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Sports games are funny photo
Sports games are funny

NBA 2K: Jerk Kobe, teammates smacking each other, and the best dance moves

I could go for some jerked kobe
Oct 12
// Steven Hansen
NBA 2K16's been out for a while now and since both baseball season and football season are already over and there's nothing to watch, here is a collection of things people have shared from NBA 2K16 that have amused me over the past two weeks. Here's a cheeky, old man Kobe stealing a high five.
Name game photo
Name game

NBA 2K16's main character is named Frequency Vibrations

Doing the right thing
Jun 05
// Steven Hansen
Robert Summa just covered the news that Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing) is directing the campaign mode in the upcoming NBA 2K16. As some commenters pointed out, though, his story lacked a key fact that, really, deserves its ow...
NBA 2K photo

Latest NBA 2K16 news is everything that is wrong with the NBA 2K series

And nothing will ever change
Jun 04
// Robert Summa
The 2K sports franchises used to have a stellar reputation. NFL 2K and NBA 2K long-served as safe havens from the inconsistency and frustration that EA's counterparts offered. While NFL 2K was put aside due to licensing deals...
More weaboo games! photo
More weaboo games!

New SaGa and Deception games are in development

Also, a lot from Spike Chunsoft
Dec 11
// Steven Hansen
It has been over ten years since Unlimited Saga. There have been re-releases in the interim. And a Gree social game, Emporers SaGa, a couple years ago in Japan. From the same source that brought us confirmation of Gravity Rus...

Jack Tretton photo
Jack Tretton

Former PlayStation boss Jack Tretton will break down all E3 pressers

Special correspondent, indeed
May 29
// Brett Makedonski
Jack Tretton might not be presenting on one of E3's largest stages anymore, but that doesn't mean he can stay away from the show. The former President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America will be lending an analy...
Nintendo photo

Nintendo confirms Cranky Kong for DKC: Tropical Freeze

Go bananas!
Dec 07
// Kyle MacGregor
Meaty Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aime made an appearance tonight on Spike TV's VGX awards show to confirm Cranky Kong will be the fourth playable character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The elder statesman...

Joel McHale to co-host VGX with Geoff Keighley

Snark in the waters
Dec 06
// Conrad Zimmerman
Spike has announced the hosting lineup for Saturday's VGX awards show, in which Geoff Keighley will be joined by The Soup and Community star Joel McHale.  As if it hasn't been difficult enough to take this awar...
Bethesda photo

Bethesda will not show anything new at VGX

No, Fallout 4 will not be revealed anytime soon
Dec 05
// Alessandro Fillari
Looks like we got our first disappointment of the week. With the VGX awards only two days away, the anticipation for what new titles are going to be revealed is reaching fever pitch. Unfortunately, we just got a confirmation ...
VGX photo

These are the nominees for Spike's VGX awards

Troy Baker is the new Nolan North
Nov 18
// Jordan Devore
I wasn't so sure about the Spike VGAs being rebranded as VGX, but then I came to my senses and realized such things really don't matter. Some of you will argue that the show's awards don't matter, either. At any rate, this st...
Spike VGAs photo
Spike VGAs

Spike VGAs renamed 'VGX', happening December 7

Ooooh, mysterious!
Nov 15
// Brett Makedonski
The annual Spike Video Game Awards are set to take place this year, but they're undergoing a bit of a facelift. Instead of the moniker "VGAs" that we've known the awards show as for years, it's being rebranded as "VGX" this t...

Expect PS4 reveals on November 14

Nov 04
// Dale North
A Spike TV event scheduled just before the PS4 launch date of November 15 will bring us some PS4 announcements. Geoff Keighley tweeted that we should expect world premieres and announcements from their live show from New York, set for November 11 at 11 p.m. One of Keighley's Twitter followers asked if this meant new PS4 games. He replied, "Definitely." What could Sony have up their sleeves?
Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Attack on Titan 3DS game gets cool teaser, screens

Decidedly un-titanic trailer
Sep 22
// Steven Hansen
The anime that's sweeping people I know (most of them through the internet) by storm is also getting a 3DS game courtesy of Spike Chunsoft. Given its wild popularity, a game based on the anime wherein teens fight Titans was ...
Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Attack on Titan anime gets a proper 3DS game

