I'm having a very bored hungover Saturday so thought I would give you some unedited thoughts AS THEY HAPPEN of TNA iMPACT. The original TNA for iOS was a weird 2D turn-based wrestling game which I kind of enjoyed. It was a fun diversion, but the key was that they made a game that suited the controls and medium it was on. Now Namco Bandai have produced an all action game similar to console wrestling games. So let's get started.
Career mode, oooo. Lets start an X-Division career. Create a wrestler to go through the ranks. Amazingly basic. Not sure what type of finisher the DW4 is, but I have it. I also have a massive TWO (2) grapple moves and I picked high-flyer style.
So first thing. I'm in the ring with Hogan who speaks nothing like Hogan in the text bar saying "brother" a lot. Hogan has announced there will be an 8 man tournament for a shot at Doug Williams X-Division championship. HOT STUFF. Backstage with Bischoff. "I'm sure you heard Hulk's announcement". Why yes I did, I was in the ring with him at the time. He has good news though, I'll be facing The Pope in the first round. Standing there in my wrestling gear, but I should probably "go get ready".
Couldn't set an entrance, but I came out pointing at the crowd with some nice looking pyro. The Pope comes out with proper music and money raining entrance. Wow, someone at Namco actually did some research! Let's play a match... Wow, the fact I have to mash buttons to get up after I performed a successful move is a joke. It's so jerky and slow paced, it's a good 5 seconds to climb the turnbuckle and turn around. SUCH A HIGH-FLYER. Honestly the worst match engine of all time. I won the match somehow with what looked like a taunt, think Triple H's post water spit pose on the apron to be precise.
Tenay and Tazz hype up Turning Point and say my match with RVD is a semi-final match. I contemplated playing further, but RVD's music (R V D... THE WHOLE F'N SHOW and loop) took me over the edge with it's awfulness.
10/10 as a TNA game. It is faithful to it's source product as in it is a total trainwreck. 1/10 as an entertaining product.
That was kind of an abortion. I honestly don't believe I have ever started and quit a game in such record time. I want to be sick thinking about the 15 minutes I lost to that. I would recommend burning your retinas out before playing this game or even trapping your nuts in a vice.
Chat has been going for a good couple of months now and it has easily become one of the reasons I come here. Even in the dead times of GMT mornings, there's usually someone awesome to talk to. I honestly believe the only person who wouldn't really like it would be my boss if he ever sees my new level of productivity.
We've built up a little mini-community right now in there, keeping away from the largely unmoderated General Chat and inviting the non-trolls in and having a good time talking about any topic that comes up, which is a shame as I know a few of you may have come into the chat and been scared off by the trolls or total inactivity because we've abandoned the troll, but hopefully we can have it in a moderated state and be the most welcoming bunch of people since hotel door openers.
I'm not going to gush on and wax lyrical about good times, but I've seen people be genuinely touched by events that have transpired and ridiculous memes such as UNLIMITED DRAGONS WITH BULLET TIME AND STEALTH, but it is all goodtime fun in a massive time sink. Mad shoutouts to Zwuh, DrunkPunk, Eltron, Savant, Genn, Xzi and kevinsano just of the top of my head right now but there are others too that are the biggest cases of fucking awesome I've talked to in a long time.
Drop on by sometime. We'll show you to the shadows...
Virtua Tennis was the pinnacle of arcade sports games when the original came out for the Dreamcast. Back then, it had 2 buttons and was so simple to pick up, but impossible to master. The perfect recipe for any arcade game. The sequel added a 3rd button and a more robust world tour before AM2 handed the reigns over to Sumo Digital for the fun but stale Virtua Tennis 3 and 2009. Now AM2 take the mantle once more, but can they freshen up the game enough to make a purchase worth it?
Virtua Tennis 4 (Xbox 360(Reviewed), PS3, Wii, PC) Publisher: Sega Developer: Sega AM2 Released: Out now (European console versions), May 10 (US console versions) Summer 2011 (PC) Price: $49.99/£39.99 (360/PS3), $39.99/£29.99 (Wii) TBA (PC)
Jump into a game and the first thing that you'll notice is that not much has changed. From the slightly dated graphics beginning to show their age right up to the same play style. As you delve deeper though, you find that by following your players play-style builds up a bar above your players name. Once that is up, you can hit B to unleash a power shot that is unstoppable in the correct situation. It's that simple elegance which makes Virtua Tennis a joy to play, but the big addition may make it more complex.
That big addition: motion controls on all consoles. Kinect, Move and MotionPlus are all supported and by all reports, working well with intricate wrist movements affecting shots on Move and MotionPlus. Sega are saying that Move is the best way to play the game, but TV ads for the game appear to have had a Sony-sponsored PS3 spot in there so I'm now taking their claims with a pinch of salt.
