomely, just as long as the parties involved keep modest expectations. I just want some Level-5 / Studio Ghibli magic on the go. Is that so much to ask? Am I asking for the sun and the moon? Am I being naive in regards to the nature of big business?
Ni no Kuni DS, please! photo
And here's how to do it
Tomorrow, January 22, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch finally arrives on US shelves. The PlayStation 3 role-playing game is a collaboration between developer Level-5, and animation house Studio Ghibli -- two companies th...


LEGO Marvel Super Heroes announced for this fall

100+ characters from the Marvel universe
Jan 08
// Jordan Devore
Mixing LEGOs, videogames, and comics together has always seemed like a good idea -- certainly something I would have loved to see as a kid. TT Games is pressing on with yet another title, and this time it's LEGO Marvel Super ...

Warner Bros. announces three LEGO Legends of Chima games

All of them are releasing this year
Jan 02
// Jordan Devore
If you had told me that Legends of Chima was already a successful LEGO property, I would have believed you. But it's not! Not yet, anyway. Described as a "fantasy adventure set in land inhabited by different magical animal tr...

Be a McDonald's Store Manager in Dragon Quest VII game

Or a crew member
Dec 28
// Dale North
You'd expect to play as a wizard or warrior in a Dragon Quest game, but in this McD DS downloadable promotional game in Japan, you can also play as a McDonald's crew member or store manager. DS title Dragon Quest VII: McDonal...
Adventure Time photo
Adventure Time

Listen to the Adventure Time 3DS OST now on SoundCloud

Greatest. Soundtrack. Ever.
Dec 20
// Brett Zeidler
Guys, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd you steal our garbage?!! (also known as the greatest thing to ever happen to me) has an amazing soundtrack. I don't even know how to begin to describe it to you guys. Which is good, ...

The 3DS game card case is back up in Club Nintendo

This is weirdly the greatest thing to happen to me all day
Dec 19
// Brett Zeidler
All the coolest stuff goes way too fast in the Club Nintendo shop. Once it's gone, it's gone for good. That is until the rare occasion that Nintendo realizes just how popular an item was, and brings it back for a limited time...

SEGA to sue Level-5 for patent infringement

Another day, another lawsuit
Dec 12
// Jim Sterling
SEGA is taking Level-5 to court over its Inazuma Eleven soccer games, claiming they infringe on a patent the larger publisher holds.  The bone of contention is the ability to move characters via a finger or pen on a...

Wii U sells 400,000 units

Reggie claims system is selling out too quickly
Nov 26
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo of America's minestrone president, Reggie Fils-Aime, has taken to CNET to proclaim the Wii U a sellout and reveal the sale of 400,000 units since launch last Sunday. For comparison, the Wii was also able to get anoth...

Sup Holmes gets rad with WayForward's Sean Velasco

Fight for right, the might of the dragon!
Nov 25
// Jonathan Holmes
[Destructoid's Director of Communications Hamza Aziz asked Jonathan Holmes to make a show called 'Sup, Holmes?' so that Destructoid could later sell a t-shirt that says 'Sup, Holmes?' on it. This is that show. Subscribe ...

What WayForward took from Studio Ghibli and slasher films

Nausicaä and Jason Voorhees' made babies together
Nov 24
// Jonathan Holmes
Last week on Sup, Holmes (available now on iTunes) we were graced with the presence of Adam Tierney, director of such games as Silent Hill: Book of Memories, Aliens: Infestation, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Centipede...

Adventure Time: HIKWYSOG!?'s Secret Self Portrait Screen

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start
Nov 24
// Jonathan Holmes
It's feels a little wrong write this post. Publicizing the existence of this "secret screen" obliterates any semblance of secrecy that it once had. I blame Pendleton Ward for this. Some secrets are just too gr...

Review: Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal...