Wir sind die Jšger!
Aug 07
// Josh Tolentino
If you're into watching anime, you may know that Attack on Titan is the new hotness this season. The story of a bunch of angry kids chopping up funny-faced giants while using weird Spider-Man grappling hooks has captured...
999 on iOS photo
999 on iOS

999 on iOS lacks any actual gameplay

Inferior version confirmed
May 29
// Tony Ponce
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors was without question my favorite game of 2010. The sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, was pretty great as well, but the original was simply without equal. I recommend it to anyone I can, h...
Please Have My Babies photo
Please Have My Babies

Conception: Please Have My Baby sequel has waifus aplenty

So kawaii!
Apr 28
// Kyle MacGregor
Despite Spike Chunsoft showing some interest in bringing Conception 2 to western shores, it seems doubtful this Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita game will ever manage to escape from Japan. A bizarre dungeon crawler...
Please Have My Babies photo
Proactive portables
Remember Conception? Yeah, that PSP dungeon crawler where the protagonist must save the world by having magical children with a dozen celestial maidens. Well, it's getting a sequel and publisher Spike Chunsoft seems keen on b...


Amazon: Buy a PS Vita and get Zero Escape for free

Who doesn't like free games?
Dec 10
// Dale North
A bundle over at amazon has you getting a free copy of visual novel/puzzler Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward with the purchase of a PlayStation Vita. You'll have to buy one of the bundles listed here to get the game for free...

VGAs: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 trailer

Back with a vengeance
Dec 10
// Jordan Devore
Whoa. Castlevania in modern times? What did I miss? I really need to get Lords of Shadow out of my backlog in preparation for the sequel. This brief trailer for the game was broadcast during the 2012 Spike VGAs, showing a ve...

Watch Podtoid's live Spike VGA commentary if you want!

Mountain Dew fuels your gaming fun!
Dec 09
// Jim Sterling
On Friday night, the cool kids were watching their Spike VGAs with live commentary from the Podtoid gang -- Jim Sterling (me!), Conrad Zimmerman, (mustache!), and Jonathan Holmes (posterior!).  It's not quite as cool to...

Here are all the Spike VGA winners

Because it was easy to miss them during the show
Dec 07
// Conrad Zimmerman
Did you find there to be a noticeable lack of "A" in the broadcast of the 2012 Spike VGAs tonight? By my count, we had somewhere in the neighborhood of half a dozen actual awards given out during the two-hour presentation. A ...

Zero Escape writer talks early third game details

Don't click on the source links lest SPOILERS
Dec 02
// Tony Ponce
["K and Rabbit Zero" by Fuju] [Update: Seriously guys? Complaining that news of the hero from the first game returning for the third game is a spoiler? I don't think you know what a spoiler is.] If you've played through Zero ...

Aksys selling VLR watches for Hurricane Sandy relief

All proceeds go directly to Red Cross
Nov 14
// Tony Ponce
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is great. The sweet pre-order watch modeled after the in-game bracelet is also pretty great. If you missed the chance to score the watch for free, you now have the option to buy it directly f...

