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Hands-on: Rush'n Attack: Ex-Patriot photo
Hands-on: Rush'n Attack: Ex-Patriot
by Ben Perlee

Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot has a major problem when it comes to plot. You see, it's not the late 1980s anymore, so the rampant fear of Soviet Russia doesn't hang over us like a red curtain. So Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot addresses the Russian element by returning to the Tunguska Event in Siberia. Apparently a massive explosion took place in this remote area, which many consider to be from a comet. According to Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot, this 1908 event left behind a rare element that is the source of some major, modern-day problems. Some American soldiers are aiming to save one prisoner who has been held in this area for ten years, and unfortunately, main character Sergent Sid Morrows is captured in the process. Tested upon, he's now immune to the side effects of the interstellar element that is radiating everywhere, and it's his job to escape and save anyone on the way.

Upon initially playing Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot, the first thing to pop into my head was that the game is a melee-focused version of Shadow Complex. Well, it's not. While Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot may look like it offers an open world, Metroidvania-style levels and all, instead there is a much more linear experience. While these three levels can be completed in different manners, such as sneaking through the air ducts or blasting straight ahead, they generally end up in the same area. However, along the way there are plenty of traps that players can hide into, whistle to call an enemy over, and slaughter on sight. The enemies themselves have some defenses on their side, as security cams call over more units to fight, and while they don't do much damage one-on-one, they can pose a problem in groups.

Personally, I'm finding the focus on gruesome knife kills, splattering of neon blood, random awesome slaughterings, and the stealth mechanics lend some flexibility to play. You can focus on tactically moving through levels, or you can charge ahead, as the game rewards both thoughtful executions and the quick kill combo session. Guns like rocket launchers and machine guns can be picked up, although they tend to have short supplies of ammo, and you'd best learn to rely on your knife. Sid can be upgraded and will learn new combos as he progresses, using his score as the XP for leveling up.

In the end, I'm finding that Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot is the right little update to the franchise. It doesn't seem to massively mix things up and change the nature of the game, and the 2D stealth mechanics are always fun and satisfying. It's not a radical change of play, but it's enough to keep the franchise fresh. Rush'n Attack: Ex Patriot will be coming out later this year for PSN and Xbox Live.

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Hands-on: Hard Corps: Uprising photo
Hands-on: Hard Corps: Uprising
by Ben Perlee

When we last saw Hard Corps: Uprising at Comic-Con, our Dale North came away quite impressed with the flashy sidescrolling shooter from Arc System Works and Konami. After all, the stunning 2D animation makes this title practically look like BlazBlue: The Shooter, which is a very good thing. The crazy thing is this is still a direct Contra game, albeit with a massive aesthetic redesign. Am I for it? Oh damn skippy, I'm all for mixing up the norms, as Hard Corps: Uprising is one hot take on the franchise.

While it's visually stunning, when it comes to a Contra title, there are some gameplay standards to uphold. Yes, the game is brutally hard, as I was dying left and right, taking on wall bosses, motorcycle bosses, snipers hidden in the foliage of the new jungle level (which looks and plays great), as well as hundreds of oppressive Commonwealth soldiers and robots. The Rising Mode is the game's campaign, detailing the story and all of its conflicts, as well as offering upgrades to make the characters more powerful. Main character Bahamut and his lady friend, Krystal, are very capable at their jobs, and while the game may be extremely difficult, those who have grown up on Contra, Treasure games, and Metal Slug will have no problem here. That is, unless they play the actual Arcade mode, where there is no health bar, and thus, nasty one-hit kills. 

Weapons were by far the most interesting part of the game, reminding me a bit of Gunstar Heroes. Players can juggle between two weapon slots, and while both will default to the normal shooting mode, players can collect new weapons -- I've seen a grenade launcher, charge shot, spread shot, homing laser, flame thrower, and machine gun -- which can be upgraded if they collect another of the same weapon. Unfortunately, if you get hit while holding onto one of these special shots, you lose them immediately, so only the best will be able to see the ethereal third-tier weapon upgrade.

All in all, Hard Corps: Uprising looks like a fantastic new addition to the Contra franchise. Even more, there is so much here that mixes up the series that new fans and those turned off by the traditional Contra tropes can take it for a wholly new experience. Keep an eye out for it later this winter on Xbox Live and PSN.

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Impressions: Fighters Uncaged photo
Impressions: Fighters Uncaged
by Ben Perlee

As much as Microsoft would like to indicate, Kinect is a device that is going to leave most hardcore gamers in the cold...at least initially. With the upcoming launch set for November 4 in the States, most of the expected launch titles are made up of casual sports, health and pet games. However, there is one exception—Fighters Uncaged—that promises to offer the first hardcore game experience on Kinect.

I've gone, well—body-on—with the game, and am ready to share my results. Follow the jump for what gamers can expect from Ubisoft's first fighting addition to the Kinect lineup.

