It doesn't take an otaku to see the appeal of J-Stars Victory Vs+. It features a host of famous anime characters, from Kenshin to Goku to Naruto. It's like the Marvel vs. Capcom of Shōnen Jump properties, a magazine that's been going strong since the 1960s.
After actually playing the game, I didn't come away particularly impressed with its fighting mechanics, but I can't resist the sheer fun factor of slicing and blasting away with some of my favorite characters.
I've been watching the Netflix Daredevil series and so far it's good. It's so good in fact, it's made me rethink my entire opinion on Daredevil -- which prior to this last week had been an exaggerated shrug with maybe a sarcastic yawn thrown in for effect. It's not that I particularly disliked Daredevil or anything, I just never read or saw anything about the character that would make me like him either (the abysmal 2003 Ben Affleck movie probably didn't do much for Matt Murdock's case).
However, the surprisingly dark and well made Netflix series has sparked a new interest in the character in me, and like everything else I'm interested in, that eventually translates to me wondering what a game based around it would be like. The obvious answer is you make Arkham: Hell's Kitchen. Take a Batman game, paint the costume red, swap the Joker and Two-Face out with Bullseye and Stilt-Man (or whatever B-listers Daredevil usually fights), change the batarangs to those weird baton sticks, and call it a day. But let's try to reach higher.
Daredevil is blind. He lives in a different world than most of us, one made up of sound, scents, and vibrations. He's the man without fear, leaping over rooftops but never quite sure of his surroundings, there is always a chance he'll miss his next jump and end up on the pavement. There has to be something that a brilliant game designer could do to give us a (forgive me) glimpse of how Matt sees his world.
I'm no game designer (let alone a brilliant one), but I do love to spitball completely unmarketable, unreproducible game ideas. So I took my best crack at it and came up with a few ways to step into the shoes of New York's fifth or sixth most well known superhero.
I never understood people who try to put reviews in a box. They can be short, long, scored, unscored, or use a hybrid symbol system. Although there are merits to some of these discussions, there's no inherent "better" way, they're just different.
So where am I going with this? We're changing our review descriptions ever so slightly to be more of an emotional response to each game we assess. Spearheaded by our new EiC Jonathan Holmes, we both came up with a way for our scores to show more how we feel about a certain game in order to move away from a "product review" type of situation like we had in the past.
Rather than spend a lot of time discussing it, just head on over to the Official Review Guide, or take a look at the new descriptions below accompanied by a statement from Jonathan.
Fighting game developers are in a really tough spot when it comes to sequels. If you don't iterate enough, newcomers will be tempted to call it a "rehash." If you iterate too much, hardcore fans may feel alienated by the vast seas of change.
Mortal Kombat X is more of the former situation, seeking to play it safe by incrementally improving upon the strong foundation set forth in 2011's reboot. Thankfully, that's not a bad thing.
If you count just one "five" and one "thirty" easy Fatality token pack each, the price totals $58. That's not including the $60 game purchase. On said fatality packs specifically, optional microtransactions are all the rage, but I find it hard to really get angry when I can just ignore them. Sure, they're despicable additions in principle, but they don't bother me on a daily basis playing the game -- part of the fun is learning new Fatalities on my own so they are a non-issue.
What I don't like is the $30 Kombat Pack being sold at launch (before launch even), the Goro pre-order bonus character lockout, and the $1.99 Blue Steel Sub-Zero skin that looks so cool that you naturally are inclined to buy it. Oh, and the $19.99 Krypt content unlock cheat code, after a patch came in pre-launch to decrease your token earn rate.
There are more Naruto games than one sane person can possibly handle. Although Bandai Namco Entertainment owns the license, a number of different developers have worked with the gaming side, most notably CyberConnect2, who has been working on the Ultimate Ninja subseries from the very beginning.
I had some hands-on time with Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 at Namco Bandai's recent Global Gamers Day event, and although it still has a lot of the same repetition issues as its predecessors, it looks pretty damn slick so far.
I've always clamored for the all-boss-fights game. Shadow of the Colossus, an inescapable inspiration here, did it right and others have done it wrong, like Prince of Persia (2008), but I love the idea of removing fluff encounters. A JRPG that was all boss fights and no grinding could actually make for strategic battle. Strategy RPGs that don't allow for excessive grinding, like XCOM, are essentially "all boss fights."
And here, with Titan Souls, despite the Shadow of the Colossus influence and Souls-stolen title, I'm finding the closest analog to be Super Meat Boy. It'll grind you up.
Back in 2013, Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Sega teamed up to give us a healthy serving of fanservice in the form of Project X Zonefor the 3DS. Our own Kyle MacGregor called it a "love letter from Japan," and I think that's a pretty spot-on statement.
At Bandai Namco's Global Gamer Day event in Las Vegas it's announced a sequel, titled Project X Zone 2. It will once again unite the three studios' properties, and the franchises revealed so far include Sakura Wars, Tekken, Devil May Cry, Mega Man X, Yakuza, Virtua Fighter, .hack, Strider, Shinobi, Soul Calibur V, and Resident Evil.
