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Wonderbook: Book of Spells out November 13


Sep 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Wonderbook: Book of Spells will be out on November 13 for $39.99, just in time for Black Friday shopping madness. There will also be a bundle version available for $79.99 that will come with the game, Wonderbook peripheral, ...

Review: Lights, Camera, Party!

Aug 28 // Ian Bonds
[embed]233646:44864[/embed] Lights, Camera, Party! (PlayStation Network)Developer: Frima Studio Inc.Publisher: SCEAReleased: August 28, 2012 MSRP: $29.99 ($14.99 for PlayStation Plus) In the game's story mode, one of APE TV's satellites crashes into the Funzini family's house so the studio owner, Gus Pacho, invites them to star in a wacky game show and compete for the grand prize: THE HOME OF THEIR DREAMS! Players then have to compete against each other in a variety of mini-games sharing a single controller. As each player gains points during their game, whoever wins the round wins a portion of the house designed with their selected character in mind. For example, Papa Funzini loves candy, so his house is themed with sweets, while little Billy Funzini loves cowboys, so his dream home looks western, and so on. There are five family members to choose from, but this is only used to put a face to your profile in story mode and a style to your home sections. The story mode supports up to four players, but there's a party mode which supports up to eight. Again, all of these modes can be played with a single Move controller. The mini-games themselves are your standard motion-controlled fare: swing at this, rotate that, move it up to do one thing, down for another, etc. Honestly, there's nothing really inspired or unique that you haven't seen before in another form in some other mini-game collection, but at least the motion controls perform well. Because it's PlayStation Move, they incorporate some forward and back movements -- such as twisting blocks to be pushed into the properly shaped holes -- so it's not just a lot of waggle (though there is plenty of that, too). There's also some color matching for the ball on the top of the controller, but every mini-game is easily described just before you perform it, from holding it up to your face to dodge incoming pies, to yelling into the mic on the PlayStation Eye camera to raise the decibels and destroy a mountain. For some reason, there is a heavy monkey theme to be found (many of the games star the APE TV's staff, who are all monkeys), but it's never explained. Not that you'll be looking for much plot here. As you play through, there's a decent amount of competition to be had, as players can try to beat high scores on different events. However, the announcer will begin to get on your nerves. Even as you fail an event completely, he'll claim that you're "one step away from victory" despite completely screwing up. But hey, positive thinking, right? Thankfully, there's an option to turn him off by lowering the sound of the voice in the options menu. Also there is no single-player option, other than the game's challenge mode. The game is meant for families to pick up and play quickly while hopefully having fun and laughing at the on-screen antics and variety of mini-games, all while frantically passing the one controller back and forth to each other. However, because there's not a lot of games unlocked at the start, I found myself repeating mini-game events in my first few go-rounds. Once you unlock a good batch, though, you shouldn't see too many repeats, as there are a total of 50 mini-games in all. Because there are only five avatars, when playing with more than five people, you'll also end up having many folks using the same character for their profile. Again, not a huge deal, but a bit more variety would have been nice. There's not a whole lot that can be said about this title. The main "story" can be played in about a half hour max if you have all four player slots filled, and the mini-games speed by fairly quickly. There at least is a selectable difficulty for the mini-games, which can present a challenge, but usually only in the time limit needed for task completion. There's also the aforementioned a challenge mode, where you can choose which mini-game you want to play to see if you can beat high scores and for medals and such, with a promise of DLC on the way for more mini-games, but after a few rounds, you'll feel as though you've already seen and done everything that you would want. Lights, Camera, Party! is not a bad game. What it does, it does fairly well, and the art style looks neat. However, despite the graphics and accurate gameplay, the collection falls into the problem all mini-game collections have: repetition, which leads to boredom. Once you've done a few mini-games, you may not be compelled to unlock the rest. This exists to be a mini-game collection, and nothing more. You know what to expect.
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Mini-games. Apparently, they're still a thing. If you own one of those new-fangled motion controllers for your system, invariably you'll discover that there are mini-game collections to be found for your device. PlayStation M...

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Panty shot! New PS Move game Until Dawn announced


Aug 14
// Dale North
A beautiful cast, a dark secret. A panty shot. Sony announced new PS3/PS Move game Until Dawn at their press conference at gamescom today.  You'll play as 7 different characters, with relationships that develop over the...
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gamescom: New Wonderbook games announced


Aug 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Moonbot Studios teased a Wonderbook title at E3, and today they've revealed Diggs Nightcrawler. It's a film Noir detective story based on children's tales. The video demo showed off a worm detective trying to find the killer ...

Review: Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection

Jun 29 // Ian Bonds
Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection (PlayStation Network)Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomReleased: June 26, 2012MSRP: $26.99 If you've played either game on the Wii, you know what you're in for. Umbrella takes the player on a first person frenetic capsulized shoot-fest through Resident Evil 0, 1, & 3, culminating with a new Wesker-centric mission. Shooting background objects reveals unlockables such as background music, character profiles, and documents on Resident Evil lore. Darkside takes a similar approach, but wraps the flashbacks to Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica in a pre-RE4 mission with Leon and Krauser. The games, when initially released, were fun diversions that offered a quick recap of key Resident Evil events in a co-op shooter shell. There wasn't a whole lot new there, but it was a new take on familiar stories, with a little fan service thrown in. For the HD release, textures are smoothed over and everything looks a bit sharper, but not much over the original versions. Character models are still kind of muddy and the grain from the ”video footage” cut scenes is still annoying, but you won't notice it too much in game, as you'll be following laser site targeting reticules to line up shots. The titles come with full Move support, and as with any lightgun game, this is highly recommended. However, while the original games offered a set up specified for the Wii Zapper, there is no support for the Move Sharp Shooter peripheral, just the single ”blaster” shell and navigation controller or wireless controller addition option. This means that if you want to use the nav controller (in the Sharp Shooter or not) you have to pair it with the Move controller by pressing Square on the move and clicking in the analog stick on the nav). This doesn't allow for reloading using the Sharp Shooter's slide function, but if you want it to recognize your other controller, you HAVE to pair it. From there, it's business as usual. In Umbrella, the analog stick lets you move the camera to a limited effect to observe a little more of your surroundings. However, that feature is stripped away in Darkside, only used for selecting weapons. If playing one after the other, this can be confusing, as I was used to looking around in one, and kept selecting a shotgun instead. There's the addition of leaderboards for score comparison, but beyond that and the touch-up of graphics, these are the same games from years ago. If you enjoyed them then, you'll enjoy them now, but there's nothing to entice you to purchase them again beyond Trophy support or slightly smoother graphics if you already had the originals. If you prefer one game over another, they'll be offered separately on July 17th, for $17.99 each.
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If there's one type of game that I love, it's lightgun games. If there's another, it's specifically the Resident Evil series. If there is THREE...well, let's just stop there. The Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles in...