Review: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

Nov 10 // Tony Ponce
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (3DS [reviewed], PlayStation Vita)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: Aksys GamesRelease: October 23, 2012MSRP: $39.99 The most important question is, can you play VLR without having played 999? Yes, although you'll only be spoiling one of the greatest videogame tales ever told -- VLR recaps all the major plot details of the first game. Plus, certain developments will only resonate if you had personally experienced the previous game's events. Do yourself a favor and play 999 if you haven't already. You'll thank me later. Anyway, the general setup here is identical to that of its predecessor. Nine abductees have been locked inside a strange installation and forced to play the "Nonary Game." At first it appears they have nothing in common, but each has been specifically chosen for an unknown purpose. It's up to them to find a way out, determine the identity of their masked captor known only as "Zero," and uncover Zero's true goal. Each participant has been fitted with a bracelet that displays a point value and a color. Teams of three -- consisting of a pair of a one color and a solo of another -- must enter "Chromatic Doors" by forming the appropriate additive color combinations. For example, red and blue bracelets are needed to enter the magenta door, blue and green for the cyan door, and so on. Each team must then solve the puzzles behind those doors before they can progress further. [embed]238140:45709[/embed] In each puzzle room is a set of key cards needed to play the Ambidex Game, a mini-game under the umbrella of the Nonary Game. In the Ambidex Game, or AB Game, the pair and solo team members enter separate booths and must vote to either "ally" or "betray" their teammates. It's an application of the prisoner's dilemma, in which points are added to or subtracted from the current bracelet value based on the parties' willingness to cooperate or serve their own interests. This is the true challenge of the Nonary Game. Only by accumulating 9 BP (Bracelet Points) can a participant open the Number 9 door that leads to freedom, but the door can only be opened once and then never again. On the other end, if a participant's BP drops to 0, needles within the bracelet will administer a lethal injection. Salvation is only assured if everyone trusts one another, but the nature of their ordeal makes trust a rare commodity. VLR is first and foremost a visual novel, which means the bulk of "play" time will be spent scrolling through dialog for many hours at a time with only a few instances of direct input. However, these few moments of interaction open up a wealth of narrative possibilities, coloring you perception of characters and events depending on the decisions you make. Ultimately, every player will reach the same conclusion, but their journeys will be vastly different. Apart from the Novel sections are the Escape sequences -- the aforementioned puzzle rooms. Here you'll have complete control of the action as you navigate the space and solve various puzzles in a fashion quite similar to escape-the-room Flash games. You can use either the analog stick and buttons or the touch interface to move about, but I find that touch controls are more fluid and precise, especially when you have to examine objects that occupy a tiny area on the screen. Point-and-click adventure fans should be in familiar waters, acquiring and combining items in order to open locked drawers and reveal secret panels. Each room also houses a handful of more complex puzzles, which require you to slide blocks within a certain number of moves or target regions of a dart board in a specific order. Solutions often can't be derived through intuition alone, prompting you to search for clues in the immediate vicinity. These puzzles can be quite maddening; you might even find yourself stuck for an hour without any flash of insight. If you are willing to swallow your pride, you can reduce the room's difficulty level at any time, prompting your team members to chime in with more frequent hints. The Escape sections are enjoyable and rewarding, but the main draw of the game is the incredible story and the colorful characters sharing your plight. You of course are in the role of Sigma, a college student who was snatched away just outside of campus early Christmas morning. Joining Sigma are Tenmyouji, a crotchety old grump wearing a sweet bolo tie; Quark, a 10-year-old with a hat that looks like it's fitted with stereo speakers; Dio, an impatient man with a circus ringleader's attire; Luna, a soft-spoken gal who just wants everyone to get along; Clover, a familiar face from the previous Nonary Game; Alice, a woman so comfortable in her manner of dress that the only article covering her enormous bosom is an oversized necklace; and K, the token amnesiac whose appearance is concealed by full-body armor. Most mysterious of all is Phi, the first person Sigma is paired with. Her general demeanor is a curiosity -- she can be stern and aloof one minute only to let a spark of emotion through the next. She is extremely intelligent and assertive, typically taking charge of group planning, but every so often she cracks a deadpan joke or non sequitur, which only adds to her endearing social awkwardness. Then there's her spooky habit of reciting information that she couldn't possibly be privy to, only to brush off Sigma's inquiries as to how she can be so knowledgeable. Each character has a secret to tell, a clue towards solving Zero's mystery, so it's up to Sigma to gain their trust and obtain those clues. Unfortunately, the constantly shifting balance of trust makes it impossible to form a close bond with more than one or two people at a time. But Sigma has an ace up his sleeve, a technique that he didn't know he possessed until the Nonary Game began -- the ability to send his consciousness through time. Somehow, Sigma can venture back and forth through the time stream and pass data gleaned in one timeline to the next. In a sense, VLR doesn't actually have branching paths and 24 different endings; every possibility is a quantum state that exists simultaneously with one another. There may