Nov 22 // Jonathan Holmes
Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?! (3DS [reviewed], DS)Developer: WayForward IndustriesPublisher: D3 PublisherRelease: November 20, 2012MSRP: $29.99 / $39.99 (Collector's Edition) Adventure Time: HIK!WYSOG?! starts with a nightmare where an owl kicks your ass. From there, things quickly transition to a conversation between a boy named Finn, his shape-changing dog Jake, and a little Game Boy-esque robot named BMO. The robot encourages the boy and his dog to destroy every tea cup in the basement. Next, the two protagonists talk to another robot -- one that looks like a talking microwave -- about stat building (of course), before leaving the house. Just as they step outside, an old flying man steals their garbage. The heroes deem that behavior to be unethical, so they decide to go to the old man's house and beat him up. To Adventure Time fans, all of this will seem perfectly normal, and only works as a teaser for what's to come. To those who've never seen the show, it's a perfect primer for the brazenly bizarre, effortlessly charming world of Adventure Time. [embed]239115:45880[/embed]  Like some of the best episodes of the show, the game's storyline is fairly barebones, but the writing is excellent. I laughed out loud and not just because I'm a fan of the show. In fact, I'd wager that a lot of the charm and humor in the game may have a greater effect on people who aren't already familiar with Adventure Time, as the concepts and characters will feel more fresh. If you're a fan of the style found in games like Katamari, Scott Pilgrim, Earthbound, Animal Crossing, or other sweet and strange videogame series, chances are you'll feel right at home.  The similarities to Scott Pilgrim go deeper than that. Paul Robertson, one of the head animators on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, worked on the art for Adventure Time: HIKWYSOG. If you're as big a fan of Mr. Robertson's work as I am, you'll pick up on his style right away, as it's quite prevalent during some of the bigger, more beautiful enemy graphics. Mr. Robertson was joined by Joakim "Konjak" Sandberg, one of the best sprite artists in the business, as well as Shiho Tsutsuji, a 10+ year veteran in the pixel art field, whose past credits include the Fire Emblem series and just about every 2D Kirby game of the past decade. All of these artists under one roof makes for one of the best-looking sprite-based games in recent memory. The animation here is more fluid and expressive than just about anything you might find on television, including Adventure Time.  The sound design and score on the game are equally impressive. Sound effects and voice samples from the show's excellent cast are peppered throughout, which comes as no surprise. The quality of the original songs and arrangements by Jake "Virt" Kaufman of the WayForward sound team are another subject entirely. They came out of left field, and totally blew my mind. There are a shocking amount of songs that feature full vocals, from the opening theme, to the candy graveyard theme (complete with creepy ladies whispering "death" in your ears), to a new song written specifically for a 1,000-year-old vampire queen, and many more. These songs don't mimic the exact songwriting style you'd find in the show, but that's a good thing. They stay true to the feel of the source material while giving even diehard Adventure Time fans something that they've never experienced before. The ending theme includes the lyrics "our friendship is stronger than any butt." I shouldn't need to tell you that you've just witnessed greatness. While the writing, graphics, and sound are all near perfect, the actual game design is more of a mixed bag. The game takes inspiration from Zelda II, offering a 2D, top-down RPG overworld and side scrolling town/dungeon/set piece action sequences. The pacing is far more dense than Zelda II, with important locations much closer together, faster-paced combat, and fewer instances of unavoidable random battles in Ooo to slow you down.  You'll need to have a healthy sense of exploration to get through the game, which requires searching both the overworld and the sidescrolling areas for new items and abilities in order to proceed. The structure is generally fetch-quest focused, which some may qualify as "padding," but if you love being in the game's world as much as I did, you'll take any excuse to spend more time with Peppermint Butler or the Earl of Lemongrab, even if it means searching every corner of Ooo looking for Wildberry Princess's diary. Thankfully, you'll need more than passive item collecting to pass through some of the game's various gates. There is also a fair amount of ability collection for both Jake and Finn, both of whom are controlled simultaneously. (Jake's actions are mapped to X and R, while Finn's actions are controlled with the remainder of the inputs.) Jake starts off with nothing more than a slow, weak, long-distance punch (he's clearly feeling lazy), but through various tomes of knowledge and personal experience, he learns to float in the air, Princess Peach style, to form an ear shield that protects from projectile attacks and repels harsh winds. He can also learns to turn into a cute little boat, and much more. Finn's abilities are more direct, generally focused on swordplay. He starts with a slide attack, ground pound, three-hit-punch combo, and an uppercut, but over the course of the game, he acquires a sword and multiple ways to make use of it.  To further mix things up, Finn and Jake can grab various pick-ups from enemies and treasure chests. Other than the well-hidden Wizard Stars which are generally used for health recovery, temporary stat enhancement, and special moves. Most of these items have links to the show, like the frozen business man's brief case, the crystal apple, beauteous wings, everything burrito, tiger hand, etc. Quite a few of them are rare, which makes hunting for them all the more fun. Only truly dedicated explorers find The Enchiridion (note: I still haven't found it myself). To add a further sense of discovery, there is an item-mixing system that can lead to unexpected results. Mix salt with a milkshake and chug it down -- you'll begin to spout ice shurikens straight out of The Chamber of Frozen Blades. It's a shame that this aspect of the game wasn't more fully integrated into the overall design. You can go the whole game without mixing a single item, or bothering with any non-quest oriented pick-ups. That speaks to my main issue with the game -- it doesn't ask enough of the player. Most enemies are fairly passive beasts. They have distinct and expressive attack patterns, but are all fairly easy to defeat or avoid. All the game's bosses have easy patterns to learn too. Other than the last two fights, experienced players will likely beat them all on the first try. Worse, the game is over way too soon. I didn't up my speed stats -- which increase your overworld and side-scrolling area walking speed -- until close to the end of the game, and I did a fair amount of extra running around and exploring (though there are still plenty of secrets I've yet to see), but I still beat the game in less than six hours. Although there is a New Game+ option, it's largely the same experience. In both difficulty and length, Adventure Time: HIKWYSOG?! feels like an extended first level of a much larger, potentially more challenging game. It's better that WayForward and D3 used their resources to create a short but expertly crafted game than to use the same budget to make a larger but more watered-down experience, but that doesn't change that fact that most consumers will expect a larger game for the retail asking price.  As for the collector's edition stuff, it's fairly barebones, but still worth owning for hardcore fans of the show. Like the game itself, the overworld map and bestiary book are small but made with genuine love of the source material. You also get a plastic stylus in the shape of Finn's sword, which will likely be most appealing to those with smaller hands. My favorite bit is the Enchiridion-shaped metal case the package comes in. It's extremely well put together, and gives even an old jerk like me a sense of wonder.  There was a time when a game like Adventure Time: HIK!WYSOG?! would qualify as a near perfect game, length and all. Ironically, WayForward's own excellent digital offering Mighty Switch Force has caused that standard to change. The game feels more like a top class, $15 download than retail title. That said, it's still an incredibly well-crafted game, and easily the best piece of self-contained Adventure Time artwork I've seen yet. With 50+ characters from seasons 1-3 of the show in appearance, it feels like more than a love letter to fans. It's closer to an expertly blended Megazord of everything that makes the show great. If you are a huge fan of Adventure Time, and/or are a less experienced videogame player, feel free to tack two points on to the score.
I don't love it when you get small, Jake
Adventure Time is currently my favorite show on television. It offers the same kind of nonchalant surrealism, iconic but expressive characters, and the simple delivery of complex themes that got me interested in videogames in...