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E3: 'Portal 2 in Motion' DLC supports PlayStation Move


Jun 05
// Fraser Brown
Portal 2's latest DLC installment, "Portal 2 In Motion," is being shown on the E3 show floor today. It includes the same levels from the DLC for the Razor Hydra controller and offers players a more tactile experienc...
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E3: Sony announces Wonderbook for the PlayStation 3


Jun 04
// Chad Concelmo
Using the PlayStation Eye, the Wonderbook makes books come to life! Imagine reading a page about a dragon -- with Wonderbook, the dragon will fly off the page and, I don't know, set the curtains in your living room on fire? N...

Review: Sorcery

May 21 // Jim Sterling
Sorcery (PlayStation 3)Developer: The Workshop, SCE Santa Monica StudioPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: May 22, 2012MSRP: $39.99 Sorcery tells the story of a boy apprentice named Finn who, true to the stereotype, just cannot help playing around with his master's magic when nobody's looking. Aided by a talking cat named Erline, the apprentice sets off on an adventure to stop the Nightmare Queen before she does something generically evil. A relatively light and family-friendly story, Sorcery's narrative presentation relies on comic-style cutscenes and lame jokes in a manner not unlike last year's "big" Move title, Medieval Moves. Luckily, Sorcery manages to stay a step above that particular title, despite the similarities.  Armed with a Navigation controller and PS Move, the player controls Finn in a traditional third-person manner, pressing X to dodge and L1 to center the camera. The Move is used to control our hapless apprentice's wand-bearing hand, where a flick of the remote sends a bolt of arcane energy in a direction vaguely corresponding to one's physical movements. Yes, despite the Move's 1:1 control, Sorcery wisely adds a dose of aim assist to make sure you hit targets at least 70% of the time. Magic spells often have an alternative use, usually triggered by sweeping the Move across a wide arc to curve shots, create area-of-effect traps, and other such useful tricks.  Naturally, there is some banal busywork involving turning keys in locks and waving the remote from side to side in order to sweep obstacles from a pathway, but the vast bulk of the game involves combat versus a range of melee and ranged enemies, as Finn runs through fairly typical levels consisting of winding corridors broken up by large enemy-rich arenas. While the idea of motion-controlled arcane battling is a noble one, the limitations of the technology leave much to be desired, and it seems nobody was interested in working around those limitations, only plowing blindly through them.  [embed]227710:43715[/embed] The biggest obstacle is the targeting system and associated camera issues. When enemies are present, Finn will automatically alter his movement to strafe mode, while the camera will focus in the direction of the most salient threat. Of course, the game's idea of a pressing threat is not always the player's idea, since its camera cannot cope with large rooms of enemies that may be coming from multiple directions. When the game chooses to focus on an enemy, it will almost always stay focused until that particular opponent is dead, even if there are monsters behind or flanking Finn that are far closer and more worthy of attention. This becomes especially frustrating when facing elemental enemies that require certain spells to defeat, forcing the player to change their tactics on the whims of the game, rather than making any decisions for themselves.  When the camera isn't completely failing, you're left with a fairly typical shooting game in which the only real objective is to run around, firing at stuff with magic until all lies still. To do that, expect to be snapping your wrist back and forth like you're practicing for the national Wank-a-thon, because you'll be cracking that remote around at a rapid pace. In truth, there is some pleasure to be had in the fast-paced action, though it's a shame that the only real attempt at difficulty comes by way of the, "just throw as much at the player as possible" variety. Often, victory comes down to base attrition more than skill, especially when projectiles are being thrown at such a rapid pace that Finn literally cannot fire back without taking at least some damage, or enemies repeatedly knock him to the ground and hit him again as soon as he's stood up. Outside of these inelegant spikes of annoyance, the game remains fairly easy. Things get a little more interesting in the latter half of the game, once players have unlocked elemental spells to augment their standard issue bolts. Finn is drip-fed a range of spells corresponding to earth, ice, wind, fire, and lightning, with each elemental bolt behaving in a different manner. Even better, spells can be combined in a variety of ways to create deadly hybrid attacks. For instance, Finn can use the fire spell to draw a wall of flame in front of him, then shoot regular bolts through it to create fireballs, or he can summon a whirlwind and charge it with a lightning shot to create an electrical storm.  The tactical potential of spell combinations really opens up the combat, showing off a great deal of potential that could turn a mundane shooter into a compelling one. Sadly, that potential ends just a few yards from the starting gate, with only a handful of spell combos available and even less worth using. I also despise the method of spell selection, which is done by holding a button and waving the remote in one of five swirly directions, so similar to each other in motion that the game often selects the wrong one. It's almost depressing, how predictable these problems with motion controls are, and how unaware of them developers seem to be. It would be an easy fix -- have an actual selection wheel, a'la Ratchet & Clank, or something similar. You could even still keep the precious gestures that way. Instead, everything has to be done with swirly motions, because user-friendliness once again takes a back seat to gesture showboating.  One thing to really enjoy with Sorcery is the upgrade system. Finn doesn't level up in a traditional manner, but instead uses potions that enhance his abilities in a variety of ways. Potions are brewed by purchasing or finding ingredients and combining three of them, provided you have a potion bottle in your inventory. These potions increase health, mana, and the effectiveness of various spells, with a few joke upgrades thrown in for good measure (being able to turn into a pie ingredient, for example). Once the correct ingredients are discovered, players create the potion themselves by grinding, sprinkling, and stirring with the remote. They can then shake the Move and make a swigging motion in order to ingest. It's simple and silly, but I actually rather enjoyed the downtime between combat that the potion mixing provides. I just wish the same drinking motion wasn't required for health potions. There's nothing quite like having to wave one's arm around, utterly defenseless, in the middle of a fight.  Sorcery is not without its fun. At times, the frantic fighting can get a little exhilarating, and one can't help but love summoning a whirlwind, setting it on fire, and shooting the defenseless monsters trapped within the blazing storm. I also love how, for once, the colorful ball on the end of the PS Move actually corresponds to the gameplay. For instance, if you shake a health potion, the ball will glow a soft pink and gradually darken to a deep red, simulating the potion itself as it mixes and becomes consumable. Different potions and activities will cause the Move to glow in various colors, which may only be a minor aesthetic detail, but remains genuinely amusing.  Still, for all its promise, Sorcery is nowhere near good enough to justify the wait for a killer PlayStation Move title. In many ways, it still has that "tech demo" feel to it, a game of potential without much in the way of substance. Over the five or six hours it may take to beat, the game never evolves to any remarkable degree, and never becomes about the player as a masterful, powerful spellcaster. There are ideas, hints of brilliance, but no crescendo at the end of all that build. Perhaps if it had managed to launch alongside the Move in 2010, Sorcery might have looked better, but we're so far past the need for demonstrations of technology, and the Move needs games that capitalize on its potential, rather than simply showcase what could be. It's time motion control moved beyond the gimmick stage, if it can, but Sorcery seems content to still wallow in the mindset that gesture control exists simply to promote gesture control.  For those desperate to use their Move controllers in something exclusively centered around the Move, Sorcery provides a few hours of inanity that can be gratifying, if in a slightly underwhelming way. Still, the game's chaotic camera and unwieldy controls can frustrate, not to mention the alarming tendency for the PS Move to need consistent recalibration. Had more been done with its most promising features, and had it dropped the arrogant insistence on using gestures for almost everything, Sorcery could have been the hybrid of old and new game design that Sony promised. Instead, we're left with a game that, for all its possibilities, simply lacks the imagination to step beyond the same old experiences we've had before, along with the same old problems.
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Sorcery was announced before the PlayStation Move had even graced a store shelf, and it quickly became the most promising motion title out of Sony's small stable of software. Unfortunately, the spell-slinging adventure never ...