For those without expensive add-ons though, is there anything else to justify the purchase? Well, online mode has had a massive upgrade borrowing the excellent Virtua Fighter 5 netcode. The matches that I've been subjected to have been smooth with a very good match-making service. Not only that, but online tournaments are in making it a good overall package that can keep you coming back.
World Tour is the meat and potatoes of the game and it's holding up it's end of the bargain. After changing the default design from it's perfectly Aryan look to a guy with the ever-fashionable Hitler moustache and the highest pitch grunt ever, I got underway. As Samit explained in his preview, instead of being a super-serious sports simulation of a career, it instead brings a board game style experience. This is a departure of older Virtua Tennis games as well where you manage your time and schedule to train using mini-games. Now you have to plan your moves with 3 movement cards randomly given to you at the start of each turn with the aim to get as many stars (which affect rankings) and coins to spend on various things. There are also 3 slots to store your own cards. The stored cards range from numbers for movement, condition recovery, agents (which give an increase to stars as you go about your day to day activities) and shuffle cards that will discard your 3 movement cards for 3 new ones.
As you move through the map, you'll find exhibition matches and tournaments, publicity work (raises your profile at the expense of some condition), charity work (like publicity but also loses you coin), accidents, relaxation spots and training mini-games. The mini-games are all new and are excellent with none of the coming across as filler. Highlights being Ace Striker where you serve a football into a goal past a wall and goalkeeper, Poker in which the aim is to hit balls at cards to change them and create poker hands and Wall Battle, which is a 1-on-1 tennis match except you have 3 switches to make sections of the net grow and bounce the ball back to you opponent to score points.
Sensibly, the mini-games are broken up over the 4 seasons so you don't have the all available to get bored of in one play session. Each season concentrates on a different part of the world, with the first season being Asia and Australia, the second in south Europe culminating in the French open, third in north Europe with Wimbledon and finally America with the US open. Finally, there is a bonus season if you finish in the top echelon of the rankings, adding another area and year to play where you will face the king of all tennis, who returns in this game. As you go, you'll receive messages from your rival players usually mocking you, your coach giving you some advice, or Chris who is your stalking superfan who sent me a letter saying he liked my "ball chasing-down skills".
If you've read all this, you're probably thinking that should take your time and slowly go to each tournament, training hard and getting enough events, but each season also has a number of days. If you're late, the tournament actually waits for you, but not without a hit to your reputation for having a gall to be late.This changes the dynamic of the world tour to be a fine balancing act as you also need a number of stars to qualify for the tournament and not waste all your condition on the qualifying rounds and does add a much needed dash of strategy.
Tracking my progress through a few accidents, all of which resulted in "strange rumours coming out about me", I unlocked a lot of kit to buy that never really interests me, but since you start in a grey top and look dull, I had a look and I was not disappointed. Right now, I'm rocking a t-shirt shirt, playing with a baguette as a racket and wearing jeans. The lack of seriousness is endearing and made me want to unlock more comedy outfits which actually have a point along with the comedy rackets even changing the sound effects with baguettes making a really satisfying DOOF noise and the clink of smacking a ball with a sledgehammer. Fancy dress party outfits give you cash multipliers the more fancy dress items you have on.
At the end of each season, a number of awards are handed out for the Season MVP, most MAX serves, most smash points, most special shots and the speediest player which is the player who reached the final tournament in the least amount of moves. Then your new season starts with you starting on maximum condition. The only thing I can fault the world tour on is the god-awful music, which unfortunately is true throughout the whole game.
All in all, this isn't the in-depth tennis simulator that something like Top Spin is. If you're wanting a serious sports experience, that's what you should be sticking with. If you want a fun, deep game with excellent online features and a possible reason to dust off those motion controllers, you should be seriously taking a look at this. It is the definitive Virtua Tennis and it's a fabulous purchase even if you're upgrading from 2009. Going back to the original developers and not outsourcing to Sumo has shown and hopefully it continues the tradition of improving the franchise with each iteration instead of becoming a yearly sports cash cow. It isn't going to be for everyone and that has been reflected in my score, but as a long-time fan of the series, this is Sega at their arcade-style best.
8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
With the rumors circulating around what Nintendo is going to bring to the party, I'm going to boldly claim it 'tis the season and all that jazz and hit what I hope the proverbial buffet cart of the aforementioned party will contain. Despite my doubts, for the purpose of this blog, I am going to assume that the new home console is happening, mainly because I so so so so so so so so so so so so hope it is true.
With that said, HIT IT.
