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Dyson

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Madness spreads to Playstation Network, Military style


Nov 06
// Dyson
One of the not so well known retro secrets is that the TurboGrafix-16 was once home to some of the best console strategy games of its time.  Well, at least that's how I remember it. Regardless, it's no secret that Milita...

Preview: Rooms: The Main Building

Nov 06 // Dyson
Rooms: The Main Building (Nintendo DS, Wii)Developer: HUDSON SOFTPublisher: Hudson Entertainment, Inc.Release: TBA 2010 As I mentioned before, Rooms: The Main Building is a puzzle game. The premise is that the main character receives an invitation to a different world, and upon accepting the invitation, the player is transported to the world that Rooms is set in. As is the usual case when a strange invitation leads a person to another land, the trick is immediately finding a way home. So begins Rooms. The first thing you notice about Rooms is that its art style is pretty unique. While most puzzle games are currently focusing on cuteness and a cartoon-like appearance, Rooms takes a more realistic artsy style that could easily be a backdrop to a Victorian era mystery. It's within this stylized world that the player has to manage his way from room to room, moving ever forward to his eventual escape back home. Getting from the entrance to the exit of each room is the puzzle that you must solve. To do so, the player is presented with the current room broken down into movable squares, with each square having its own gimmicks and limitations. The mechanic of moving the squares is based on those tile based childrens' games that had the one tile missing. Instead of manipulating the tiles to form a picture, though, you move the squares around to create a pathway that leads to the room's exit. The only drawback being that you can only move the square that you're in, and can only move from square to square depending on the properties of the square itself and the ones next to it. For example, one of the levels I played was a room with five squares and one empty space. I began, of course, at the entrance to the room and proceeded to move the squares around. Although I was able to move my character around a bit, I kept running into certain obstacles. Some squares have walls on certain sides that won't let you pass through. Some squares have ladders you can use, but they're not leading to another useful square or a square with a wall blocking its path. Suddenly finding myself trapped with nowhere to go, I was clued in to the next layer of the game's puzzle solving mechanic.   While moving the squares around is certainly part of the solution, each square has certain attributes that need to be factored into your character's movements. Some rooms will have a telephone that will transport you to the receiving phone in another square. Some squares may have a dresser whose function is to switch the square you're standing in with another one. The attributes that these squares have aren't there just for the player to use when they need them, either. They are part of puzzles solution and need to be used and considered if the player wants to solve the room and move on. This adds an entire other level to the puzzle factor of the game, and it's definitely something that had me wanting to come back for more. The final feature that turned me on to the tile was not one I was able to try, but certainly one I know people will enjoy. While the Wii version will have 2-player head-to-head, the DS version will have a fully formed level creator that allows you to upload your levels via the Nintendo Wi-fi service. So not only will you get to create and share your levels, you'll be able to play other people's creations, too. All in all, Rooms: The Main Building is starting off on the right track. With its unique art style and its refreshing take on an old puzzle mechanic, Rooms is a title that may not grab your attention at first, but will certainly pull you in once you pick it up. Note: Pictures shown are of the title's art style, no gameplay art is available at this time.
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When we were figuring out who was going to cover what game at Hudson's Gamers' Day, one of the titles that we knew very little about (okay, nothing) was listed only as Rooms. Rooms, what's Rooms? Never being too sure about wh...

Hudson's bringing back the Bonk

Nov 06 // Dyson
[embed]154263:24546[/embed] Bonk: Brink of Extinction (XBLA, WiiWare, PSN)Developer: Pi StudiousPublisher: Hudson EntertainmentTo be released: Spring 2010 From the ground up, what was shown and playable of Bonk: Brink of Extinction had the right mix of game elements you would need to bring an old platforming franchise back for old and new fans alike. The 2D levels are in place, but now with 3D character models. There's a world map to traverse instead of having to play the whole game at once. There are online and co-op modes so you and friends can retro game together to your heart's content. And you get the same old Bonk as before, but now with many new abilities. Except, it doesn't really feel like the same old Bonk. The Bonk of old had a certain charm to him that doesn't come through in this version. What made Bonk so adorable back in the day was that he was a little guy who was being tough, not a tough guy who was little. In this version he's just a cute little guy. By no means is that a bad thing, it's just that there's no personality to the character other than the cuteness. As far as the levels go, you can see from the screen shots that the bright colorful nature of the series has remained in tact. Many old franchises that relaunch seem to forget that the bright colors and snappy graphics of yesteryear were an important part of the attraction (looking at you, Rocket Knight). The new Bonk certainly comes through in this department, but it falls a little flat in its level design. Although pretty to look at, the levels are wide open with little challenge in way of enemy placement and physical layout. It's as if the level design was initially geared towards the co-op play as opposed to a solid single player experience, and because of that there really wasn't much in the way of fun or challenge when played alone. Regardless of whether you're playing alone or with friends, you will notice that the controls also need some work. Bonk's signature moves, the headbutt and the spinning aerial headbutt, look like they're missing some frames of animation and feel very disconnected from player input. Overall, the whole controlling aspect of the game felt loose, especially with respect to Bonk's controls, and this will need to be addressed to appease any fans of the original series. Which at least brings me to some good news for those fans! I'm informed that Bonk: Brink of Extinction is still very much a work in progress, and what was shown is not indicative if the final product. This is very, very good news since it will give the developers and Hudson time to make Bonk's return a triumphant one. Too many companies who bring back old platformers make the mistake of thinking a platformer is just "walk to the right and jump." Considering how well the Bomberman franchise has been treated over the years, it would be a shame to see Bonk get this treatment. Especially since there are plenty of gamers out there that want to see him succeed.
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Most gamers can remember the so-called console wars of the 16-bit generation. At the time, each of the console competitors used every advantage they could to show how their system was the right system to own. Along with graph...