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PSN adds pre-purchase feature for Sorcery


May 18
// Jim Sterling
Are you excited about Sorcery? Can't wait to wave your arm around, over and over again? Do you have the money for it, and just can't wait to spend that son of a bitch? Well Sony has you covered, enabling Sorcery as the first ...
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Surreal adventure game Datura comes to PS3 on May 8


Apr 27
// Jordan Devore
You remember hearing about Datura, right? It's that PlayStation 3 adventure game with a floating hand, an assortment of seemingly unconnected, bizarre sequences, and the pig. If you couldn't tell, I am struggling to describe...
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Here's a story trailer for Sorcery


Apr 17
// Jim Sterling
Well how about that? Some actual footage of Sorcery to serve as a lovely Tuesday treat. This new trailer details the story, complete as it is with "hilarious" child-safe humor and a talking animal with attitude. No, there's ...
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Cram these Sorcery screens up your magic arse


Apr 12
// Jim Sterling
Sony's conjured up nine new screenshots for its upcoming PS Move game, Sorcery. I said "conjured" because it's a game about magic, and that was a funny joke. It's like a pun, or a play on words. Being good at words is what yo...
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Amazon Gold Box: 320GB PlayStation 3 and more


Mar 27
// Jordan Devore
Amazon's Gold Box revolves around videogames today, including a daily deal on a 320GB PlayStation 3 for $259.99. I imagine many of you own the system by this point, so there are Lightning Deals as well. Here are the hints pro...
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PlayStation Move bundle with two games now on sale


Mar 19
// Jordan Devore
The PlayStation Move bundle with a PS Eye, motion controller, Sports Champions, and Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest normally goes for $99, but it's been temporarily reduced to $79. I never did get around to trying out the la...

Preview: Trying to make sense of Datura

Mar 15 // Jordan Devore
Datura (PlayStation Network)Developer: Plastic StudiosPublisher: SonyRelease: 2012 The centerpiece of the playable build shown off at the 2012 Game Developers Conference was a gloomy, leaf-filled forest. After a quick interactive scene in which you are strapped into the back of an ambulance and attempt to get your bearings, you are sent to this wooded area for reasons not yet made clear. It's very possible that Datura will never fully explain itself, because it very much seems to be one of those open-to-interpretation games. I have nothing against them, but if you do, consider this your first and only warning. The world is presented to you from a first-person perspective, hence my desire to lump this in with adventure games. Datura can be played with a standard gamepad, but its main emphasis is placed on the PlayStation Move. It allows you to more accurately control a floating on-screen hand to interact with objects in the environment, like a notebook fastened to a tree with a pen. In some ways, using the Move was almost too precise, and in the process of getting used to the control scheme, there were some unintentionally hilarious moments in which my rogue hand went haywire. While this game doesn't beat you over the head with what to do or where to go, there are small prompts to show you how to pull off specific Move actions needed for the given situation. I appreciated that. It's hard to say what the puzzles in Datura will be like in the full game. The ones presented to me were based more on interaction with something abstract rather than "solving" anything per se, but then again, this was presumably the very beginning and it's entirely possible they'll get increasingly complex. The stand-out moment involved waking up an out-of-reach pig. There was a pile of potatoes nearby, so I started chucking them in the creature's general direction until one finally connected. This prompted the pig to start walking around the forest, eventually making its way to a tunnel guarded by overgrown roots. I already knew something wasn't quite right with this animal, but when it cleared the path by nonchalantly walking through these roots, that pretty much confirmed my suspicions. Naturally, I crawled along the now-accessible path and then found myself driving a car. So, I did what any reasonable person would do and attempted to avoid rubbing up against the guard rails until the aforementioned pig appeared in the middle of the road. Believe me when I say I tried my best to hit it, but somehow, I missed. And that was the end of the demo. I was told that hitting the pig would've flipped my car over. Needless to say, I'm really bummed out now. Confused by all of this? Join the club. I was able to watch other people play Datura and they encountered different objects in the forest that I had totally overlooked, raising even more questions. I'm eager to play more and hopefully get answers. If you're not completely averse to artsy games, you should be too.
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Datura is one of those games that compels you to share your in-game experience with friends as if you're telling a grand story about some meaningful feat you accomplished. For me personally, it tends to be exploration-centric...

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Sorcery finally coming to PS3 on May 22


Mar 07
// Jim Sterling
The long-awaited Sorcery finally has a release date. Announced before the PlayStation Move was in stores, this waggle-fueled magic fest has been my sole reason for keeping Sony's glow-in-the-dark dildo around. At long last, S...