Battle against Pokemon World Champions' finalists

Are your Pokemon ready?
Nov 19
// Harry Monogenis
Before the launch of Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 it was revealed that select winners from this year's Pokémon Video Game World Championships (which ended back in August) would have their characters ...

Here is how Adventure Time: HIKWYSOG? was made

Now in podcast form!
Nov 14
// Jonathan Holmes
Last week on Sup Holmes, we were lucky to talk to WayForward's James Montagna, the director of Adventure Time: Hey Ice King Why'd You Steal Our Garbage? for the DS and 3DS (podcast available here). James was kind enough...

Sup Holmes gets BMO'ed with WayForward's James Montagna

Adventure Time dev gets totally math
Nov 11
// Jonathan Holmes
[Destructoid's Director of Communications Hamza Aziz asked Jonathan Holmes to make a show called 'Sup, Holmes?' so that Destructoid could later sell a t-shirt that says 'Sup, Holmes?' on it. This is that show. Subscribe ...

Review: ThunderCats

Oct 31 // Jim Sterling
ThunderCats (DS)Developer: Aspect Digital EntertainmentPublisher: Namco BandaiRelease: October 30, 2012MSRP: $29.99 ThunderCats is a simple beat-'em-up-style platformer, and when I say simple, I mean this wouldn't even look advanced in the early '90s. With its substandard graphics, featuring largely featureless character models and muddy, flat scenery, the game looks like a slightly below average SEGA Genesis title, and plays like a dumbed-down Golden Axe.  From its visuals to its distinctly dated music, it's clear Aspect Digital was attempting to evoke a "retro" feel. However, unlike games that use the retro aesthetic to communicate a developer's love for bygone years, ThunderCats exploits it to cut corners, skimp on features, and ultimately provide a bland, tacky series of one-note levels.  Playing as Lion-O (obviously), ThunderCats' victims go from short stage to short stage, mindlessly hacking at identical opponents who attack in a predictable fashion and are more than happy to line up for their own lumps. The cat's sword swings feel totally disconnected from their targets, carrying zero sense of impact as the blade slices in front of enemy character models with only the vaguest trace of an "explosion" effect to demonstrate a strike. The game's idea of challenge is simply to throw as many opponents and bullets at the player as possible, and never does it try to deviate from that path with any nuance. [embed]237751:45625[/embed] Lion-O himself is simply unpleasant to control. He moves slowly, with an awful double-jump that has a pointless delay and palpable lack of responsiveness. His attacks are sluggish and his ponderous animations cannot be canceled, with most player damage suffered due to his inability to adequately dodge or avoid incoming fire. As he fights, he builds up a power meter, allowing him to unleash a blast of energy in a straight line. Its specific direction of fire makes it pointless to use in many situations, though admittedly it can be effective against bosses.  As the game progresses, support characters become available. Three of them (Tygra, Cheetara, and Panthro) unleash powerful attacks, while Wilykit and Wilykat can be summoned to drop healing items or sword power-ups. Support characters are used by spending tokens collected through levels, but Lion-O can only carry up to three at a time.  ThunderCats offers a disjointed sense of progression. Short beat-'em-up stages can precede multiple boss fights in a row, or Godawful platforming sections that expose just how inelegant Lion-O's jumping is and usually cause death (without checkpoints) thanks to how hard it is to tell what part of a platform can be safely landed on, and what our heroic cat will just gormlessly fall through. None of these sections flow well together, especially thanks to how repetitive and boring the boss battles are.  Now is as good a time as any to point out that having Lion-O say, with a poorly compressed voice clip, "ThunderCats, HOOOOO," every two minutes is not very enjoyable.  As mentioned, stages have no checkpoints, and saves between levels are literally a case of pot luck. At one point, I returned to the game to find that it hadn't saved anything for two levels. It was at this point, I must confess, that I decided a better use of my time and the game would be to toss it into a river -- something I plan to do at my earliest convenience.  There's not really much else to be said about ThunderCats because there's nothing else to it. It's a bottom-of-the-barrel brawler that might have been really appreciated in 1985, but is outclassed and humiliated even by the standards of the 16-bit era. It hides behind nostalgia like a coward, attempting to distract from its unpleasantness by convincing the player it's part of the "good old days" of gaming, but nobody exists who could be foolish enough to fall for its ploy.  And this is how ThunderCats ends. Not with a bang, but with a truly disgusting DS game. 
ThunderCats review photo
ThunderCats, HO-rrible!
The ThunderCats reboot was, by most accounts, a tragedy. Unlike most of the property rehashes that account for a worrying amount of modern entertainment, the new ThunderCats series was actually pretty well regarded and, from ...