Dark Void producer: That nauseous feeling is intentional

Oct 14 // Dyson
DESTRUCTOID: Developing an IP from the ground up can be tough. How much of the original concept has made it to the finished product, and how much do you feel was left out?Morgan Grey, Senior Producer at Capcom for Dark Void: Man, nice small question there! So, a lot of the original concept has made it into the game, but not in its original form. The original concept, funny enough, didn't even have a jet pack. I think the concept of combining on-the-ground and in-air combat has made it through 1 to 1, and the mechanism that is the jet pack was a twist that came up along the way. Vertical combat was never in the original concept, and some of the plot points have made their way over. I would say that 70% of the core from the original design is all in the game, but the "window dressing" or "wallpaper" on that core has done a night-to-day change from its first inception to where it's at today.Since it's an original IP, were there a lot of obstacles to get over?The tough thing about an original IP is that there is no road map of what's come before to follow. There's no canon. You're sort of making canon as you're going, so it's really easy to go off the deep end and try and do too much. I think for us the difficulty was it's a new IP, it's a new universe. We're completely mixing gameplay styles that, although they've existed before, they haven't existed in the kind of gumbo that we're making in Dark Void. So not only was there no fictional road map, there wasn't even a gameplay road map for the "fight on the ground, take to the sky" kind of gameplay. We didn't even know how to build levels for a game like this, so there was a lot of initial stumbles and learning lessons, which is why the IP sort of changed form from our initial premise to where were at now. Because as we learned more, we had a clearer picture. The cool thing that Japan and Inafune dropped on us early that helped was, if you look at most Western games, your character is more of a blank slate like Gordon Freeman or Master Chief. They're cool characters, but they aren't even really a character, right, because you never get to hear them talk much, they're just there. If you look at Japanese games, there's a shit load of time spent on the character. It was finding that for a game like Dark Void. Having the player along for the ride with Will [main character], versus the player just being Will, was a big push and helped us make a stronger game, and what we ended up making is basically an "action romp." It's not really this dark and gritty tactical military shooter. I mean, it's got a jet pack, how fucking hardcore can it be? So you're saying that there was some influence from Japan, but the game looks designed to appeal to mostly Western audiences. Straight up. It's a Western game: for Westerners, developed by Westerners. We're dual-sticking it, which is not huge in Japan. It's cover based shooter combat, also not big in Japan. It's very much a Western focused action romp. And that's sort of unique for Japanese publishers, Capcom is one of those publishers that knows that not every game is a global game. It's not like America is ever going to go crazy over dating sims, right? Okay, so I have to ask this question. Two of our writers have played Dark Void before, and they both said, especially with the vertical combat, that they got a lot of motion sickness. So my question is,  were there any reports from the testers in QA getting vertigo and throwing up or anything like that?[Laughs] So all the testers seemed to be able to hang. I have found that when I'm playing the game and showing it off, and I'm not paying attention to the fact that I'm playing it on a giant 50 inch TV, it effects people. It was on the last day of CES, I think everyone was pretty ragged, when I thought I actually heard someone in the back make the "I'm about to puke" noise. I always say that if we don't make at least one person puke, we've failed. Because that's our goal -- we want the vertigo. That's where the crazy lies and it's rare that you walk by and see a game and go "What the hell is that?" And when you watch Dark Void, you go "What the hell?" Last question. Since it's Rocktober, just how fucking metal is Dark Void?So, we're rocking a steam-punk found item, a sort of Mad Max cobbled together survivor vibe, with Nikola Tesla, alien conspiracies, and jet packs where you fly in and punch someone. It's pretty fucking metal.Thanks for your time!
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As of a few days ago, the only things that people seemed to know for certain about Capcom's new IP, Dark Void, is that is has a guy with a jet pack, vertical platforming, and something to do with famous inventor Nikola Tesla....