Preview: Swinging away with PS Move in MLB 12 The Show

Mar 05 // Samit Sarkar
[embed]223169:42933[/embed] MLB 12 The Show (PlayStation 3 [previewed], PlayStation Vita) Developer: SCE San Diego Studio Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release: March 6, 2012 MSRP: $59.99 (PS3) / $39.99 (PS Vita) Cramm acknowledged that there’s definitely a learning curve for MLB 12’s Move controls, and I can attest to that. Even after he showed me the basics, and after I watched the in-game tutorial videos (starring cover athlete Adrian Gonzalez), it took me a while to get my bearings. But once I had about two innings of hitting, pitching, and fielding under my belt, I felt like I was in the zone -- the fact that I was using Move had almost become an afterthought. Sony San Diego has designed MLB 12’s Move pitching controls to resemble the actual pitching motion. Once you have selected a pitch and moved the wand to aim it, you hold the trigger while pulling the controller backward to set the pitch’s potential power (the further back you go, the closer to 100% power you get). Then you whip the Move wand forward; the speed with which you do so controls the actual power of the pitch, while the point where you release the trigger determines your release point (and thus, accuracy). It feels natural, and although it’s less complicated than the analog-stick controls that Sony SD introduced last year, it has the same effect of making you feel as if you’re skillfully executing your pitches. Move hitting is much more precise than it was last year, and it offers a much greater link between you and your on-screen avatar. MLB 11 only rendered a bat floating in the batter’s box; now you can see the hitter holding his Louisville Slugger. If you actually get up in front of your TV and assume a batting stance before the pitch, which is optional, the wand will vibrate to let you know that it “sees” you. Once it does, the in-game hitter moves the bat exactly as you move the wand. It’s an impressive implementation, forming a unique player-avatar connection that makes you go “whoa” the first time you see it. MLB 12’s Move support is smart enough to distinguish between a contact swing and a power swing based on your own motion. If you quickly swing forward, as if you’re slapping at the ball, the game registers that as a contact swing. But if you move your hands back first, like you’re loading up to drive the ball, it will recognize that as a power swing. In either case, the speed at which you flick the wand forward determines the strength of the swing, so it’s still possible to hit a homer with a contact swing. Move even supports the franchise’s Guess Pitch function -- you hold the trigger and point at a zone. Fielding with Move requires less user input in one sense, but puts more responsibility on you in another. Once a hitter makes contact, the AI takes care of putting your defenders in position to field the ball; Cramm told me that moving fielders with the wand was simply too awkward. But that’s all the CPU will handle. MLB 12 does something that, to my knowledge, no other baseball game has done (except in the case of robbing home runs): it puts the onus on you to make the catch. A circle beneath a fielder changes from red to yellow to green to indicate timing; you pull the trigger to catch the ball when it’s green, and hitting it too early or too late will likely result in an error. Now that fielders don’t automatically scoop balls up, Cramm noted, MLB 12 Move players might actually be surprised by a hot shot to the pitcher or third baseman. “If you don’t hit the trigger fast enough, the ball’s going to hit you in the face,” he said, and I definitely let a few line drives accidentally smash into my fielders. If you do make the catch, you flick right, up, left, or down while releasing the trigger to throw to first, second, third, or home, respectively. Running the bases with Move also brings in an aspect of real-life baseball. You control your baserunners with gestures similar to those used by a third-base coach. Waving the wand in a circular motion advances a runner, while swiping left and right tells him to return to a base. If you hold up the wand horizontally, the baserunner will stop at the next base, and if you hold the trigger while doing so, he’ll stop in his tracks. This aspect of MLB 12’s Move controls took the most time to get down, but I think that was mostly because I had difficulty keeping track of the different gestures. I’m about as hardcore as they come as far as sports games go, and I assumed that MLB 12 wouldn’t be playable with PlayStation Move. But once I gave the motion controls a chance, I found that in addition to being satisfied with the experience, I was enjoying myself. Move might just surprise you, too.
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Sony San Diego experimented with motion controls in MLB 11 The Show last year, implementing basic PlayStation Move support in a fringe game mode, Home Run Derby. The inclusion of Move controls in a casual party game and ...

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Prime your Ecstasy Shot, Gal Gun demo on February 14


Feb 06
// Jason Cabral
What better way to spend Valentine's Day than with the person you care about, playing a wacky PS3 Move game about shooting young girls into the throes of wild passion. Gal Gun will be hitting the Japanese PSN on February 14 ...
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House of the Dead 3 and 4 coming to PSN in HD


Jan 05
// Conrad Zimmerman
SEGA's first-person arcade horror shooter series, House of the Dead, is getting more of the HD treatment as the publisher has announced today that the third and fourth installments in the series will be coming to PlayStation...
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Sony: Sorcery shows why Move is better than Wii, Kinect


Dec 16
// Jim Sterling
Arguing over which motion controller is better? What year are we in again? Sony has said that its upcoming magic 'em up Sorcery will prove that the PlayStation Move is superior to both the Wii and Kinect, claiming that it's m...

Preview: PixelJunk 4am

Dec 15 // Samit Sarkar
PixelJunk 4am (PlayStation Move) Developer: Q-Games Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release: Spring 2012 PixelJunk 4am is Q-Games’ second collaboration with the Japanese artist Baiyon, who also did the art and music for PixelJunk Eden. The relaxing electronic music in that game, which rose and fell with your actions, suited that experience perfectly. 4am ups the ante somewhat, although the atmosphere is still more “lounge” than “rave.” [Update: Per Q-Games, Baiyon himself calls it “deep.”] While Baiyon’s tracks determine the mood, the PlayStation Move gives you an incredible degree of control over the specific sounds coming into your ears. The foundation consists of four different lines: kick, bass, rhythm, and synth. They’re controlled by the X, square, circle, and triangle buttons, respectively, and the ball on the Move wand changes color to match the track. These “long-play elements” are complemented by four one-off gestures: flicking the Move controller up, down, left, or right plays a particular sound. The result is nothing short of astounding. Holding the Move wand in your hand and waving it around to transform the groove, you feel like a digital shaman taming the spirits of song with a plastic whip. The PlayStation Eye camera and the Move controller combine to give you a three-dimensional performance space. To lay down the base tracks, you hold down the trigger and reach out until you feel the controller vibrate and bring it back into the center before releasing the trigger, unleashing the musical line. You also have effects modulation at your disposal: hold the Move button and move the wand to play with an element, perhaps distorting the sound with a phaser. 4am furthers the DJ experience by letting you mute a particular track -- cut out the bass for a bit -- by double-tapping the face button for that track, or mute everything but a particular track -- just the drums right here -- by holding its face button. The software offers three different visualizers, each with its own ambience and set of sounds. You can switch between them, and because doing so doesn’t stop the music, you can cull your favorite elements from each setting and blend them as you desire. Music is meant to be enjoyed by an audience, and 4am lets you broadcast your DJing live over the PlayStation Network through the app. Q-Games will be putting out a free “viewer,” so you don’t need to buy the software in order to be able to enjoy performances. Just turn on your PS3 and tune in to your favorite DJ to get the party started.
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The music/rhythm genre is full of experiences that a reductive person might call “performance simulators.” In essence, games like Rock Band lay out a track of notes to hit -- whether with your voice or a controlle...