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3:40 PM on 09.30.2010

Beyond Good & Evil HD screenshots look hot hot hot

Early this morning we announced that Ubisoft was going to be bringing Beyond Good & Evil for download in a brand new high definition update: Beyond Good & Evil HD. I did my best to make it clear that the gam...

Ben Perlee

2:40 PM on 09.30.2010

Ubisoft taking their games in a more connected direction

As you can tell from some of our coverage today, Ubisoft has made some interesting announcements about upcoming downloadable titles coming over the next year or so. However, that's just the beginning of a new connective meth...

Ben Perlee

11:20 AM on 09.30.2010

Knives Chau announced for Scott Pilgrim: The Game

[Update] Video added. Since Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game released last month, people have been wondering when we were going to unlock the final secret character in the game. Nega Scott is easily attainable in th...

Ben Perlee







Ubisoft announces Beyond Good and Evil HD photo
Ubisoft announces Beyond Good and Evil HD
by Ben Perlee

Ever since Ubisoft announced Beyond Good and Evil 2 in 2008, gamers have been dying to see what exactly Ubisoft was going to do with the franchise. It's been two years since then, and little has been discussed with the game, leaving many with anticipation. That's a major bummer, as not only was the original Beyond Good and Evil one of the most thematically original games released last console cycle, it was also smartly stylized and intensely beautiful. No wonder we named it number 6 in our top games of the decade

All is not lost, as this morning Ubisoft announced a brand new remake of the original Beyond Good and Evil. Technically, more of an HD port, as nothing new has been done with the game except boost the texture resolution and run it in full 1080p. This fact alone makes Beyond Good and Evil HD probably the best version of the game. We haven't got screenshots from the game just yet, but trust me, this game is hot.

Having spent time with BG&E HD last night in downtown San Francisco, not only can I confirm that this is the BG&E that fans love, as it is absolutely gorgeous. True, it is the same title many of us played back in 2003, but the new visual overhaul takes this to the next level. Take a look at one of the original trailers, and you can see that an HD update is going to really kick things up a notch. Visually, very little would indicate that this is a last gen title, and the addition of leaderboards should keep things a little bit more interesting. Unfortunately, all is not well with the game, as there is currently some major frame rate issues. Thankfully, a 2011 release date means they have time to fix this problem. While it's not exactly BG&E 2, an HD update to a beloved classic is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

[Edit: I knew I forgot to mention something! Beyond Good and Evil HD is a download-only title coming to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.]

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Hands-on: Superstars V8 Racing photo
Hands-on: Superstars V8 Racing
by Ben Perlee

Everyone says that digital downloads are the future of gaming, but so many publishers seem to be afraid of making their product strictly digital. That's not stopping O-Games from releasing a full retail racing title onto the PlayStation 3 this October. Coming in at a budget price of $19.99 on PSN, Superstars V8 Racing will be offering full top-class simulation racing for those interested.

It's an interesting approach very few other publishers have taken, so the game inside has to be very good. Follow the jump for more. 

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Hands-on: Dungeon Defenders photo
Hands-on: Dungeon Defenders
by Ben Perlee

I know the guys from Reverb Communications pretty well. After all, as the PR representatives for many games like Rock Band and Deadly Premonition, they act as the middle man between publishers and games journalists. A great group of people, they are very professional and get straight to business. It makes everyone's jobs a little easier, and while the consumers don't know about them very much, these PR houses are important.

So here's a crazy thing: Reverb Communications is now publishing videogames. If you can't tell, this is all sorts of weird for someone in my position, but if the game itself is good, what does it matter who publishes? Thankfully, the so-named Reverb Publications seems to have made a smart decision with the first game they are bringing to XBLA and PSN: a rather ambitious tower defense game/action title called Dungeon Defenders. Co-published with developer Trendy Entertainment, Dungeon Defenders is actually incredibly dynamic, lots of fun, entirely unique, and certainly worthy of attention.

Follow below for more.

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Hands-on: Donkey Kong Country Returns photo
Hands-on: Donkey Kong Country Returns
by Ben Perlee

Returning to Donkey Kong Country is like returning to an old friend. Many of us have fond memories of rolling through the jungles of DK's island in, at the time, one of the most visually impressive games ever made. There weren't many people who were not impressed by it, and while there has been some criticism of the original games' platforming, the titles were a pure blast to play. From the music to the general aesthetic, Rare and Nintendo created a series of games that just rocked. 

Now that Nintendo is making a return to DK's island with Donkey Kong Country Returns, a whole new wave of nostalgia is rushing over gamers for a franchise long forgotten as something we'd ever see an update to. Yet here we are, with a brand new Donkey Kong Country game launching in just under two months, and also developed by another second-party development studio with a big R in their name: Retro Studios.

Exciting times indeed for those who can still rap the DK Rap, we've spent some time with the game during a recent trip to Nintendo, and we can certainly say, this is one of the most exciting platformers coming to the Wii this year. 