Hands-on Dark Void: Imagine greater than Syfy

Oct 14 // Dyson
True to form, though, the game does start you right off in a jet pack level. You play as an unknown character from 1938 who seems to be test driving a jet pack for Nikola Tesla. You fly around a bit while the game teaches you a few controls, then you and your envoy are suddenly attacked by what appears to be alien-like ships. A battle ensues, but the end result is that the test pilot is killed by one of the alien-like monsters. From what it appears, the level is designed to basically reinforce the idea that there are bad guys, and a jet pack. Because as soon as the brief intro level ends, the game itself actually begins, and it's a fair amount of time until you get the jet pack again.This is actually a good thing, considering the narrative that begins is quite well done. The first cinematic of the movie introduces you to the pilot Will (the character you play as), who finds himself and his co-pilot loading up a plane and waiting for the cargo's courier to arrive. None too surprising, it happens to be Will's ex (or at least implied so), and the three of you fly off into the night. As the plane is flying along its merry way through the Bermuda Triangle, the controls go a little haywire. Again, none too surprising, things go horribly awry and the plane crashes. Will's poor co-pilot doesn't make it, but Will and Ava (the ex) do, and find themselves in a strange lush jungle. Confused as to what happened and where they are, the two of them set off on foot to get some answers. Lo and behold, they eventually run across a soldier who tells them to take cover as he scouts around, and then meets with an untimely demise at the hands of a steampunk, robotic-like alien thing. Will and Ava strip the poor bastard of his weapons, and head out. The both of them eventually traverse the jungle area and find a village where the locals are none too happy to see them... except for one. This one friendly villager takes them to see none other than Nikola Tesla, and he gives Wlil a boost backpack that helps him in his mission to find the parts to fix the plane.There are two thing to point out so far. One, it's clear that this storyline is pretty formulaic along the sci-fi tenets of storytelling. And, two, still no damn jet pack. Keep in mind, though, that those points shouldn't be taken as negatives. In fact, it's these two points that have given me an incredibly positive perspective to a game that was nowhere near close to my radar before. While the whole "getting thrown into a crazy situation with your attractive-yet-aloof ex while inexplicable science fiction themes pop up all around you" is nothing new for a sci-fi story (especially in video games), it is certainly a new thing when it's done well. Several hours into the game the narrative still holds up and is entertaining, while remaining compelling enough to keep the player interested. One of the reasons for this, I think, is that the creators seem to know exactly who their target audience is. There are so many references that sci-fi fans will immediately get (ranging from Star Wars to Back to the Future) that are packed into the game, that it feels like you're watching a Sci-Fi channel (or SyFy, which is dumb) movie. Better yet, the Dark Void story, so far, feels like a movie that Sci-Fi wished it had made. But where's the damn jet pack, right? Don't worry, you get your jet pack soon enough. But not soon enough for Dark Void to show you that the jet pack isn't some lame gimmick that gets abused throughout the title. Before Will even graduates to the jet pack, he has to fight and climb his way through the jungle. On ground combat is the of the shoot-and-cover variety. Anyone who has ever heard of Gears of War will know what that means. And even though Dark Void is not a crazy intense shooter like GoW, the controls are tight and the enemy AI is very well done. Add that to the good level design, and it makes it fun to play the shooter parts. Fair warning, don't expect this to be on insane frag-fest game.  The remaining gameplay aspect of the title is the vertical platforming. While not terribly different than actual platforming, the perspective change makes it feel pretty fresh. Not to sound like I'm pouring heaps of praise on Dark Void, but for a person who likes platformers I can say that the developers have also come through in the level design. In one area in particular, Will has to to collect an item that's hanging off of a ship. A ship that's hanging vertically down the side of the cliff. After the gaining the item, he then has to climb his way back up the ship as it's falling apart -- because he's being attacked by mad amounts of enemies. Still without a true jet pack! There are a few negatives, though. Occasionally when your platforming in the downward direction, you reach the next platform and it wont "catch." You'll suddenly find yourself standing upright while all the enemies are below you shooting you to death, and sometimes in fast combat you can be royally screwed or confused by the cover detection. Here and there there's also a little frame stuttering, but I'm pretty sure that can be addressed. Honestly, none of these issues takes away from the game, I just felt that they should be mentioned. That's pretty much it. Unless Dark Void completely jumps the shark with some sort of retarded plot twist or ridiculously out of place gameplay mode later in the game, I think that they have pretty solid win on their hands.  What surprised me most about the title and has me looking forward to it, is the way that Capcom has seemed to successfully combine the fun parts of three gaming genres together, and wrapped it with an awesome sci-fi shell.  Oh, if your wondering what the the third genre is, it's flying. I mentioned there was a jet pack, right? There is, and it's awesome. Jet packs are always awesome. 
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The other day, Capcom had an event to help spread the word about Dark Void. While you may have heard about the contest that was announced, the event didn't really lend itself to getting a good idea of what a person can expect...

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E3 09: Video coverage of Sony's motion controller demo


Jun 05
// Dyson
As reported earlier this week, Sony announced and demonstrated their motion controlling technology for the PS3. While the news, by Internet standards, is now eight billion years old, we still have the video coverage from Sony's conference for you to peruse.Yay!  
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E3 09: Bethesda and Splash Damage's Brink is the hotness


Jun 04
// Dyson
We clued you in the other day with information about Brink, the FPS heading to systems next year (PS3, 360, PC). What we learned when we saw the demo, though, is that looks freaking awesome.The whole game takes place on float...
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Although Joseph may not like the title of WET, his article did you give the basics of what the title is about. How does the title look and play, though, is what's important.The demo had three different levels to play through:...

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E3 09: Shatter for PSN will make Geometry Wars fans happy


Jun 04
// Dyson
It's not that the upcoming title from Sidhe production studio is just like Geometry Wars or its sequel, but it shares many of the same qualities that that make the aforementioned title so enjoyable. Such as, clean game design...
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E3 09: Woman's Murder Club debut trailer


Jun 03
// Dyson
So there's this game called Woman's Murder Club.  Aside from this title being based on a James Patterson something or other that I've never ever heard of, the trailer is now ready for watching. Why am I writing abou...
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E3 09: Tekken 6 will have single player Scenario Campaign


Jun 03
// Dyson
When Hamza and I went to the Konami event a ways back, I did a very brief preview of Tekken 6. The reason it was so brief is because at that time there was very little to report on. While that's not a knock on the title in an...
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E3 09: Sony shows off new motion controller, not SIXAXIS 2


Jun 02
// Dyson
When Sony showed off their SIXAXIS back in the day, it was pretty lame. Still is, actually. But, as Sony is announcing right now at their press conference, Sony has bigger plans for PS3 motion controllers.It may be hard to se...
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E3 09: Sony announces Resident Evil for PSP and PSP Go


Jun 02
// Dyson
Sony has been rolling out the announcements this morning, and most of them so far are all about portable stuff. Along with the new Metal Gear and Gran Turismo, Sony also announced that the Resident Evil franchise will be comi...
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E3 09: Shadow Complex footage from the Microsoft conference


Jun 02
// Dyson
A lot of amazing things were shown yesterday at the Microsoft conference, and adding to that long list of snazzy new things is footage for the Xbox Live title: Shadow Complex. Made by Epic Games, the footage of their title lo...

Preview: Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman!