Monolith Soft is developing the 3DS-exclusive and will release it this fall. Yes, it is also releasing in the West!
They say you should never marry for love, but I always do. Every single damn time. I guess you could call me a romantic. If you felt like being less charitable (and possibly more accurate), you could call me a scrub. I couldn't say you'd be wrong. Sadly, that's never stopped me from picking my fighting game characters based on some whimsical, fuzzy, undefinable personal appeal rather than any practical consideration. I look at the character first and the frame data a distant second.
Coincidentally, I also end up always picking duds. Colorful jobbers who reside in the deep bottom third of tier lists, a gaggle of gold brickers who almost never show up in tournaments where people play for "real." I'm like a reverse talent scout with a keen eye for hamstringing liabilities and poor upper end viability. I've made a career out of consistently picking out which fighter will take the biggest, hardest dive and signing them up for a lifetime contract.
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a part of the soundtrack, a gameplay mechanic, a line of dialogue, or anything else about the game that is particularly noteworthy and/or awesome.
This series will no doubt contain spoilers for the games being discussed, so keep that in mind if you plan on playing the game for the first time.
This entry is all about Mega Man Legends. Feel free to share some of your own favorite things about the game in the comments!
The Giants have won and lost back to back one-run ballgames to open the 2015 baseball season. They lost a starting pitcher and right fielder to the DL, scratched a first baseman and another starter with injury, called up a rookie to eventually take the series.
At nearly 42, Bartolo Colon, whose belly jiggles like flan in an earthquake and whose helmet routinely flies off while he is batting, was the opening day starter for the Mets. Half of the Arizona Diamondbacks look like Earthworm Jim. Mat Latos has a 94.50 ERA. Did you see Puig throw from foul right to third? Cubs fans have been pissing in beer cups (called "making Coors Light") at Wrigley Field because the bathroom lines are too long.
Baseball, sport, humanity. These things are interesting because they are our stories. The same stories we've always had, with different details, made newly interesting. The problem with MLB 15 The Show as a routinely well-made baseball simulation is that routine dulls. We want to see the dropped routine fly ball, the overthrown routine intentional walk. Not a fucking properly modeled Nike® Air Max MVP Elite 2 Speed +4 cleat buyable for 600 Stubs.
When I was a little boy, Mortal Kombat was a tough sell around my home. Like most pre-adolescents of the era, I was darkly attracted to the idea of ninjas and movie stars decapitating each other in bouts of gladiatorial combat. After years of family-friendly games, MK's edgy aggressiveness seemed like tantalizing forbidden fruit and I ate it up. I played it in the arcades every chance and I couldn't wait for a home version where I could practice fatalities in the privacy of our den.
Unfortunately for me and my desire to rip the beating heart from my opponent's rib cage, my mom watched the evening news. Night after night, MK was described by reporters and senators as a murder simulator; a malicious product designed by sick men for the express purpose of desensitizing and warping young minds. It all seems hilarious and idiotic in hindsight, but at the time the concern was real. These were respected authority figures after all, why wouldn't she believe them? Soon I was banned from playing MK at the arcade, and the notion of getting a home copy was dismissed out of hand. There was a dark period of time when it looked like I'd be doomed to never enjoy the simple pleasure of hurling another Kombatant to the spiked bottom of the the Pit ever again. Tragic.
Rainbow Six has had quite an interesting history. After playing it in 1998 on a friend's PC I fell in love, and so did mostly everyone else in the gaming community. For a full decade, Ubisoft pumped out game after game, most of which were serviceable at the very least.
But, in 2008, the future of Rainbow Six was put on hold, leading to the cancellation of Patriots in 2014. Fortunately, the franchise lives on in the form of Rainbow Six Siege, and I'm really enjoying it so far based on my playtime with the alpha.
Jamestown was a wonderful shoot-em-up back when it first released on PC. With bullets blazing across the surface of a colonial Mars, it paired beautiful sprite art with epic music and cooperative local multiplayer to make something really special.
With the release of Jamestown+ on PlayStation 4, it's larger than ever.
Nintendo has been dipping its toes in the water of DLC and free-to-play with mixed results. Although it has done a great job creating worthwhile add-ons that don't feel like rushed day-one cash grabs, the whole amiibo situation has caused a lot of problems, mostly due to rare figures that sell out in seconds, locking out content behind impossible-to-obtain toys.
Yesterday, we talked about From Software Director Hidetaka Miyazaki's favorite boss fight from the Souls series. Interestingly enough it was the Old Monk from Demon's Souls, an encounter that blurred the line between a solo and multiplayer event. He had to fight to get it included in the game, and I'm glad he succeeded, as it's still one of the most unique boss fights to date.
Even having played Dark Souls II and Bloodborne after writing this particular Memory Card, I think I'm still going to have to go with Ornstein & Smough from the first Dark Souls. Take a look at the choices of some of our staff and sound off with your own!