1) Motion control was SOOOO 2006, you guys
Nintendo had a hit with the Wii, no question, but the shine appears to have come off the Wii a little. Accused by the masses of being simply a Wii Sports/Fit machine with some New Super Mario Bros. thrown in, I believe it needs to go back to basics.
I'm not saying abandon motion entirely, but bundle the thing with a real joypad as well as the Wii-plus mote (or new motion thing to ensure backwards compatibility) and come out on stage to say that Nintendo thinks it's ADORABLE Sony and Microsoft are on that bandwagon now, but we have the best motion solution and we're coming back after your hardcorey games. But don't worry, soccer moms, you'll only need one bulk of plastic in front of your TV because this bad boy will play your Wii and GC titles as well as having an even bigger Virtual Console. Check-fricking-mate.
2) This 3DS thing we launched? We will finish it TODAY.
I love my 3DS, but I see it as a beta handheld. The love is based on things I know are coming games wise rather than what I have in my hands now. Clearly rushed out to hit promised deadlines, it's missing a lot of promised things. The lull of retail releases that we're going to have for a period here would have been made so much better if I was playing Links Awakening on VC while grinning like a little schoolgirl. I'd even have settled for Sonic Chaos.
At E3, announce that from that day, a new firmware update is coming out to add the online store, Virtual Console, 3D classics and DSi store. Make everything new playable from SD card and we have a winner. But there is another thing that firmware update should address...
3) You know what else was so 2006? Robust online systems.
That firmware should shake things up, attach your friend code or maybe even an online handle into Nintendo's new and shiny online service. Lobbies, messaging and all that stuff that allows you to actually jump into a game with friends without using another device to co-ordinate the impending smackdown. I can do without the XBox Live bells and whistles for something that functions in a way that allows me to play games.
Don't worry about the casual crowd, they are slowly getting more tech savvy. My auntie even hooked up her blu-ray player to update all by herself a few weeks back. If they want to play online, they'll find a way. Optional extra would be some sort of achievement/trophy system because some people really hang their hat on them for some reason. SF4 has medals and they work quite well, flashing up when one is unlocked. Roll that shit out and make it standard.
4) Why do we even buy consoles? GAMES. COME ON.
This is where Nintendo's strong suit lies for me. I love me some Gears of War and I did like Resistance when I had my PS3, but a few quality franchises here and there cannot compete with Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Kirby. I'm still left wanting more though.
The last two successful IP's Nintendo created were Pikmin and Nintendogs. Get a little creative and try something new. It could be something beautiful and amazing if they were just to take that risk and I would love it. Even if it turned out all Wii Music again, I would respect them for trying to innovate creatively.
Finally, if they were to snatch a 3rd party to do an exclusive or timed-exclusive franchise, that would just be pure carnival. Think about it, the next Bioware game being Nintendo exclusive or something crazy. Fanboys of other console would bitch to hell and have to end up buying Nintendo, a spectacle I'm sure you'll agree.
5) Less sales figures
I know, you've been the top dogs for a few years now, but do we need to see the graphs? When they weren't on top and just about to unleash the Wii, Reggie came out on stage and just said "We're Nintendo and we're here to kick ass and take names". Great, let's get back to that mantra instead of staring at charts of however you want to spin strong, but slumping sales.
There's a time and a place for these types of figures, E3 isn't one of them. The casual media doesn't care, the games media doesn't care. We're all listening to hear how Nintendo is going to kick those arses, not what arse has been kicked.
If the rumors are true, I cannot wait. We'll have Nintendo 3DS developments and new home console taking on the NGP and whatever Microsoft has up it's sleeve. But those will have to wait for future editions.
The first shots have been fired, in 2 months, we'll see what 2011 really has in store.[img]
I really hope that title made you do a double take. YES. NEWS..
First off, bullet hell shooter game developer NG:DEV sold out of the batch of Fast Striker they sent to Play-Asia. They won't release how many units they sent to them, but the fact that they sold 1 might shock several people.
You can still grab the game from their online store here or experience the terror on iOS devices for 99 of your American cents here.
Now you're probably really confused. Zelda? On my Dreamcast?
Homebrew developer Neoblast has ported the first game in a PC Zelda trilogy to the Dreamcast. Based on LttP sprites, it plays pretty smooth for a first version and will eat up 14 blocks of your VMU... If you remember those things.
Grab it here, before Nintendo infects the developers with AIDS... Or asks them to stop.
Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles, the game that has been whored around the GP2X, to a professional release on the Dreamcast has had a totally free release on Windows. It is a damn fun little game and you can download it from here. If you want to support them, they'll even draw you an avatar in the game for either $10 for a static one or $15 for an animated one! I'd highly recommend giving the game a look, especially now it's free.