May 08 // Dyson
Title: Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman: What Did I Do to Deserve This?Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. / ACQUIRE Corp.Publisher: NIS America, Inc.Release: July 2009So after arriving to the event I sat down to play the PlayStation Portable strategy game that is supposedly all the rage in Japan. Not knowing a dang thing about the game, all I could think was that it looked a lot like a bizzarro Dig Dug. I tried to begin with the training level to get the gist, but I apparently hit the only button on the PSP that cancels the tutorial and takes you directly to gameplay. Thank god that they gave a presentation... otherwise I would have been completely lost forever.Badman (I'm not writing out that whole title again) is a game in which you control the God of Destruction to help out the Overlord Badman. That makes absolutely no sense, I know, but let me break it down for you. In a turn on the usual hero-defeats-bad-guy cliche, you play as the affable Overlord who is just chilling in his underground dungeon. Those pesky hero types are always trying to get into your dungeon and steal you treasure, kill your monster friends, and capture the Overlord in the name of goodness. The God of Destruction takes the form of a controllable hammer that you use to destroy the bricks and blocks of the dungeon layout to create a more menacing dungeon to take out the heroes. Heroes, as you know, always go back to the inn or whatever to spend the money they stole from you to heal themselves. So building a better dungeon and releasing dangerous monsters is the key to protecting Overlord Badman.Like I said before, it originally looked like a bizzarro Dig Dug. In actuality, it's more like making your own The Legend of Zelda dungeon to try and screw Link over. The heroes will keep coming in, trying to capture you, and you'll have to strategically create the dungeon to keep that from happening. The strategy aspect of the game relies on how well you create the layout of the dungeon, and creating a viable food chain to keep the monsters alive. The playing fields are massive in every level, and the monsters are varied depending on their placement in the soil or general location.  It goes without saying that the title is weird, quirky, and thoroughly Japanese. The text of the game will appeal to Japanophiles immensely, since it has many, many homages to manga and anime. The PSP seems to be a haven for titles such as this one, so I can only assume that Badman will find a nice home to many a fan.  Also, the makers of the game have created to get you into the mood for some hero slaying. The contest details are below, and it begins on 4/10/09.  About Holy Hidden Codes, Badman Online Contest Test your searching and mystery solving skills by participating in the Hidden Code Contest. Grab the secret code below and enter it into our online system to get your first clue. Each clue will lead you to a new code which ultimately will lead you to the mystery page. What lies in this page will be slowly revealed through player exploration. Contest begins on 4/10/2009 Secret Code: BM579842LM Enter secret code at this webpage:  http://www.HolyBadman.com/  
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Actually, due to our post character limit I couldn't write the game's entire name up there in the title. The complete name of NIS America's upcoming PlayStation Portable title is: Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman: What did I ...

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Namco shows off Magnacarta 2 for the Xbox 360


Apr 29
// Dyson
While Namco Bandai was regaling the gaming press with their line up of titles yesterday, the announcer said, "What kind of Japanese gaming developer would we be if we didn't have an RPG in development?" As an avid f...

Preview: Munchables, kinda like Pac-Man meets Katamari

Apr 29 // Dyson
Title: Munchables (Wii)Developer: NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.Release: May 26th, 2009 In a nutshell, Munchables has you playing as a very hungry protagonist whose planet has been taken over by onion-based space pirates (yes, they're space pirate onions). To save your planet from these pirates, you choose either Chomper or Munchy as your main character and proceed to eat your way through multiple levels and fight against eight main bosses to save the planet. As the title of the post suggests, there are some heavy influences from both Pac-Man and the Katamari series at work here. The main character that you play looks quite a bit like Namco's yellow pellet muncher. Not only that, but his main motivation is eating things -- hence the name Munchables, I'm assuming. Where the Katamari part shows up is the way in which the levels are navigated and cleared. The Katamari influence isn't as direct, though. Since you don't roll anything up or get immensely huge to complete a level, you may not see it. But clearing a level or area requires that you level up your character by running around eating items and enemies until your level gets large enough that you can move on to the next area. So instead of getting a great big Katamari at the end, you get a nice big experience level that allows you to move on to the next part. Increasing your character's level is important; like a Katamari's size limitation, you can only defeat things that are at your level or lower. Since every boss that you come across will be at a higher level than you are, the mechanic to defeat them is to lock on with the Z button and slam into them by pressing B. Slamming the higher-level enemies breaks them into smaller, lower-level ones, and so on and so forth. Once they become small enough to have a lower level than you, it's eating time.That's pretty much the game as far mechanics go. As far as looks, it has a sort of cutesy artwork style that has some Japanese influence in it. That may be the reason Munchables passed under the radar for me before; I thought it was a little kids' game at first. After playing it, though, I would say it may make a nice diversion between all the mini-games on the Wii. It also has a decent enough complexity to entertain grown-up gamers without being overly difficult for the kids, while simultaneously showing a quirkiness that may appeal to certain gamers. For example, the broccoli boss is called Brocco Lee, as in Bruce Lee. As in a piece of broccoli, with a black belt, in a Kung Fu suit. I said it was quirky.
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So this game totally slipped past my radar when it was announced last year. At least, I was told that it was announced last year when I was asking about it. It's not terribly surprising that I didn't notice it, though. People...

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Preview: Food Network: Cooked or Be Cooked


Apr 29
// Dyson
In a perfect world, either Dale North or Johnathan Ross would have been on hand to preview this game. Not because I didn't think it was cool, but because all they ever talk about when we're all together is food. And the Food ...