be a "true" ending, but every outcome is true in its own way. Exploring new story paths has been streamlined since 999. In the original, you were kicked back to the beginning every time you reached one of the endings. Though you could fast-forward through previously read dialog, the process was fairly time-consuming, and you were still forced to replay certain Escape sequences. In VLR, you can access a flow chart at a moment's notice and instantly jump to any major Novel or Escape section you've previously cleared. By returning to a moment just before a Chromatic Door pairing or AB Game voting, you can make a different choice then navigate the new path. And should there be any repeated dialog in this alternate branch, you can fast-forward just as you would in 999. By frequently shifting into different timelines, you are customizing an otherwise linear narrative. Depending on which branch you take in the beginning, you'll be more suspicious of one character than would a player who picked an alternate path. You'll gather clues in wildly different orders, making discoveries that paint actions in a new light compared to how you would have seen them otherwise. In juggling so many plot threads and outcomes, you get lost in a mental web, unable to immediately remember what events led you to that particular moment. You become the traveler lost in time, seeing everything and nothing all at once, overwhelmed by your own power. When you aren't cheating Father Time, you are engrossed in a drama of turmoil, betrayal, friendship, and heartbreak. You get to know these characters inside and out, and you feel responsible for hurting them. Voting "ally" or "betray" becomes a very difficult decision, because even though you can change the outcome at the drop of a hat, you realize that there will always exist a dimension in which you sold out your friends for your own selfish gain. Part of that bond is due to the stellar voice acting. Even though you can choose to play with Japanese dialog, I found myself far more attached to the English cast. Everyone has their moment to shine, to deliver a powerful performance that mere text couldn't hope to convey. The only character whose acting I felt was weak was Quark, but that's because I feel a strange disconnect whenever adults voice children in animation and games. The character who benefits the most from the voice acting is Zero III, the rabbit-looking AI construct who serves as the Nonary Game's moderator. Manic yet playful with a heavy undercurrent of sadism, he behaves as though everyone ought to be having fun and even assigns pet nicknames to each of the participants. The levity in his speech is in stark contrast with the reality of the game, making him all the more frightening. I honestly believe Zero III is a strong contender for videogame antagonist of the year. Kudos to Aksys as well for the translation as well as the minor additions that add a healthy dose of good-natured humor. There are a few corny bits sprinkled throughout the script -- I could probably do without Sigma's painful cat puns -- but many provide hearty laughs. One particular Tenacious D reference caught me off guard, but it might be my favorite line in the game. All that said, there are a couple of dark clouds that dot an otherwise clear sky. Even though the in-game assets imply that development led on the 3DS, the whole package appears to be optimized for the Vita. I've previously discussed a nasty save-corrupting bug that only plagues the 3DS build and which carried over from the original Japanese release. On top of that, there are instances of text being cut off the bottom of the screen and scenes where the 3D effect completely breaks, neither of which the Vita version has to worry about. Vita brings it all home with three separate save file slots versus a measly one on the 3DS. VLR on Vita sounds like the way to go. Even so, I've heard second-hand reports of the Vita version locking up the system when you go to shut down. I can't confirm this myself, but it doesn't sound as serious as what the 3DS has. But aside from the save glitch, which can be easily avoided by not saving during any Escape sequence, the 3DS problems are more cosmetic than anything else. It does make the overall package feel a tinge sloppy, however. The other major area where the game falters is in its resolution. The ending to 999 is simply perfect, with one of the most mind-blowing twists in any videogame ever. The twist made use of the design of the DS hardware to great effect, so I was hoping a similar hook would be employed in the sequel. Since VLR is multi-platform, it obviously can't rely on hardware-specific tricks to such a degree. Disappointing but perfectly understandable. The true disappointment comes from how overwrought the closing chapter actually is. I guess the only way Uchikoshi thought he could top the last game's big revelation was to hit players with several bombs all at once. Suspension of disbelief is to be expected in a series like this, but VLR expects just a little too much. I guarantee that at least one of the multiple revelations will legitimately shock you, but the rest are so out in left field that you'll be more dazed than surprised. The ending makes it quite clear that there will be another sequel, so hopefully the conflicting emotions I feel now will be properly addressed by the time Zero Escape 3 rolls around. I spent over 30 hours with Sigma and company, and I'll be damned if a bizarre final act will spoil an otherwise fine adventure. Through our shared struggles, I connected with these characters. By skating the time stream, I charted my own narrative. I want to share my experience with other players and have them share their own stories in turn. To be able to compare how our individual tales unfolded is a gift that few other story-driven games can provide. Virtue's Last Reward is a worthy follow-up in the Zero Escape series. You need to play it. Just, you know, play 999 first.
Virtue's Last Reward photo
Welcome to my kingdom
I cannot express enough how much I love 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. A cross between escape-the-room puzzler and visual novel, it sits as a shining example of how powerful and engaging videogame narratives can b...