Preview: Sorcery

Dec 14 // Samit Sarkar
Sorcery (PlayStation Move) Developer: The Workshop Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release: Spring 2012 Sorcery’s senior designer and creative director, Brian Upton, opened my demo by pointing out the principal difference between this and other motion-controlled games. “A lot of motion games basically boil down to Simon Says,” he told me, explaining that such games typically throw up gesture prompts at certain points and ask you to merely repeat those gestures in order to win. Sorcery is certainly a gesture-based experience as well, but it’s one that puts the onus on you to forge your way ahead with the tools at hand. The protagonist is a young sorcerer’s apprentice who’s just starting out in the world of wizardry. His master’s cat dares him to venture into Lochbarrow, the land of the undead, and -- being a carefree young farm boy -- he does. In this case, their curiosity only results in the apprentice accidentally unleashing the power of nightmare upon the world. So the two of them set off through the Faerie Realm to right this cosmic wrong, and perhaps do some growing up along the way. The cat serves as a feline Navi of sorts: she doesn’t participate in gameplay -- Upton assured me that “there are no escort missions” -- but provides hints and gives out bits of story. She has a deep knowledge of, and involvement in, the world; the bond between boy and cat intensifies over the course of the game. Upton showed me a world partway through the game called Endless Stair, and noted that for the purposes of the demo, the developers had armed the apprentice with abilities he wouldn’t actually have access to at that point in the full game. Endless Stair is a bright, colorful outdoor area, with an aesthetic that instantly reminded me of the PlayStation-era Spyro games (Upton could see where I was coming from, but told me that the team didn’t specifically take inspiration from that series). The apprentice came upon an open area with numerous bogies, the world’s basic grunt enemies, waiting to take him down. As a mage-like character, it behooves you to engage in mid-range combat, firing away with your projectiles and area-of-effect spells; enemies are much more dangerous at close range, and melee isn’t your strong suit. Upton made quick work of the bogies, showing off a variety of elemental attacks.Arcane Bolt is your standard projectile attack; you can fire straight ahead, or twist the Move wand in your hand for an arcing shot. It becomes much more powerful when combined with other elements. Upton laid down a trail of fire -- which you are impervious to -- and then shot bolts through the flames to set enemies alight. He then switched to wind and whipped up a “Firenado” after throwing down some more fire. I can think of few things more terrifying than a flaming vortex careening toward me, and indeed, it proved supremely effective against bogies hiding behind rocks. You also have ice powers at your disposal, which allow you to encase enemies in blocks of ice (for shattering with Arcane Bolt) or slow them down with a gradual area-of-effect frost. Switching between elements requires quick gestures with the wand while the Move button is held down. (Upton told me that in light of focus testing feedback, The Workshop will implement button controls for spell switching.) However, he asserted that “once you learn [the gesture system], it’s really, really fast, and lets you do these powerful combos.” The team also noticed during focus testing that players who were familiar with motion games immediately began to waggle furiously, firing off many bolts in quick succession. Sorcery goes out of its way to teach players not to do that; while the game doesn’t get too difficult, Upton warned, “If you just spam bolts, you will die.” After defeating his foes, Upton picked up a sigil fragment that one of the bogies had dropped. He then brought it to a group of broken rocks and used a mending spell to patch up the stone. Stepping on it opened up a portal to a new area, with a chest and a large urn from which water dripped. The gold that Upton looted from the chest can be used to purchase potion ingredients from an alchemist, and the alchemy system allows you to brew dozens of different potions that bestow upgrades upon you when consumed. Your other main ability is telekinesis; Upton used it to rip off the urn’s lid, flooding the area below. The control method, with a Move wand in your right hand and a Navigation Controller (or DualShock 3) in your left, feels good. Yet Sorcery offers limited camera control and no lock-on targeting; when I expressed trepidations about that to Upton, he dismissed my concerns. The pinpoint control that PlayStation Move offers, he said, obviates the need for the control scheme seen in typical third-person action games. Sorcery manages the camera for you, and Move is accurate enough to ask players to simply aim where they want their attacks to go. In my experience, it didn’t quite work as Upton described. Then again, I did inadvertently rotate the Move controller “backward” in my hand (with my thumb, rather than my index finger, near the trigger), which throws off the Move’s targeting. It was much smoother sailing once I fixed the wand’s orientation. Either way, the development team is still tweaking the targeting, and I hope it’ll be as good as it needs to be by the time the game launches next spring.
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I imagine our Reviews Editor, Jim Sterling, isn’t alone in yearning for PlayStation Move-exclusive titles beyond the scope of minigame collections and tech demos. Sony announced one such game, Sorcery, back at E3 2010, ...

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PS Move ships 9 million, only 1 million in half a year


Nov 25
// Jim Sterling
Sony's boasted that the PlayStation Move shipped six million units since launch, although once again it declined to give any actual sales figures. Considering only a million units were shipped in the past six months, however,...