Preview: Tekken 6 is ... well, Tekken

Apr 29 // Dyson
Tekken 6 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Namco BandaiPublisher: Namco BandaiTo be released: October 27, 2009Now, like the newest Ferrari or Lamborghini, the latest edition of Tekken will always be the slickest, fastest, and sleekest version of Tekken to date. But it's still the same Tekken that you played back in the day. Even though you'll have console specific content, forty playable characters, breakable environments, motion blur, deeper customization than the previous Tekkens, and even the new Rage Mode (attacks become stronger when your health drops below 10%!) - you're still playing the exact same Tekken as before. Not like that's a bad thing, though, right? While Tekken 6 may just be more Tekken, and even though Tekken 6 is the 'slickest, fastest, and sleekest version' of Tekken to date; fans of the series already read the only two things about it that they needed to know for a purchase.It's Tekken, and there's a number 6 attached to the end of it.
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I'm not really much of a Tekken player, but I've always seen the series as Namco's Lamborghini or Ferrari line of cars. With every iteration, nothing much really changes except for the style, and every time a new one comes ou...

Preview: Katamari Forever

Apr 29 // Dyson
Katamari Forever (PS3) Developer: NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. Release: Fall 2009[embed]130274:18991[/embed] So a long time ago, in a console generation previous to this one, I had personally grown tired of the all the mainstream types of games that were glutting the PS2 and its contemporaries. Not to say that there weren't titles out there that weren't fun and original for the three systems of the day -- it's just that there weren't enough of them. I was bored with gaming as a whole, and it stayed that way for quite some time.Later, and much to my surprise, the one console that seemed to be the most responsible for the slew of Legacy of Kain-3rd-person-whatever-rip-offs -- the PS2 -- had suddenly become the system of new and interesting titles. As you you know, titles like God of War took the system to new heights of popularity, but there was one game that I spent hours playing that helped to get me back into gaming. Yup, it was Katamari Damacy. The simplistic yet challenging gameplay, the bizarre characters and concept, and the intentionally quirky and over-the-top cuteness of the graphics all won me over as I pushed the Shrimpy Prince's Katamari through world after world in an effort to appease his psychotic father. Katamari Damacy was a game that I could, and still, play for hours on end. I was hooked on the game from the get-go, but as the series continued, I felt that it lost a lot of what made the first one so special. Don't get me wrong, I liked We <3 Katamari as much as the next bloke, but it didn't have the same pizazz its predecessor did (mostly just oddly placed loading screens). I never owned a PSP to play that system's version, and as excited as I was for the Xbox 360-exclusive Beautiful Katamari, it eventually let me down with its hollowed-out feeling. Which brings us now to the newest entry in the series, Katamari Forever. I'm not about to go all head-over-heels for the title just yet, but from what we were shown, and what we were told, there just may be hope for my beloved series. Katamari Forever returns to the roots of the originals -- not only as a new iteration in the series, but also a tribute to the things that fans loved before. Even though players will get new levels displayed in awesome 1080p, they will also get to play familiar levels from previous games with the updated Forever touch. Remember the ginger bread house? It's in there. Looking absolutely fantastic on the PS3, the world of Katamari comes to life in a way that just wasn't present in the Xbox 360 version. Everything on screen is just bursting with color all over, and the 1080p resolution makes a real difference in its presentation. I know that the original PS2 series were supposed to be low-budget fun, but seeing what the Katamari world looks like in HD done right is a treat and half. The insanity of the series seems to have returned in full effect with the latest story. The King of the Universe has apparently lost his memory, and his head, and it's the Shrimpy Prince's mission to rectify both issues. While that sounds like it may be on par with all the title's wackiness, it does go far in showing me that Namco is doing more to represent what made the original special, aside from the straightforward "roll shit up into a ball" mentality of Beautiful Katamari. Along with there being the new graphic filters to play the game in, we caught on to a few of the new play mechanics during the demo. Apparently, using the SIXAXIS controller allows you to jump. That's new! And the there's also a level that was called the "sprinkler level," where the Katamari is used to spread water all over the colorless level to bring back its greenery and fauna instead of just rolling things up into a ball. There was also mention of special items that are found in the levels that act like power-ups, giving the game a bit more strategy than before. So, it looks like I may be excited for another Katamari game again. While we didn't see everything there was to see, what we saw, I liked. As we get closer to the game's release date this Fall, we'll hopefully have more time to spend with the title. In the meantime, though, it looks as if the title is on the right track for fans of the series. But like I said, we'll see.If Namco does come through on this, and it looks like they may (fingers crossed), I might need to come over to your house and borrow your PS3. That's cool, right? Hello?
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I tried to put something in the title about the upcoming Katamari Forever being a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and that in in being an exclusive it is making me slooowly come around to considering getting a PS3. But our character...

Preview: The Strike. HOT BASS FISHING ACTION!