ALERT: Save-corrupting bug in Virtue's Last Reward on 3DS

Vita players should be just fine
Nov 04
// Tony Ponce
I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that, after more than 30 hours of play time, I've finally finished Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. Expect the review later in the week. The bad news is that there is a game...

From a bag of Doritos to a bag of dirty laundry

Oct 29 // Jim Sterling
From hashtags to harshtags Florence's criticism of Wainwright stemmed from her defense of a suspicious contest being held at the GMAs, where media folks were encouraged to Tweet a marketing department's hashtag for a chance to win a PS3. Lauren's insistence that there was nothing wrong with such a practice rang alarm bells in Rab's ears. "Now, a few tweets earlier, she also tweeted this: ‘Lara header, two TR pix in the gallery and a very subtle TR background. #obsessed @tombraider'," he wrote. "And instantly I am suspicious. I am suspicious of this journalist’s apparent love for Tomb Raider. I am asking myself whether she’s in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. I’m sure she isn’t, but the doubt is there. After all, she sees nothing wrong with journalists promoting a game to win a PS3, right?" Wainwright took umbrage with Florence's words, and her response was to accuse him of libel. Her employer, MCV, backed her 100%, and after a day of back-and-forth between Rab's supporters and hers, Eurogamer eventually capitulated to the implied threat of legal action and amended the offending article. That is when everything went truly south.  The Internet will CUT you Various communities, most notably NeoGAF, began talking in earnest about the situation, with many of them reposting and immortalizing Rab's redacted words. Rab, meanwhile, stepped down as a writer for Eurogamer, feeling his position was untenable at an outlet that would censor him (that said, he did not bear his former employers any ill will). In no time at all, Lauren was revealed to have listed Square Enix as an employer, at the same time as she was reviewing and covering Square Enix games. She claimed she had not reviewed any of the publisher's games while working for it as a consultant, but an image of her Deus Ex: Human Revolution review for The Sun was quickly shared online. Meanwhile, she locked her Twitter account to escape a torrent of abuse, and also set about deleting references to her Square Enix connections. This all added fuel to the fire, as a public found such behavior all the more suspect.  Lauren and MCV deny any sort of legal threats being made, but even that has been called into question, with Lauren having been found to have Tweeted that her media law qualifications were finally paying off. Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell said that Lauren had made it quite clear to them that lawyers would be involved if nothing was done. Such a threat cannot be taken lightly in the UK, where libel suits are costly, risky, and can prove destructive to the losing party.  Neither Lauren nor MCV have made further comment on the matter, and are more or less attempting business as usual.  Media uncoverage The story gained traction at many outlets, with articles from Penny Arcade, Forbes, and myself via GameFront pouring in. At this time, the hardcore gamer community demanded other outlets cover the ongoing controversy, with some publications such as Kotaku brushing it off as not important. This was seen as a position of cowardice by the likes of GAF, who felt the story shone too bright a light on the dodgy dealings of the gaming press at large. Meanwhile, Stephen Totilo's argument that good games journalism was what mattered only seemed to amuse the accusatory GAF, who wasted no time in juxtaposing the statement against Kotaku's Halo 4 unboxing video.  It didn't end there. As the GAF thread goes on, everything is scrutinized from free review copies to press kits to writers and game marketers being far too friendly to provide a useful service to readers. All of it's worthy of scrutiny, all of it's worth thinking about. It is tempting to cover each subject individually, and that may indeed happen here if enough people would like a series on the subject.  