LEGO The Lord of the Rings for handhelds now available

Other versions are two weeks out
Oct 30
// Jordan Devore
LEGO The Lord of the Rings released today for DS, 3DS, and PlayStation Vita (pictured above). While TT Games has done well for itself on handheld systems, the studio's LEGO titles have always seemed best played on consoles to...

Adventure Time 3DS goes gold, launching November 20th

Oh my glob!
Oct 26
// Brett Zeidler
Guys, we finally have a release date for Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd you steal our garbage?!! I mean, November 20th has been the day that I saw floating around for quite a while now, but it's the official date now as...

Compete with real-world Pokémon champs in Black & White 2

Pokémon World Tournament distribution details
Oct 15
// Jordan Devore
When I first heard that we would be able to compete against finalists from the Pokémon World Championships in Black and White 2, I thought that sounded really neat. Both for us as players, and for the folks who get to ...

This ThunderCats DS trailer is ultimately pointless

A game on a lame duck system for a show that's effectively been cancelled
Oct 13
// Tony Ponce
[Update: Not game-related, but it looks like DC Nation is now being postponed to January for no reason whatsoever. What a crock of sh*t.] I was digging the 2011 reboot of ThunderCats, and I was under the impression that othe...

Review: Pokemon Black and White 2

Oct 04 // Daniel Starkey
Pokémon Black and White 2 (Nintendo DS)Developer: Game FreakPublisher: NintendoRelease: October 7, 2012MSRP: $34.99 Playing a new Pokémon game for many people tends to be a war with their own nostalgia. Every time a new title in the core series of games is released, fans of the originals become rabid children and flock to the new game in a desperate attempt to "Catch 'em all" -- a task which gets exponentially more difficult with each generation. It's a roller coaster of sentimentality that messed with my head a bit. For the first few hours, I went back and forth between belting the Pokémon show theme song and practically yelling at the DS for not telling me what to do and where to go. BW2 needs some kind of recap feature or journal or something. NPCs will often mention to go find certain things, but it never explicitly tells me where they are. There are so many random buildings and people wandering around everywhere that it's impossible to know at first glance what is and isn't important. Important names are only in the last lines of the dialogue with NPCs and never mentioned again. I have no way to look it up, no way to find a hint, no way to get some kind of reminder, even. Every now and then, people just walk up to me and hand me items without any explanation or context. No one tells me what I need to get through which area or how, or even the general direction I should be going. Black and White had a fairly linear path. This sequel, on the other hand, seems to just send you off with all of your options apparently available, but not really showing you where you can and cannot go until you try. [embed]235932:45277[/embed] I've also noticed that it's harder to use only one Pokémon in this game. It's the first time I've ever had problems with that strategy. I'm being forced to pick up other Pokémon and use them because I simply don't have the ability to learn any decent moves.  While initially frustrating, this actually makes me glad in a way. For years I've been playing this game in a really cheap, easy, shortcut-y way and this is the first time I've seen some real effort to balance the trainer and wild Pokémon distribution in such a way that my old, rather boring strategy is totally unusable. Kudos, Game Freak. You did something right. Conniving bastards. Sucking me in again... Despite these extensive, nagging complaints, I'm really surprised at how well the core Pokémon formula continues to hold up. With minor tweaks, the basic game becomes exponentially more complex over time while simultaneously being simple enough that children can get into it and appreciate the basics. The entire game is centered around the core theme of growth and gradual maturity as well, reinforcing the appeal to younger audiences. Most people started playing Pokémon when they were young and had little agency in the world, but by tapping the dream of growing up and being more and more important within a relatively small time frame is a powerful appeal to kids. It seems then, as the Pokémon generation ages, the nostalgia is reinforced by this longing to fulfill those same childhood dreams that were planted in our minds back in the '90s. Wow. This has to be some really sick, decade-long marketing scheme ... it's genius. Maybe Nintendo and Game Freak are actually Team Rocket. If so, they've managed to create another compelling installment in the long-running franchise. Pokémon embodies the maxim "easy to learn, hard to master." Even after 15 years, I still only know a small portion of what I potentially could. While I don't have the time or the patience to dedicate to that endeavor, it's comforting to know that even in what is, ostensibly, a children's game, that if I chose to take that leap, I would have something substantive on which to land. Unfortunately, that same level of refinement and care cannot be found in the narrative. Black and White attempted to tackle several legitimate moral issues with their plot -- and they were, more or less, the first games in the series to do so. They posed a question which any legitimately moral individual inhabiting the world of Pokémon would eventually have to ask themselves: is it okay to capture small animals and force them to fight one another for sport? For most, the answer is a resounding "no." However, Black and White backed away from the implications of the very question they raised, and I'm sad to say that their sequels are no different in that regard. Normally, I could forgive Pokémon for so poorly handling a fairly legitimate moral issue, but the plot has been so deeply integrated, and spans such a large portion of the game that I really can't let it go. It feels like I have been tantalized with a potentially subversive, thought-provoking game that never appears. In that sense, Black and White 2 are clearly the products of Nintendo. The paired titles hint at so much more than they are, that when the whole journey is over, I'm left wanting what could have been. Most people won't care, though, and for those folks, Black and White 2 represent a perfectly adequate, even addictive sequel that falls a bit short short of its full potential. Then again, at some point, a giant, flying, solar-powered pirate ship shows up and freezes whole cities with an ice laser. So... take the good with the bad.