Review: Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest

Nov 18 // Jim Sterling
Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest (PlayStation 3)Developer: San Diego Studios, Zindagi GamesPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: November 15, 2011MSRP: $39.99 Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest tells the tale of a young prince named Edmund, whose castle is invaded by the skeleton wizard Morgrimm. He turns the castle's inhabitants, including Edmund, into skeletons, but while the civilian populace become evil thralls, Edmund's mind is shielded by a magical deus ex amulet. Sadly, the amulet has been shattered into four pieces, so the newly styled "Deadmund" must put it back together and stop Morgrimm's generically villainous machinations. With its promise of increasingly powerful items and multiple paths, not to mention its third-person perspective, one could be forgiven for thinking that the PlayStation Move might have finally gotten a decent action-adventure title. Unfortunately, the cosmetics and promises give way to what is fundamentally an on-rails time-waster that attempts a few unique things but is never bold enough to stand out from the pack. Gameplay is mostly split between three actions -- slashing with a sword, firing arrows, and tossing throwing stars. Deadmund's movement is handled by the game, while players wave the controller around in various manners to perform actions. Melee combat is a simple case of swinging the controller around, which the PlayStation Eye will track with 1:1 precision. You can slash in any direction, from whatever angle you wish, then Deadmund will replicate the attack fairly accurately. Pressing the "Move" button will bring up Deadmund's shield, which is manipulated with similar precision to block the angled shots of opponents. Thus it is that combat becomes a fairly fast-paced balance between blocking, which is also crucial in defending against enemy projectiles, and counter-attacking. To fire an arrow, players must simulate taking a bow from a quiver by reaching behind themselves with the Move button pressed. Reaching behind and then aiming forward will make Deadmund draw his bow, which again features totally accurate aiming. Actually shooting the arrows aren't quite so accurate, however, because the on-screen target reticule essentially lies to its users. You can have an enemy directly in the crosshairs, but the arrow will regularly bounce off random environmental debris or miss altogether. I've found that aiming anywhere around an opponent has a greater chance of hitting him than actually trying to aim at him. For mid-range enemies, the throwing stars are an invaluable weapon. Pressing the trigger and flicking the controller will toss a star in the desired direction, and it soon becomes apparent that one can continually toss endless stars without much thought in order to overwhelm incoming attackers. This is a boon when faced with multiple melee opponents, as they'll stagger and fall back when hit with a star.  The action is broken up by a few extra motion-based activities, such as tossing dynamite by holding the controller upwards to light it then making a throwing motion. There is also a hookshot-like device which is activated by pointing downward, pressing a button, and then releasing while pointing at the grapple target. Players will need to turn locks to open doors, rotate or pull levers, and also activate special amulet powers by holding the controller to the their chest and pressing two buttons. To replenish health, Deadmund needs to drink milk by having the player press a button and make a swig motion. Finally, a number of quick time events, featuring Deadmund's avoiding traps by prompted swings of the controller, have been tossed in for good measure. For the most part, the game works well, although there are some distinct moments of lag that will often see Deadmund's taking cheap damage. Drawing the bow will occasionally have it stick in a transitional animation, with the player unable to aim for a second or two. This can also happen to the shield, which is particularly frustrating, as well as the quick time events, which get horrendously unresponsive whenever a sideways swipe is required. By far the most aggravating part of the control scheme, however, is how confused it can get. This is a problem in any game that tries to make a single control method handle multiple actions, and it's especially grievous in Medieval Moves. Often, the game can't work out whether you want to draw the bow or toss a throwing star, especially in the heat of combat when the player is pressured into acting quickly. Activating amulet powers is nearly impossible to do on purpose, as the game barely ever understands the chest motion. Trying to do most things in the game will usually result in Deadmund's attempting to light a stick of dynamite, because it seems nobody thought that having over five items mapped to two buttons might have been more than the software could handle. It reminds me of how confused The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass would get with its all-touch controls. Another issue is the fact that the game demands incredibly dramatic movements at all times. Even if the game knows when you have swung the sword, it will actively complain that you're not swinging hard enough. To drink milk, players have to pretend to drink like they're in a Betty Boop cartoon, leaning all the way back and simulating a ridiculous motion in order for the game to recognize it. When it comes to firing an arrow, Deadmund's Quest won't be satisfied until you've reached back far enough to punch yourself between the shoulder blades. Such movements are usually at odds with the combat's quick pace, where players will need to focus on moving swiftly rather than melodramatically. It can also give you tennis elbow if you're not careful enough with those swings. The game is rarely challenging, ever relying on cheap tactics to provide a threat. Such tactics include surrounding Deadmund with multiple enemies while he can only ever effectively block one of them, or having several projectile-based enemies time their shots so that Deadmund can never aim at one without taking damage from the other. Even during these moments, health pickups are plentiful, and players will only ever feel tested by truly overwhelming odds, namely those rare difficulty spikes where the game throws all kinds of crap from multiple directions in an falsified attempt to be challenging. There is a lot to complain about with Deadmund's Quest, but when it works, it really does work quite well. The 1:1 precision leads to some pretty satisfying battles at times, and the flow between melee and ranged combat can be impressively fluid when the input doesn't confuse the software. There are genuinely enthralling boss battles that use Deadmund's skills in innovative ways and blend traditional boss combat with motion activity. When the game wants to be, it can be quite gratifying. Medieval Moves impressively storms through its myriad flaws to become more fun than infuriating. It is certainly not incredible, but it does provide some simple, shallow enjoyment that makes solid use of the Move controller and tells a cute little story. It requires a little luck for all the potentially broken elements to work at once, but when they do, it's a decent little adventure. The game also wins points for having a terrific atmosphere. Despite not being MediEvil, it still captures that same goth-cartoon look and constantly delivers endearingly silly characters to interact with. While Deadmund himself is whiny and annoying, the eccentric skeletons he fights are amusing and affable in their bony, evil ways. The biggest problem with Medieval Moves, however, is that it demonstrates a complete lack of bravery on the part of the developers. The gimmicky pre-subtitle name really indicates exactly what this title is at heart -- just another tech demo. While it bears many similarities to fuller, deeper adventure games, Medieval Moves is a typical on-rails slasher/shooter that sees players' tediously moving from one combat zone to the next across levels that get pretty repetitive after a while. There are only so many times you can trudge along a corridor, slash at some skeletons, then fire arrows at some other skeletons before you notice how formulaic and weary it all is.  At its heart, the ideas in Medieval Moves aren't developed much further than what was shown in San Diego Studios' debut Move effort, Sports Champions. While the archery and sword combat have been dressed up in the threads of a more engrossing title, the basic gameplay has barely evolved. It's a game that cowers in its safe zone as much as possible, treading on familiar ground but attempting to use its visuals and premise to look more distinguished than it actually is. Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest could have been an incredible new IP for the PlayStation Move, a peripheral that sorely needs something exciting to call its own. Sadly, while remaining quite fun, the end product is a severely problematic and ultimately shallow exercise that covers familiar territory. While it would make a fairly worthwhile holiday game for the kids, the true potential of the game is tragically unrealized, and those looking for that elusively meaty PS Move title will come away disappointed. Still, if you abandon any preconception, Deadmund's Quest will give you at least a couple hours of entertainment before outstaying its welcome.
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Let's get this out of the way immediately. Despite being a Sony-published PS3 exclusive, despite starring a skeleton with a sword, and despite the game's name, Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest has absolutely zero relation to ...