Apr 21 // Dyson
The Strike (Wii/Xbox360)Developer: Piranha Publisher: Griffin InternationalTo be released: Fall 2009Having actually worked on a Bass fishing game before, I knew how absolutely horrible they could be. Let me rephrase that: Knowing how horrible the game that I worked on was, I knew that seeing The Strike could go in any direction. I had heard that the title was being developed for the both the Wii and Xbox 360, and that they were to both include motion controls. Not only that, but the game is licensed by Bass Pro Shops, so I was pretty sure that my previous fishing nightmares would not return to haunt me.I can firmly state after playing the demo for both the Wii and the Xbox 360 version, that there will be no nightmares. In fact, we had a blast playing The Strike on both systems. Since the game has the official license from the the Bass Pro Shops, it has every bell and whistle that you could possibly ask for in a fishing game. So much so, that after seeing that it even has mini-games, I kind of felt it was like the Madden Football of fishing games in a weird way. The title even uses actual real-life lakes as the setting of the game, and in each one the developer has even used the actual topography of the lake, so people who are into competitive fishing will notice the recreation and hopefully appreciate it. Now I'll be honest, I'm not exactly the fishing outdoorsy type. Although, as a kid I was dragged around and subjected to the many nuances of the sport of fishing. While this did nothing for me a child, I guess I can say that it at least helped me while playing The Strike with its motion controllers. The Wii version already uses the Wii Remote technology and a pretty spiffy case was made to house the Wiimote while taking advantage of the Wii's inherent controls. The Xbox 360 version, though, had its own controller that was built from the ground up, and it was actually the more technical of the two. The Xbox 360 controller had the same capabilities of the Wii's motion controls, but it also had its very own force feed back mechanics that replicated the tension of reeling in a large fish and would spin the reel back and forth like it would in the real world. Made by the developer's peripheral division (Psyclone) the 3rd party controller for The Strike may be the first controller available for the Xbox 360 that uses motion technology. Whose motion technology is it, though? When we asked about the reel controller and if it meant that there would actually be motion controllers for the Xbox 360, the answer given to us was: That while the controller was made in-house, part of the software (or a chip... I forget) that was used was licensed from Microsoft. So, if Microsoft has that laying around to be licensed... sounds like a good bet that there will be some announcements from Microsoft soon.  Anyway, even though the Xbox 360 version had the spiffier of the two controllers, they both responded exactly the same way when it came to motion detection. So although the player will have an only slightly less unique experience with the Wii controls, it won't actually affect how the game is played when trying to win your way trough the fishing competitions.As far as the differences of the systems game content, aside form the graphical differences, both versions include exactly the same content. All the lures, lakes, boats, mini-games, and customizable character items are exactly the same in both versions. The gang and I spent about a total of an hour playing both, and found that we were having just as much HOT BASS FISHING ACTION on either system. So if you're the type of person that is into fishing games, The Strike may be the one to erase all the nightmares (OK, just my nightmares) of the fishing games that have come before.
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Honestly, the "HOT BASS FISHING ACTION" in the title of this preview has nothing to do with the way that the makers of The Strike are marketing their title. It would also do a disservice to game that is finally brin...

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Destructoid exclusive: Bionic Commando concept art


Apr 14
// Dyson
There comes a time in every person's life where they get the inclination to lop off an arm, replace it with a kick-ass bionic one, and save the world. Luckily for the mothers of arm owners everywhere, Capcom has been providin...

Preview: Dead Space Extraction

Apr 13 // Dyson
Dead Space Extraction (Wii)Developer: Electronic ArtsPublisher: Electronic Arts:To be released: Fall 2009I wasn't actually joking about Dead Space being my favorite game of last year, so I was extremely interested to see what EA was doing with the franchise on the Wii. Would it be a straight port? What kind of controls would it have? What would Baby Jesus think about it? While viewing the demonstration, almost all the questions were answered. And while Baby J's opinion on the title is yet to be confirmed, I can tell you that Dead Space Extraction is looking to be pretty good so far.As you may have heard, the gameplay is similar to the approach that Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles used, where it's not really a shooter, but it's also not a free-roaming adventure. Actual movement of the character is controlled by the game at all times, but there are instances of choosing different paths through the levels, some easier or harder than others. There are areas, too, that do give the player extra camera movement, called "Camera Opportunities." These Camera Ops allow the player to explore the environments in certain rooms and through certain paths, so that the player can feel less like they're on rails and more immersed in the exploration aspects of the game.Just like the original Dead Space, the HUD is represented by on-screen markers as opposed to health bars and ammo count menus. For the Wii version, though, the gamer is placed in a first-person perspective, so information is displayed on the Wii Remote reticule instead of on the character's back. And, yes, you do use the Wiimote to aim and fire, but have no worries about it being a "gun game." You use the Wiimote to shoot, but it's also used for a new feature that has you carrying your own light source (the green glow seen in the picture below). This light will fade over time, and to bring its strength back up, the player will have to shake the Wiimote up and down. This may sound a little cheesy, but it was said to give the player the choice in harrowing situations of whether or not they would increase the light for better accuracy, or just keep fighting off the enemies. The player can also have the option of rotating any weapon in the game ninety degrees by just turning their wrist. For fans of the first game this will be good news since the only, and arguably most versatile weapon, in the first title that could do this was the plasma cutter. The timeline of the story places the events in Extraction before the original, and the moment when the marker was, duh, extracted from the planet's surface. Now, I'm not exactly clear as to whether or not this takes place on the ship from the first game or the colony, but by looking at the environments in the demo, it appears to be once again on the same ship.The level of detail used in the game will keep fans happy, too. While no one expects the Wii to do things that it just can't do, what it can do, it does very well.  As you can see from the above picture, the team responsible for Extraction has done a great job of creating the environments. There were a few things that I did notice, though. The contrast between the lighted area that you can see in front of the character compared to the extremely shadowy areas that surround him isn't as stark as it was in the 360/PS3 version. This took away from the claustrophobic feeling that the first game created, but I have a feeling that they may have just cranked the brightness for the demo so we could see the environments. Let's hope so!We didn't get a chance to see any of the co-op functionality, but from what I was told, it sounds like a true two-player game. The team wanted to make sure that if you were going to play with your friends, they would have something to do instead of some lame support role or something that just kept them busy (I'm looking at you, Super Mario Galaxy). Second players can share the first player's life bar and are equally invested in surviving, and they can also jump in and out of gameplay at any time. Overall, what we were shown looked fun and true to the level of detail that EA has committed to each of its Dead Space mediums (like the comic and film). With the promise that the game's content wasn't watered down for the Wii, and the fact that I honestly can't get too much Dead Space anything in my life, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more from this title in the future.
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When Electronic Arts said it was going to bring Dead Space to the Wii, a lot of people thought that they were joking. As it turns out, they weren't, but the confirmation only brought about the usual two responses. The first a...

Hamza Bullets! Death Tank super tank 'shoop and haiku of death contest winners!