Are there any writers who deserve to be called game journalists? Does calling yourself a blogger really give you the right to be lax on journalistic ethics? Should reviewers buy all their own review copies? The story throws up a plethora of questions, so many that no single article could cover them all. Most importantly, people have been asking, "Why is nobody covering this?" In a few ways, Totilo isn't incorrect. Many gamers do just want to hear about the games, and they don't really care for journalism or controversy. Maybe a site that talks about Japanese food isn't the right environment in which to say it, but it's not untrue. Then again, the size of the GAF thread alone proves there's a huge audience for these kinds of stories, so there is definitely something to gain from writing about it.  As for having something to lose from doing so ... maybe. There's no doubt that this is an uncomfortable story, and I don't think there are many writers at all who could claim to not be on friendly terms with at least somebody on the other side of the fence. Trust between a writer and a reader is crucial, and perhaps it is true that this story makes every writer just that little bit less trustworthy. I will quite happily admit that I have repartee with several members of the industry-side of things, and it's up to the readers whether or not that makes me unworthy of trust. It's not for me to say. It's not for any games media to claim it's trustworthy. That's a decision for the readers.  The ongoing discussion Many writers have decided to shrug this whole thing off as nothing but, a week later, it's still being talked about and, as Ben Kuchera says, it doesn't look like it's going away. Everybody covering games professionally is currently being viewed under a microscope, but not by publishers looking to see who they should favor -- it's by the people who ultimately matter. The readers are the ones taking a long and dirty look.  That's a good thing. Ultimately, it's the readers we are meant to serve. It's not our job to look after a developer's Metacritic bonus, or ensure that Ubisoft is happy with the way we phrase a particular thing. As a guy who got himself blacklisted at Konami in the name of entertaining and informing gamers, and who writes for a site that gained its popularity back when no publisher gave a damn about us, I can confidently say that it all begins and ends with the audience. We can live without the blessing of a game manufacturer, but we're dead without you. I'm glad the audience is judging our worth to them and I'm glad we're all getting a chance to reflect on what's going on.  I invite you to look at what Destructoid does. Read our reviews, check out the pictures of plastic tat that publishers send us, and by all means examine the games that our mascot, Mr. Destructoid, has appeared in. Take a good, long look at every site you enjoy. I can only speak for myself, but I welcome the scrutiny, and your decision as to whether or not we're worthy of your readership. If you decide we're too friendly with the games industry to do you a service, then it's a consequence I embrace. If you decide we are capable of giving you honest analysis of the game industry, then I can only be grateful for you allowing us to do that. In any case, it's given me and others a lot to think about, and those of us who did not simply close ranks on this issue will likely continue to think about what we've done and how we can improve. Maybe Destructoid is doing something wrong. Maybe I'm failing you as reviews editor somewhere. I like to think about this, because I believe we can always get better.  And if you don't care about any of this stuff, and just want to talk about videogames? That's fine too. Unless you're a professional writer, doing this for a living. I don't think we get to not care. None of us have earned that kind of privilege.
Game media controversy photo
How the games media got into a big crispy mess
Who knew that a picture of a man sat next to a bag of Doritos could snowball into anger, humiliation, and intrigue? The most startling thing about this industry is that the biggest of avalanches can erupt from the humblest of...


Surprise! The Virtue's Last Reward OVA is in English

I can get away with one more VLR post, can't I?
Oct 23
// Tony Ponce
Can anybody tell how excited I am about this game? Is it that obvious? Aksys has dubbed the 13-minute Virtue's Last Reward OVA that originally came out last year. Unlike the game which uses polygon models, this mini movie fe...

Virtue's Last Reward has me caught up in the game

By the way, the game is out RIGHT NOW
Oct 23
// Tony Ponce
No, I am not LeVar Burton, but I've been told by several people (read: no one) that I greatly resemble him. This is your notice that Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward is available right now on 3DS and PS Vita. I'm plugging my way through right now and can't think about much else. I've got Bracelet Points and sh*t on the brain.