Review: Carnival Island

Nov 18 // Jim Sterling
Carnival Island (PlayStation Move)Developer: Magic Pixel GamesPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: November 15, 2011MSRP: $39.99 Carnival Island has a name that really does say it all. One look at the cover, with its illustrations of vapid funfair chicanery, lets you know exactly what you're getting. Following on from titles like Carnival Games, which have permeated the Wii's library since 2007, Carnival Island aims to do nothing different while providing its range of familiar festival-based motion exercises.  The contrived "story mode" will see players exploring the tiniest carnival in the world as they play games and bring life back to an empty fair. Broken into four distinct realms, the titular island provides various stalls that contain a series of themed games. Each game has a set of nine challenges. If you successfully complete one challenge, you'll bring an animal to life, which will act as a mascot and cheer for you during games. If you complete two challenges, you'll unlock the next stage of the minigame you're currently playing.  For example, coin toss is a simple game in which you flip coins onto markers and score points. Completing a challenge, such as scoring a certain amount of points, will unlock a cartoon zoo creature which will sit on the screen and make gibberish noises while you play. If you complete a secondary challenge, such as getting one coin each on every score marker, you'll unlock the next coin-themed game, Nom Nom, which puts an extra spin on the coin toss format by introducing a mechanical yeti that will spit out extra coins when you hit flashing markers. This is the structure the entire game follows. Each stall contains multiple variants of its specific game, with varying degrees of difficulty, and every map location has up to two stalls each. There's some decent variety in the games, with some variations that border on clever (piloting frogs onto lily pads is a particularly interesting idea), but nevertheless many of the games feel incredibly similar to each other in terms of input. There are only so many ways you can throw balls, hoops and coins, so the entire game starts to feel rather mundane and old pretty quickly, save for the occasionally interesting game variant.   Extras include spending tickets earned in games to unlock costume pieces for one's avatar, but since the island is actually little more than a series of animated menus, there's barely any point. The player's character is barely seen and is never directly controlled, so outfitting him or her seems rather pointless. There are also balloons to buy and a "hall of mirrors" in which players distort images of themselves as seen by the PlayStation Eye, but again the entertainment value here is shallow at best, and hardly unique to this experience.   Despite boasting over 35 games, Carnival Island can be beaten in about two hours, with players more than able to see everything the game has to offer within that time. As well as the main story mode, up to four players can compete in the various attractions using multiple or single Move controllers. Still, the games are not engaging or unique enough to really encourage spending too much time on the island. As a launch title, Carnival Island might have been an interesting demonstration of how precise the PlayStation Move is. It's certainly an excellent showcase for the technology and how accurate its mimickry of player movement is. The catch is that we know what the PlayStation Move can do, and we know how accurate it is by now. With its bunch of mindless minigames and saccharine carnival aesthetic, Carnival Island is nothing we haven't seen before. It's quick to show everything it has, and it shows very little of value; there's simply not much point in a game like this anymore.  Those players who don't have any minigame compilations but need something to shut their kids up might find worth in Carnival Island, as it's at least good at being a shallow selection of hackneyed diversions. Anybody who has played any other motion-based carnival adventure, however, will find nothing remarkable at play with this one -- not unless they really want to see animated raccoons screaming incomprehensible drivel at them.
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A year removed from the PlayStation Move's launch, one should expect that tech demos and minigame compilations would be out of the door to make way for the kind of genuinely rich experiences that were promised.  Carnival Island is a compilation of minigames that demonstrate the technology of the PlayStation Move.  Oh well. Same time next year?

PlayStation Move, why aren't you moving?

Nov 16 // Jim Sterling
With the PlayStation Move's being out for over a year, the grace period where Sony could get away with shallow waggle-based minigames and glorified tech demos ought to have expired. However, this week I was sent a tote bag of PS Move review copies by Sony, and looking inside I found ... waggle-based minigames and glorified tech demos. Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest is one such game. It's an on-rails shooter/slasher that could have been legitimately brilliant had the developers not played it so damn safe. While its sword combat is decent and the bow-and-arrow controls surprisingly good, these ideas are barely developed from the launch title Sports Champions. What could have been a third-person action-adventure, one along the lines of, say, The Legend of Zelda, is just another on-rails demonstration of ideas in an industry that's become swollen with such things. The lack of bravery exhibited in the game is so obvious that it punches you in the face.  Carnival Island was also in the bag, and I think the game's name says it all. It's yet another collection of vague funfair minigames, the kind that have been on the Wii since at least 2007. You can throw balls! You can steer things! You can throw other kinds of balls! How innovative, how amazing, how exactly like so many other fucking games we've seen on rival systems! Rounding out the package was EyePet & Friends, a sequel to a PlayStation Eye game that was interminably vapid, and LittleBigPlanet 2: Special Edition, a re-release of a game that arrived earlier this year and includes a bunch of Move-focused DLC. That is Sony's big holiday lineup this year -- another tech demo, a collection of carnival minigames, a sequel to a game nobody loved, and a repackaged special edition. Forgive me if I'm being hard to please, but it's hardly a handjob from Debra Messing. Over the course of the year, the PlayStation Move's primary use was as an optional control method in games not designed with it predominantly in mind. Killzone 3, Resistance 3, and inFAMOUS 2 all had options for the Move, but they tended to change the way each game was played. In the case of first-person shooters, the garish new targeting reticule made aiming ridiculously easy and had a detrimental effect on the multiplayer, especially for those who didn't find the Move comfortable in an FPS and instead found themselves slaughtered by those who were having their hands held by a giant yellow circle that glowed bright red on the tiniest of targets. Without these optional control schemes, however, players would have had ZERO use for the Navigation Controller, the analog-stick secondary peripheral that Sony had the nerve to sell separately for $39.99 and then did nothing with. The Navigation Controller could have made for some genuinely exciting "real" games that used motion as an enhancement, but I'm willing to bet that its status as a separately purchased add-on is what has stopped games like Deadmund's Quest from being anything other than an on-rails affair. I doubt developers want to further shrink their potential audience by requiring another controller that gamers aren't guaranteed to have. Unfortunately, this becomes a vicious circle. No games want to use the Navigation Controller because so few gamers own one, but so few gamers own one because no games want to use the Navigation Controller. As with so many PlayStation-flavored problems, it's Sony's job to lead the way and work hard on producing enthralling games that exploit this forgotten peripheral. However, as with so many PlayStation-flavored problems, Sony won't fucking bother.  The only PlayStation Move game that's ever looked worth a shit is Sorcery, and unsurprisingly, it's a game that we've seen bugger-all from since the Move first launched. In December, Sony is due to finally unveil a hands-on version of the game, and I am expecting good things. Even if it is good, however, it's a year too late and it's just one game. Right now, the Move is putting out games that exist only to make Move owners feel like they weren't ripped off in 2010, and that's not a good position for any consumer product to be in. A year removed from launch, the Move should be producing awesome new experiences, not desperately struggling to still validate its existence. More importantly, a product more technologically advanced than the Wii, on a superior console, should not be pathetically retreading Nintendo's footsteps and regurgitating the kind of experiences that we've already been playing for years. The PlayStation Move could be a leader, but it's straggling as a follower. Sure, its controls may be a little more precise than those on the Wii, but that means jack shit when you're just reproducing the same kind of content. We don't need that. We don't need tech demos anymore, and we don't need proofs-of-concept. If you've been unable to prove your concept in over a year, then what the fuck were you doing for the past twelve months? The time when cute little demonstrations of ideas were acceptable has long since passed. It's high time that the Move got the kind of experiences that it is capable of. Otherwise, all you have is a shitty little Wii knock-off that's destined to be forgotten. Apparently, Sony's okay with that.
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The PlayStation Move came to North America on September 17, 2010. In that time, I think I've used the peripheral maybe six times. This is said as a person whose job it is to own and use one of these things. When the controlle...