Mar 04 // Dyson
Now, for no apparent reason whatsoever, the haiku winners go first!Sup3rt3d: Star Wars is always good.Oh Luke SkywalkerSo near Death on Hoth but savedBy the Bacta Tankhoodoo: Def Leppard reference!Death becomes a gameAs the tank rolls closer stillArmageddon it?kittwalker: Wtf is a BBC Micro?I used to play Tanks, On my BBC Micro. Death Tank looks betterportastad: Death Becomes Her was terrible. Death Becomes Her, yahIt was a box office tankStraight to VHS  drfoongoggles: I had to look up the syllable count in "towards."Death rolling toward meIn shape of big, bad-ass tankI soil trousersAnd now for the Photoshop winners!Electro Lemon: What the fuck is this blue shit?! Eques-Ardor: It's how he rolls.the GAMEGOBLIN: Baby tank of death!  sirjester: Although you don't get the haiku thing, Bill and Ted's Death is win.   MechaMonkey: That fish is fucked! Those are the winners, folks! Please don't be too upset if you didn't get one of the codes, it was hard enough deciding on the winners as it was. Special nod to Wedge's shark tank 'shoop ... I wish you had put Death in it, but them's the rules! Email me at [email protected] to claim your prizes. Also, please use the same email you use to make your account, so we can verify that you are you. There some sneaky people on the Internet, and those bastards don't deserve the awesome of Death Tank.Great job to everyone that entered! 
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Oh, Hamza Bullets, what can't they do? I know that they can help to pick out the winners of the Death Tank super 'shoop and haiku of death contest that recently ended. Sadly, the Hamza Bullets didn't win. Not because they are...

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This creepy old man on the bus was saying to me that there is nothing more awesome in life than death and tanks. Since he was wearing a shoe for a hat and smelled of old fish, I told him to take a hike, but he was right.Tanks...

Preview: BattleForge's multiplayer

Feb 26 // Dyson
Just in case you were too lazy to read Samit’s article (and you should feel bad if you were, because he puts a lot of time into them), BattleForge is on online RTS that incorporates the idea of using tabletop gaming cards to represent the game’s different types of resources. Now, on to the multiplayer!The first round of online we played was pretty confusing. Having never ever played the game, it was kind of difficult to just jump right in and know what you were doing. I think others there were having the same issues, so it was suggested that we all try out the tutorial if we wanted to. That was a very good suggestion.While the lobby menus seemed pretty weird in some places, the tutorial taught you everything you needed to know in no time flat. Right away, I figured out exactly how to use the trading card style item management and exactly how to use it effectively in the game. Which is pretty cool, because most RTS games beat the crap out of the player with requiring them to build resources forever before ever getting to any sort of fun gameplay; building a tech tree, I believe it’s called. And it becomes apparent that BattleForge’s use of the trading card idea is more than just an aesthetic decision in reference to that. It functions in a way that gets rid of that whole tech tree business and lets you start playing and moving forward in the game at a quick pace. Getting ahead and building new walls, defenses and occupying new areas was accomplished within the first two minutes of the match. You knew exactly what to do, where to go, and how to use all your resources with no problem thanks to the easy to read trading card UI. Granted, I don’t want the game to come off as sounding too easy. The amount of times you can play a card, and the amount of time it takes to recharge each card, limits the amount of units you can put on the field at any given time. If you use all your, say, five of the available soldier cards, you’ll have to wait until the card replenishes again to replay more soldiers. This amount of replenish time doesn’t scale with the amount of energy you’re building; the time is always the same. This, as I was told, was to force the player to use their cards more wisely, and to keep them from spamming units onto the field. I feel that, although it’s a little different than other RTSs because of that, the idea helped to keep the game from feeling like it would be too easy. And while the game is ridiculously easy to get into and start playing, it’s apparent that there’s quite a bit of depth to this title that we barely even scratched the surface of in our couple hours of play.When I originally saw the concept of the title, I thought it would be just a weird card game spin-off and not a real RTS. But seeing the way that BattleForge blends the trading cards into the RTS genre, and not the other way around, I feel that this may end up being a really solid title for RTS fans. It's also a lot of fun for people who aren’t really all that into meticulous resource management and just want to have fun with their RTS game. I know that I had a lot of fun playing around with the battle system and its cool looking trading card-esque menu, so I may keep an eye on this game when it comes out March 24th. If you want to see it sooner, you can also check out the open beta that begins on Feb, 27, and see what you think. And, no, I don't know why the screen shots don't have any pictures of the trading cards in them. I can only give what I get, folks. 
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The other day, I had a chance to spend some time on EA and Phenomic's upcoming real time strategy game, BattleForge for the PC. If you haven't heard of it before, shame on you -- go eat some glass. I'm just kidding, glass cos...

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Hamza almost died so I could get you these Ride to Hell videos


Jan 13
// Dyson
Earlier today you may have heard about Hamza's life and death experience in the utter wastleland that is the California desert. Seriously, those ATVs are death traps, but it'll take more than that to kill Destructoid's numbe...
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Ride to Hell Event: Deep Silver shows us how to be in a biker gang


Dec 28
// Dyson
Not too long ago, the fine folks at Deep Silver (the development house that is comprised of ex-Rockstar Vienna folks who are also working on the Wii title Cursed Mountain) decided to take myself and Hamza “I’m a F...
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Developer Q&A: Deep Silver talks about their upcoming Wii title, Cursed Mountain


Nov 13
// Dyson
About a zillion years ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Martin Filipp, Developer at Deep Silver, and discuss with him the company's upcoming survival-horror title: Cursed Mountain. Deep Silver, if you weren't aware,...