Pokémon is practically a cultural institution. Every true child of the '90s knows every word to the theme song, lost a lot of their parents' money on the trading card game, and spent many dozens of hours testing playgr...

100% Series Retrospective: Resident Evil

Oct 02 // Chris Carter
Resident Evil - PlayStation [Owned], PC, Saturn, PSN [Owned] COMPLETED Resident Evil is where it all started. Gaming legend Shinji Mikami created a game that was not only an homage to Sweet Home, but also a great survival horror companion to Alone in the Dark. Unlike most games at the time, you simply didn't know what to expect next -- literally anything could jump out and try and bite your head off. Moments like the first time you experienced zombie dogs jumping through a window, or the famous first-person Hunter scene are burned into my memory. Despite the low-budget voice acting (which only added a campy, enjoyable Evil Dead feel to it), Resident Evil is a pure classic, even today.  Resident Evil 2 - PlayStation, PC, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, GameCube, PSN [Owned] COMPLETED Resident Evil 2 took the first iteration's mansion setting, and turned it to 11. It wasn't just "The Mansion" anymore -- your playground was an entire city. Somehow, someway, Resident Evil 2 filled this city with secrets, story, and tons of character. Costume changes and hidden modes became more of a big deal, and started shaping up Resident Evil's trademark of packing in tons of content. The unique "two-disc" approach, in which the game was basically two games, was also rarely done at the time, and was a testament to the sheer undertaking that this year-and-nine-month project really was. The dynamic "Zapping System" mechanic that changed your story was pretty much unheard of at the time, and still is today. While I don't think Resident Evil 2 was as fun as the original, one thing's for sure: it's one of the most technically impressive games of all time.  Resident Evil 3 - PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast, GameCube, PSN [Owned] COMPLETED "3" was unique in that it had a big bad boss enemy stalk you the entire game -- basically right from the very beginning. It also introduced a mechanic that I was extremely grateful for, and rarely re-used: dodging. After the main game was completed, you could access the first true Mercenaries mode, entitled "Operation: Mad Jackal." RE3's variation was much more fleshed out than the prior installments' "Survivor" or "Battle Game" gametypes. Quite honestly, Mad Jackal set me up for my rabid love of the Mercenaries gametype. In fact, for a few titles, I would play Mercenaries for considerably longer than the actual core game -- Resident Evil 3 was one such example.  Resident Evil Survivor - PlayStation [Owned], PC COMPLETED My recollection of Survivor is vague at best: I remember renting it with my little brother, and beating it in an afternoon. The only specific thing I really remember about it is that it's basically Doom in Resident Evil form, and you literally cannot save the game, ever. While you're able to keep any weapons and items after death, you have to restart from the beginning if you die: considering is is around 1-3 hours, that might suck. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: Survivor is what it is. It's not a terrible "lightgun game," but it isn't great, either. One of the biggest punches in the face is the fact that it feels like a straight arcade port (even though it's not) given the fact that there are no continue points. It's hard to recommend for that reason alone, but if you're a Resident Evil fanatic, you may as well track this one down.  Resident Evil Code: Veronica - Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 [Owned], GameCube, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Owned] COMPLETED Code Veronica was formerly my favorite game in the series, before REmake and RE5 came along. It was the first game to offer semi-fixed angles for the camera, instead of pre-rendered backgrounds, which was partly due to the upgrade in hardware to the PlayStation 2. It also offered a first-person view for a few weapons, and an amalgamation of various Resident Evil games, such as the 180-degree turn, upgradeable weapons, and explosive scenery. Simply put, it was just a clean, fun Resident Evil game. In the PS2 version, there were a few ham-fisted action scenes involving Wesker, but they were good fun too and helped add to the game's enjoyment. In addition to the normal game (Code: Veronica X), I completed battle mode with every character.  Resident Evil Gaiden - Game Boy Color [Owned] COMPLETED Gaiden ("side-story" in Japanese), is probably the only "bad" Resident Evil game in the entire franchise. While a few others were extremely average, Gaiden is borderline unplayable. Strangely enough, it's a top down/rhythm game hybrid -- the results are disastrous, and not even Leon and Barry can save this one. Combat is done in a turn-based game style, where contact with an enemy initiates a mini-game similar to the "field goal kick" bar from the popular Madden NFL series. To be blunt, combat just wasn't scary, and it wasn't much fun either. Resident Evil REmake - GameCube, Wii [Owned] COMPLETED RE1's GameCube REmake is possibly the best remake of all time, for any series. Capcom pulled out all the stops for this one, when they could have easily just re-released the game à la the RE GameCube collection. The graphics are updated, the voice acting is improved, and the game is overhauled so much that fans will barely recognize some parts of it (among a few new areas). The REmake offers up classic RE1 gameplay with a brand new veneer -- personally, while it's not my favorite, I think it's technically the best game in the series.  Resident Evil Zero - GameCube [Owned], Wii [Owned] COMPLETED Resident Evil Zero is one of the only games I haven't completed in the series before this Quest. While I had a GameCube, I was too busy playing other stuff at the time (including the GameCube's REmake), and just missed this one. I've heard mixed reactions -- both that it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, and that it's a solid entry to the franchise. Either way, I'm excited to jump into one this year with the Wii re-release. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: I'm not a huge fan of Zero, but that's mostly due to the two title characters involved. As the main series precursor to RE, I think Zero falls short in many respects. I didn't really feel connected to Rebecca or Billy nearly as much as I did with any previous character in the series, and considering they hardly ever make a re-appearance, I can only assume many people felt the same. I applaud Capcom for bringing us back to the Spencer Mansion and giving us a bit of insight into the mystery there, but honestly, REmake did all of this and more (I can't say enough good things about that game).  Resident Evil: Dead Aim - PlayStation 2 [Owned] COMPLETED Dead Aim is easily the best light-gun game in the series, especially for its time. Movement was shown in a third-person view like standard Resident Evil games, but it switched to first-person for shooting purposes. This basically created a hybrid shooting/adventure game that at least allowed you to pick your fights during most instances, instead of being forced to battle every single enemy on-rails. Why Capcom didn't follow this formula further, I'll never know, as it made for a really interesting game. It also offered up a few new characters that, while forgettable, show Capcom was at least trying something different instead of putting Leon and Chris into a game for the hundredth time.  Resident Evil Outbreak - PlayStation 2 [Owned] COMPLETED Outbreak was a fan's dream: for the first time, Resident Evil was truly multiplayer! You could cooperate or betray your teammates, just like a real zombie apocalypse. There were plenty of "How could you leave me behind!" and "It was both of us or one of us!" moments, and this made for a unique experience that hasn't really been matched yet, even with Left 4 Dead. Outbreak served up classic hopeless Resident Evil tension with heated multiplayer gameplay, and it's a shame so many people missed out on it (mostly due to the haphazard marketing of the PS2's HDD and Internet accessory).  Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 - PlayStation 2 [Owned] COMPLETED Strangely enough, Outbreak 2 was the first Resident Evil game to allow people to move and shoot. Since it wasn't as popular in America, however, no one really talks about it. Part of the reason for the lack of popularity was the fact that it was basically a carbon-copy of Outbreak 1, with a few different scenarios. The game added an extra communication system that allowed people to talk to one another despite the region, and a few other small additions, but it wasn't really enough to show up on most people's radars. Personally, I wasn't upset with more of the same, as I enjoyed the original Outbreak.  Resident Evil 4 - GameCube, PlayStation 2 [Owned], PC, Wii [Owned]*, iPhone [Owned], iPad, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Owned] COMPLETED Many fans are upset at Resident Evil 4 for spearheading the series into an action-oriented direction. Personally, I see it as a natural evolution of the series. The behind-the-back camera and aiming mechanics are a much better alternative than anything previously offered, and the enemy variety lends itself well to the new direction. For whatever reason, people never seem to fault Resident Evil 4 for a more action-centric focus, instead choosing Resident Evil 5 as the sacrificial lamb. Personally, I never saw it: I was already ready for action ever since Code Veronica X. The Mercenaries mode also takes a further step forward, and offers up even more additional content than ever before -- most notably the ability to select multiple stages, and the inability to actually complete it. Resident Evil 4 was also insanely popular, and helped revitalize the series.  Resident Evil: Deadly Silence - DS [Owned] COMPLETED Deadly Silence. DS. Get it?! One of the cool things about this version of Resident Evil is that the top screen of the DS is used as a map, and a health indicator at all times. Additionally, the game is pretty much a spot-on port of the PS1 game, voice acting and all, which is pretty impressive given the DS' general lack of horsepower. It also has a multiplayer mode; it's kind of weak, given that you and your friends never actually see each other in different parts of the mansion, but it's a free addition nonetheless. To differentiate this playthrough from my original RE run, I'm playing the "REbirth mode," which adds a ton of unique first-person action scenes, and DS-centric additions/re-arrangements. Even though the game is basically a port, touch screen-specific puzzles and changes are enough to justify another playthrough here. All in all, Deadly Silence is about what you'd expect out of an above average portable port, and a solid addition to any RE fan's collection.  Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles - Wii [Owned], PlayStation 3 COMPLETED Umbrella Chronicles is an on-rails shooter for the Wii. That's about all I can say about it, honestly, before I head into this one. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort or time to complete it, and cooperative gameplay is kind of shoe-horned in. Thankfully, it has a decent amount of unlockable content. While I have played Umbrella Chronicles, I haven't tackled it as much as Darkside Chronicles, so I'll be sure and post extended thoughts below. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: If you like light-gun games, be sure and check this one out. It offers pretty standard, enjoyable light-gun arcade-y fun over the backdrop of a few past Resident Evil titles. Umbrella Chronicles is a good way to get a refresher for Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil 1, and Resident Evil 3. Although, despite how fun it can be, I'd highly recommend playing it with a partner, as it enhances the enjoyment tenfold. Resident Evil 5 - Xbox 360 [Owned], PlayStation 3 [Owned], PC COMPLETED I make it no secret that Resident Evil 5 is my favorite game of all time (emphasis on personal favorite). The day I got it at midnight, I took off work the next day, and beat it sometime in the morning. The next day, my wife and I started a co-op campaign that would last about a week -- after that, I grinded through another playthrough to get some cash for extra weapons; I just couldn't get enough. To put it simply, I think RE5 is the most fun game in the entire series. There's a hefty campaign, tons of extra content, co-op, and for the first time, there's co-op Mercenaries -- what more could you want? I literally played RE5 for months on end, and ate up all the DLC possible. I can't say enough good things about this game. For my 2012 playthrough, I'm either going to tackle the PlayStation Move version of the game, or replay it with my wife. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Wii [Owned], PlayStation 3 COMPLETED Darkside Chronicles is a considerable improvement upon Umbrella Chronicles. There's a new evade move and it offers a dynamic difficulty setting, along with an improved co-op mode. Like the other light-gun titles in the series, Darkside Chronicles is basically a love-it-or-hate-it kind of game. It doesn't really offer a whole lot more than most other on-rail shooters. If you're a Resident Evil fan, however, you may want to put up with it just for the extra story bits. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: Out of the two light-gun Wii titles, Darkside Chronicles is the better game; especially for two players. The developers make a much better effort to accommodate co-op play, and the new mechanics make gameplay smoother. You also get crucial backstory on Leon and Krauser, which helps make Resident Evil 4's Krauser encounters that much more enjoyable. If you have to choose one of the two Wii light-gun games, make it Darkside -- but getting both isn't a bad idea.  Resident Evil: Deck Building Game - [Owned] COMPLETED If you haven't played a deck-building game before, the concept is pretty simple. There are a bunch of stacks of static cards in the center of the play area. You have one giant deck, of which you draw five cards at a time from. With those five cards, you can perform a number of actions depending on what you randomly drew -- you can buy cards from the middle or perform actions to either draw more cards or modify your deck. Resident Evil's deck-building variant adds another new concept: fighting infected. On any given turn, you're allowed one buy, one action, and one "exploration" that allows you to take a door card and explore the Spencer Mansion. In the mansion you can find items or battle infected for trophies -- depending on the gametype, the player with the most trophies (kills) wins. I've played a number of deck-building games before such as Dominion, but Resident Evil is one of my favorites. Each player gets assigned a unique character that changes your abilities, which helps add to the characterization and uniqueness of the game. Also, it's a delight to take down the Nemesis with a bunch of knife cards as Krauser. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D - 3DS [Owned] COMPLETED Mercenaries 3D is a very niche title. If you love the Mercenaries mini-games from other titles, you may like Mercs 3D. If you loathe them -- well, that's kind of the entire game here. Mercs 3D made waves in the gaming community at release due to the inability to delete saves, and its incredibly short length (it can be beaten in a few hours). It also had a few other problems like the short draw distance, among other graphical glitches. Personally, I thought the game was acceptable, and played it for quite a while before putting it down. While it may seem like a cash grab at first, there are a decent amount of scenarios included, and Mercs fanatics will be sure to come back to it occasionally.  Resident Evil: Revelations - 3DS [Owned] COMPLETED Did the mysteriously abandoned Resident Evil PSP game end up as Revelations? Does it really matter at this point? Early previews are calling this "one of the best Resident Evils in a long time, and possibly the best Resident Evil ever." The demo is great, the visuals are great, and there's really no reason to doubt this entry, despite the fact that it's on a portable. I plan on getting this game day one and ripping through it in a few days. I'll be sure and post my thoughts after completion. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: After playing the final release, I felt like the demo was a bait and switch of sorts. The fact of the matter is, without going into spoiler territory, at least half of the game is not the tight-knit claustrophobic experience the demo made it out to be. A lot of Revelations is spent with an AI partner clunking around, or in open areas fighting non-stop enemies in a full-out actionfest -- the switch between the Cruise Ship sections and everywhere else is jarring, and the story isn't the greatest to boot. Thankfully, the game looked great, controlled great, and Raid Mode is pretty fun solo or with a friend. I hope that Capcom puts this new engine to good use, and expands upon a lot of concepts with Revelations. It's not one of my favorite Resident Evil games for sure, but it's not bad, either.  Resident Evil Game Boy Color - Game Boy Color ROM [Owned] COMPLETED This previously unreleased title has finally been given to the public by an anonymous source. While it evidently isn't possible to beat the game in its current state, I'll still attempt to complete as much as possible. Up until 2012, no one has had a chance to play this missing piece of history, so I'm pretty excited to see what we've been missing all these years. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: Considering Resident Evil GBC is only available as a free ROM, you aren't really risking anything financially to try it. There isn't a whole lot to say about this one that can't really be said by looking at the screenshot above. It's a very simplistic version of Resident Evil, distilled into a tiny cartridge-size package. The ROM isn't complete, but at least you can get a taste of this lost game. While it isn't ideal, I would have salivated at the prospect of a portable Resident Evil game for car trips as a child.  Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City - Xbox 360 [Owned], PlayStation 3, PC COMPLETED I honestly have no idea what to expect from Raccoon City. I'm not the biggest fan of Slant Six, and I'm not too keen on the possible idea of shooting down Resident Evil's heroes and heroines. Additionally, based on rumors, the game may not have a split-screen mode, which would hinder my ability to play with my wife. Regardless, I'll be picking up Raccoon City this year on my 360, and I'm eager to see what it can offer to the series. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: Raccoon City is a disappointment. While fun, the game has a heap of issues, from online stability, to numerous gamebreaking glitches. Players have been known to fall through the floor, turn into ghosts, and all sorts of other mishaps. It's a shame, because for Resident Evil fans, the game is a fun little romp through the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. You get to see pretty much every major monster from the series (Nemesis included!), and some familiar faces like Birkin, Leon, and Hunk. If done correctly -- and possibly as canon -- this could have been a really worthwhile entry into the franchise. As it stands, it's a hard recommendation  Resident Evil 6 - Xbox 360 [Owned], PlayStation 3, PC COMPLETED I could not be more excited for Resident Evil 6. From the rumors offered so far, it looks to have a full Mercenaries mode with multiplayer, story mode co-op, and a single-player campaign without an AI partner. In short, it apparently offers more content than RE5. I'm excited for the new setting, and hopefully the story will be interesting this time around without Wesker (presumably, provided he isn't cloned). Although the series is decidedly more action-oriented, there are also rumors of more claustrophobic areas and slower-moving zombies having a part in RE6 -- if they can do it right, I say bring it on. EXTENDED THOUGHTS: Despite my initial excitement, over time, I came into Resident Evil 6 expecting to be disappointed. I had heard so many bad things from my friends and colleagues who have played it at various events like E3 and TGS. I had personally bought Dragon's Dogma primarily for early access to the Resident Evil 6 demo, and came away fairly unimpressed. I played the Resident Evil 5 demo for hours on end (over twenty hours in fact) -- with the Resident Evil 6 demo, I literally played it once and deleted it. So with all this in mind, I came into Resident Evil 6 very skeptical, and left mostly impressed. Mostly. Spreading apart all three (four, if you count Ada) stories was a ballsy move. With Resident Evil 5, it was enjoyable to play as Chris and Sheva the entire game, as the story wasn't all over the place, and you were grounded in both characters, which made it easy to learn their nuances and melee abilities. With Resident Evil 6, you're jumping all over the place at times, and it can be jarring. Not only does every character handle differently, but everyone has a different UI to boot. Given the mostly fast-paced action the game spews at you constantly, design choices like the inability to pause the game in co-op just feel weird, as do QTEs that only involve one player, wrapped up in such unexciting things as starting a car. Still, I found myself enjoying the game the more I played it. (I'm talking ten hours of learning the nuances of combat). I'll fully admit, Mercenaries -- which you all know I'm a giant fan of -- really helped me grasp said nuances much quicker than the campaign, and bolstered my enjoyment tenfold. As you can see in this video, combat is more than meets the eye in Resident Evil 6. There's sliding, counters, quick-shotting, and contextual melee moves. It's like a complex fighting game in a sense, but integrated into one of my favorite franchises of all time. Naturally, since it's done well, I'm enjoying myself. RE6 also has a ton of content provided that you're ready to embrace the action-oriented gameplay (which has been a staple since RE4). There's an Ada campaign, a handful of online modes, a meta-game involving skill XP in both the campaign and Mercenaries, tons of unlocks and some costumes for Mercs, and more. Like RE5, there's enough here to keep you playing well into 2013. While it isn't one of my favorite games in the franchise by far, I think it's a fairly solid action game (what immediately comes to mind is my opinion of Skyward Sword: great action-RPG, alright Zelda game). Just like RE5, your mileage will vary depending on how fun your co-op partner is -- just know, however, that the co-op AI is not nearly as frustrating as Sheva was. Collection Photo:  Final thoughts: The Resident Evil series has certainly had its ups and downs. From its horror roots to a metamorphosis of action to the chagrin of many fans, everyone has to admit that the franchise is interesting, if nothing else. As a whole, I found myself not enjoying this Quest nearly as much as the other ones, and I can't really put my finger on why, as I still like the series overall. While I was truly eager to rip into Tony Hawk, Kingdom Hearts, and Zelda almost immediately, I took a long break in between some of the games here, as I found it fairly tough to continue on. Perhaps it's because of the slow-moving nature of many of the earlier games, and when played in rapid succession, it can get a bit grating? I don't know for sure. Thankfully, the multiplayer iterations kept me going, as it was a blast to, well, blast away the undead with my wife or with a friend.    
100% Resident Evil photo
Carter's Quest
[Read on for a description of every Resident Evil game ever released in the US, and my completion of them all in 2012.] Why Resident Evil? This year, Capcom is pushing out three entirely new Resident Evil games -- it's also t...

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