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Long-awaited Move title Sorcery revealed in December


Nov 15
// Jim Sterling
It seems fitting that the one PlayStation Move game I've truly cared about is the one PlayStation Move game that disappeared off the face of the Earth. Sorcery is the kind of title that you'd think the Move would have been al...
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inFamous 2 PlayStation Move support is now available


Nov 02
// Dale North
Sony HQ sends word that PS Move support is now available for inFamous 2. A totally free update lets you add Move support to both the main storyline as well as the user-generated content offerings.  In the video abo...
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Capcom is perhaps the king of reissues, with so many ports and remasters in its library that it could have stopped making brand new games five years ago. That questionable legacy is set to continue with the Resident Evil Chro...

Review: The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut

Oct 25 // Jim Sterling
The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut (PlayStation 3)Developer: Headstrong GamesPublisher: SEGAReleased: October 25, 2011MSRP: $39.99 For those who did not play the Wii original, The House of the Dead: Overkill takes the arcade on-rails shooting of the House of the Dead series and transplants it into an over-the-top grindhouse setting, as Agent G and Isaac Washington team up to chase down the nefarious Papa Caesar. Along the way, they'll meet audacious sex object Varla Guns and shoot their way through an army of violent undead mutants and utterly horrific bosses.  Much of the game is unchanged from the 2009 version. You'll defend yourself from incoming mutants using either the PlayStation Move or SIXAXIS controller while the camera does all the movement for you. Bonuses such as concept art, 3D models or music can be unlocked by shooting special items in the environment while health packs, bullet-time power-ups and grenades can also be fired at and collected throughout every stage.  New to Extended Cut are two levels focused around Varla Guns and stripper friend Candy -- Naked Terror and Creeping Flesh. Set in a strip club and slaughterhouse respectively, these stages feature fresh banter between the two extra characters, a selection of new mutants and a pair of previously unseen bosses. These new levels are decent and the bosses are some of the most disgusting ever seen in the series, although they're not quite as challenging as what the established stages offer. Also, the new cutscenes between Varla and Candy are rather offensive with the "dumb bimbo stripper" stereotype portraying Candy as borderline autistic. Her child-like personality is juxtaposed with so many upskirt camera angles that the whole thing comes across as disturbing -- and not in a fun way.  Extended Cut supports 3D (both stereoscopic and anaglyphic) and the game has even retooled itself a little to justify the experience. Stages and boss fights feature new elements that throw the combat right into the player's face, but while these moments might be cool for those wearing 3D glasses, they waste the time of anybody else. They're rather forced and come across as little better than when a 3D movie constantly tosses garbage at the camera in slow motion. It's tacky and excluding, not to mention rather annoying with excessive repetition to the point where even those wearing 3D glasses might get tired of it. Naturally, the game's visuals have been upgraded in the transition from Wii to PS3 so that everything gets an HD lick of paint. That said, it's definitely still a very basic looking game, with awkward animations and simple textures remaining in place. While the HD boost is very welcome, the visual changes aren't amazing to the point of revelation and don't quite do enough to justify a purchase from those who have experienced it on the Wii.  Even with the two new scenarios, Overkill is still a rather short game, able to be beaten in a handful of hours. There's a "Director's Cut" version that unlocks upon completion, extra guns to purchase with in-game cash and several bonus levels to keep things spicy but this is a game designed around replay and will only truly reward those who intend to keep beating the same stages in a bid to top their high scores. That poses a large issue, however -- while Overkill is a lot of fun, Extended Cut has taught me that it's not a game worth playing more than once.  Playing The House of the Dead: Overkill a second time round, I found it significantly less entertaining than it was on the Wii. Much of this is due to the shock value fading away as the endless stream of swearing and sex jokes fails to maintain the element of surprise. Initially hilarious, the vulgarity comes across as rather desperate on a second playthrough. The relative ease and simplicity of the game compared to others in the House of the Dead series if far more evident, too. That does not mean the game will fail to amuse new players. What it does mean, however, is this isn't a game I feel fans of the original need to play. The visual boost is nice but not overly significant, the extra levels are nothing to write home about and the new 3D elements are annoying more than complimentary. Those who played Overkill in 2009 won't miss anything of great value by skipping over this new iteration.  However, those who are yet to experience a game so foul it broke a world record for most F-bombs in a game will likely carve out a portion of entertainment from the experience. At the very least, it gives PlayStation Move owners a damn solid game to enjoy and one might imagine that Move owners are desperate for anything at this point. That said, the fact that even SIXAXIS controllers are supported means that any PS3 owner can enjoy it.  For those fresh to Overkill's saucy blend of violence and crude humor, The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut is a fun little game that will soak up a few hours and provide some laughs along the way. Those who have been to the rodeo before, however, don't need to get on the horse again. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the Wii version is better for not shoving the 3D gimmickry down anybody's throat and providing a more streamlined experience without the addition of that infuriating Candy character. Whatever version you play, you only need one, because this is a game that just isn't as much fun the second time around.
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The House of the Dead: Overkill is one of my favorite Wii games. Not because it's of the quality of its gameplay or its narrative depth, but because it's one of the most gloriously stupid productions ever committed to disc. F...


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