Destructoid review: Legendary

Nov 09 // Dyson
Legendary (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PS3, PC)Developed by Spark UnlimitedPublished by Gamecock Media GroupReleased on November 5, 2008Played to completion on NormalUnlike most FPS games that are released, Legendary eschews the Man vs Alien rhetoric in favor of pitting the game’s main character (Deckard) against an army of creatures once thought to be myth. By opening Pandora’s Box, the main character immediately finds himself thrust into a disaster situation of incredible proportions. Without wasting any time or plaguing the player with slow and boring tutorial levels, the action begins almost instantly and keeps the player going at a breakneck pace throughout the game. With only one minor chapter in the game to give the player a break (Council HQ), Legendary keeps the action set to high by constantly keeping you moving from one “oh shit” moment to the next. While a good few of these moments are obvious and fairly scripted, the sheer quantity and variation thrown at you keeps the feeling of danger tangible for a majority of the game. The title does a very good job of creating tension in almost every aspect of gameplay by never letting you feel “safe.” Throughout the game, you are in constant fear of what may kill you next, while every new enemy that you come across one-ups the intensity of the last. (The Kraken battle is pretty cool.) Facing off against the mythical creatures is the main thrust of the battles you meet, with the addition of the obligatory “shadow organization” thrown in to play the antagonist role. While the enemy soldier AI seems to be relegated to preset patterns, and sometimes serves as a mere annoyance, the constant barrage of werewolves, griffins, and other mythical creatures tends to keep the player from feeling any sort of redundancy. Unfortunately, there are more than several moments in the game where a player will have no idea what to do, and will be routinely killed in a “trial by error” type of method to determine the next step in the game. Eventually, you start to figure out that the reason you're dying so often is mostly because rushing into every room and trying to blow everything away, à la every other FPS out there, does not make for a long life for Deckard. Legendary is set up as more of an action strategy shooter more than anything else, and thinking about your next move in that mindset will keep you alive slightly longer -- although you will get your ass handed to you on a regular basis no matter what. To help guide you, there's Waypoint feature used in the game that helps direct the player on where they’re supposed to go next, but a lot of the times it doesn’t work very well and will certainly frustrate you. Usually, these moments are accompanied by an action sequence that is purposefully brutal, and the repetitive dying without knowing what to do becomes incredibly annoying to the point that some may walk away. The first of these instances appears early in the game during the New York sequence. Upon the introduction of the Black Order soldiers while being pinned down on the city street, you are eventually led into a nearby building by a security guard who calls out to you. What triggers the security guard is still unknown to me. I died no less than 12 times in the same area trying figure out if I just had to wait, or if I had to kill all of the enemy soldiers. I still have no idea which of the two is the case. Meanwhile, the Waypoint falsely leads you around the level directing you to where you should eventually end up, thereby causing you to break cover and be killed very often. After that, you will soon find yourself doing some inappropriately placed 3D platforming in a warehouse filled with werewolves. While these points aren’t ubiquitous throughout the game, their appearance so soon into the experience may cause people to misjudge the entirety of the Legendary experience.Thankfully, someone decided to keep the platforming confined to just one part of the game, and the rest of the title seems to borrow quite heavily from games such as BioShock and Condemned 2 with regard to its execution and level design. I noticed that the strong influence of BioShock can be seen in the game’s puzzle mechanics, so much so that any player will think “Yep. That’s like BioShock.”While Legendary does borrow quite a bit from games that have preceded it, it does set itself apart by creating an intense action game that provides a quality experience. And while the graphics are certainly not of the highest caliber, the game’s slideshow-esque art style lends itself to the narrative well. There are the occasional in-game engine cut scenes, though, which are inexplicably unappealing. Fortunately, they are few and far between enough to not make too poor of an impact. The only true negative factor about them is the fact that they can’t be skipped. Considering how often you will die in Legendary, this seems terribly outdated.The storyline doesn’t break any new ground or have any huge plot twists (myth monsters + shadow organization = bad), but it certainly doesn’t disappoint. While you’re never really at a loss as to how the whole thing will end, getting there is a completely enjoyable, and nerve-racking, experience. My only complaint, though, is that there are no new options given to you upon completing the game. Even though the ending sets up a sequel, I would have liked to have seen the ability to play through the game again with unlimited ammo or some other feature appear that would entice another playthrough.All in all, I think that if you approach the game in the same way that you would approach a big summer blockbuster movie (fast-paced with lots of crazy action going on, not a whole lot of depth -- think Michael Bay), you'll find an overall enjoyable ride in the experience that Legendary provides. You're constantly barraged with the feeling of "Go! Go! Go!" from the minute you begin the game until you the time you complete it, and the adrenaline levels of your brain will be set to high throughout. However, it must be said that Legendary most certainly has its faults, one of them being the game has absolutely no replayabilty (WTF?). But it is worth your time to sit down and play through the game at least once. While I can't recommend that you purchase the title, I can say that a rental is definitely in order if you have the time. Legendary had its hiccups, but by the end of the show, I was more than pleased with the time I spent with it.Except for the minotaurs. Fuck those goddamn things and their goddamn ability to kill the shit out of you EVERY time. Score: 7.75  (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)[About this review: Unlike most reviews here at Destructoid, this review was written months prior to the game's release, and the version that was reviewed was purported to be the final build. At that time, there wasn't the ability to play the multiplayer features, so we waited until we had a retail build so that we could review the game in its entirety. It's sad to say, but I waited online for over 30 minutes with the retail copy in hopes that someone would jump into my created match, but no one, and I mean no one, was around for me to play against :( Regardless, I doubt that the one type of online play it provides will truly make any difference in the score. If I ever find anyone to play with and it does make a difference, I'll let you know. A plus, though, was that the game actually looked a lot sharper than the build I had played for review, so there is that!]
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I'm pretty sure that everyone and their mother is playing a certain other game right now (rhymes with beers at four - poo), but, surprise, there are other releases that have come out that may be worth your attention, such as ...


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