Review: Dragon Ball Z for Kinect

Oct 20 // Ian Bonds
Dragon Ball Z for Kinect (Xbox 360)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: Namco BandaiRelease: October 9, 2012MSRP: $39.99 By now, I'm sure we realize that some games can work for Kinect and some just simply do not. Sadly, that second category is the more prevalent one, and yes, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect falls squarely into it. From the outset, it looks like a solid attempt was given to ensure that the Kinect motions would be simple to execute to give the game some simple play control. And while that does hold true initially, once you venture into the realm of the more complex motions (i.e. your special attacks), you'll find frustration once again rearing its ugly head. First off, if you're going to play this game (or any game on Kinect), you should prepare yourself to look like an idiot. Jumping in place has your character leap into the air for ranged attacks. When charging your Ki, you have to squat a bit, sort of like you're taking a hunching dump in your living room. Charging a Ki blast has you holding your hand almost to your shoulder while you build up a charge before thrusting your hand forward to throw it. Even simple moves have their faults, as punches look normal but kicking at your TV feels silly. [embed]236758:45491[/embed] Besides looking goofy while playing, you'll also get tired very quickly. This is due to the fact that, while the game may be built to be a Kinect title, some of the gameplay remains decidedly QTE-inspired. As you land a series of successive hits, a small meter builds. Fill it and you'll be treated to a cutscene series of attacks in which you occasionally punch rapidly to fill more meters. If an enemy attacks with a power move, you'll have a series of options that appear on screen, one of which you must choose quickly to avoid being struck. This is where the real problem is, as some of these motions are more than the Kinect can see and thus don't register well. In fact, the Kinect works about 60% of the time. When throwing simple punches or occasionally holding both arms in front of you to block, it responds surprisingly well. Even the occasional special attack is executed with surprising ease -- I've thrown a fair number of Kamehamehas in the comfort of my living room, with no environmental damage to my walls or apartment complex (just to the landscape in the game, of course). However, not all attacks are performed the same way, and various times you'll struggle to have the Kinect register your movements as you flap your arms around like some wounded man-bird. That's not to say that the game is difficult. Far from it, actually, as the enemy characters move so slowly and telegraph their actions so much you can avoid contact from practically every attack -- if the Kinect registers your lean out of the way, that is. Even so, you'll end up doing the same thing just about every match: land a flurry of punches to initiate the cutscene combo, punch more to sustain it, cutscene of your enemy's attack, QTE to avoid, lather, rinse, repeat. For what are supposedly the mightiest fighters in the universe, these guys are all pushovers. You'll find yourself fighting through the majority of the series' biggest battles, but don't look for a cohesive story here. Before each fight you're given a very small cutscene that pertains to what is about to occur but may not have any connection to the previous battle. I won that last fight, so why is Goku's shirt suddenly torn and why is he incapacitated? If you know the show, no issues here (and goodness knows we've seen the story in enough games as it is), but it does feel a little disjointed. Thankfully, the graphics do little to offend, as the crisp cel-shading does the title justice, if not seeming only slightly flat due to the first-person perspective. Since the story itself is so truncated, you'll find you're actually able to beat the game in about three to five hours. There is no multiplayer this time around, merely a Score Attack mode in which you attempt to best your story mode score for more achievements. There's also an exclusive animated episode included on the disc, but as far as meat, there's not much left on the bone. DBZ for Kinect is just what you'd expect: a half-realized game for a half-realized piece of hardware. While some of the motion work as intended, too often they do not, but at least there's no real repercussion or headache for that, as even if an enemy lands a hit, it does little to slow you. Unless you're the hardest of hardcore or a kid who wants to wear the included cardboard "Goku Hair" BK crown while you scream and squat in your living room, this game's not worth your time. But at least it's not on rails.
It seemed like a good idea at the time: Take the popular Dragon Ball Z fighting games and put them in first person perspective with Kinect controls, allowing players to punch, kick, and Kamehameha their way through the series' popular battles, allowing players to be immersed in the Dragon Ball world like never before. Wait... Kinect? No, I was wrong. That doesn't seem like a good idea at all.


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