Continue reading for my hands-on impressions.

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Preview: Apache: Air Assault photo
Preview: Apache: Air Assault
by Ben Perlee

Apache: Air Assault is a special beast. While it might be considered a helicopter version of Gaijin Entertainment's IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, a military aerial simulator released in 2009, it is clearly a different approach to aerial combat entirely. Helicopters offer a whole bundle of dynamic options over jet planes and dog fighting, so there has to be a little special attention placed upon the game before it launches November 16.

Does the team behind IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (as well as the maligned X-Blades) offer enough to mix things up and bring Apache combat to gamers? There is certainly enough compelling content to make fans of the genre pay attention, and there might be enough to surprise the rest. Hit the jump for my impressions.

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Hands-on: Dead Space 2 multiplayer photo
Hands-on: Dead Space 2 multiplayer
by Ben Perlee

Adding multiplayer to a game that is primarily known for the single-player experience is always a finicky deal. Take a look at Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, or BioShock 2. While both of these titles were able to bring solid gameplay opportunities, the multiplayer just never quite meshed with the rest of the franchise. Fun, sure, but not quite up to par.

That is a very serious possibility with Dead Space 2's brand new multiplayer mode. Sequel to 2008's surprise horror hit, the game succeeded in creating a strong sense of dread and fear in the deepest parts of space. Any multiplayer mode is going to lose some of these scary elements, but with the right team, this mode could build on the universe and create something fans can return to once the single-player campaign is done. For any success, this mode cannot be half-assed.

Visceral Games has a good attitude about the situation, with an entirely separate team setting up the multiplayer mode. Even better, the game they have created is one part Dead Space, one part Left 4 Dead, and one part Modern Warfare. There's surprisingly a lot going on, so continue reading below.

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1:00 PM on 09.10.2010

Tron Bonne confirmed for MvC3; Mega Man still missing

First of all, watch the lovely cinematic above. It's dashing! It's brave! It's exciting! Captain America punches the crap out of a helicopter, Chun-Li proves herself worthless, Trish does some bad-ass shooting...

Ben Perlee



Hands-on: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution photo
Hands-on: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution
by Ben Perlee

It's been about a year since the first time I saw Borderlands. Taking place at some quirky bar in the famous Haight district in San Francisco, the oddness of the place fit the game, and I wasn't expecting much. At that point I had not paid much attention to the title, and speculation about the game was that it was going to fail in the midst of a saturated holiday market, so no one seemed initially exuberant about the game. Walking away from that event, my opinion changed, and I was impressed with the unique and visually impressive game Gearbox made.

The critics and consumers agreed, as Borderlands did very well, so much so that Gearbox introduced three fully featured downloadable content packs. Against all expectations, it's lined up a fourth one: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution.

Keeping par with the nature of the previous content packs, this one takes the silliness to the next level, focusing on the one and only Claptrap, the beloved (and maligned) robot box assistant. Now it's a story all about him, and if you want to kill him, now's your opportunity. 

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Borderlands patch brings new level cap, weapons, and more photo
Borderlands patch brings new level cap, weapons, and more
by Ben Perlee

For fans of Borderlands, the addition of Claptrap's New Robot Revolution is going to be an exciting bit of downloadable content. Having seen the new features, I can say it's a fantastic addition to Borderlands, and you'll definitely want to read my impressions later today. However, Gearbox Software seems to be almost more excited for the brand new patch coming sometime next month. A new patch you say? Why yes I do, and even those who haven't bought any of the previous DLC—The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot and The Secret Armory of General Knox—will want to pay attention. This is because all users will receive a level cap increase of 8 levels! And even more, the game will also be balanced across all the DLC and the main game, as well as bring new weapons and specs to players.

This is a pretty big deal. It was clear when I talked Gearbox's representatives that they are well aware of the needs and wants of the players, and this patch has been planned for a while as a way to please fans. Unfortunately, because Microsoft limits the size of individual title updates to 4 MBs for the life of the game, Gearbox is quickly running down on allotted file space for these sort of patches, so this may be the very last time Gearbox updates the game.

So what this means is players can now reach level 58 if they have not bought the General Knox DLC, and level 69 if they have. Borderlands has been rebalanced to deal with this, and there is now also the addition of new weapons with brand new specs. Oh, and there's going to be support for avatar items coming as well, so keep an eye out for that.

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Impressions: Shogun 2: Total War photo
Impressions: Shogun 2: Total War
by Ben Perlee

Recently Sega invited me over to its San Francisco offices to take a peek at the latest game in the Total War series: Shogun 2.

As a return to the original Total War game Shogun: Total War, Shogun 2 is the latest in the real time/turn-based fusion strategy game. Sega and developer The Creative Assembly were kind enough to show me the real time battle elements of the game, with the turn-based overworld stuff saved for something I have planned next week. Fans of the franchise will certainly want to pay attention.

You've seen the trailer, now follow the jump for my hands-off impressions.

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