Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fresh New Xbox 360 Platinum Hits Announced

If you’re looking for some high-quality, top-tier Xbox 360 games on the cheap then the announcement of eight new Platinum Hits titles will excite you.

Joining the few games released on the line last year and the recently released Platinum Hits version of Fight Night Round 3 will be the following bestsellers:

Battlefield II: Modern Combat
Burnout Revenge
Call of Duty 2
Dead or Alive 4
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
Rockstar Game’s Table Tennis
Top Spin 2

Ultimately, it’s quite disappointing that these games will debut at $10 more than last generation’s line of Platinum Hits. Considering the majority of the titles listed already go for $30 the only new features these games are ultimately receiving are appalling new box-arts. Also, I was bummed to see that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion didn’t make the cut this time around. It’s not hard to see why though – Oblivion will be hitting the PS3 soon for a staggering sixty bones. Oh well, at least most of these titles are worth a purchase…

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy President's Day 2007!

Damn, has it really been one year since I posted about President’s Day 2006? Shockingly, yes…. The time just flies! Once again, Happy President’s Day. I hope everyone got the day off to just kick back, relax, and enjoy some games or whatnot. It was a good day for me, but it’s off to the usual misery of work tomorrow. Before we know it it’ll be President’s Day 2008….

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The GBA Titles That Deserve the 'Players' Choice' Honor

It was rather swell news for Nintendo fans last year when the big N finally rolled out a line of GBA Players’ Choice titles. Despite sufficient sales of the games that made it to the line after being re-branded, we’ve yet to see any new Players’ Choice GBA titles since last fall's re-releases of Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green.

However, whether we’ll see any new games added to the line this year or not, we all know the possible ones will be predictable, typical chart-topping Nintendo-published fare starring the usual suspects of popular Nintendo characters (Mario, Link, Pikachu, etc). Why doesn’t Nintendo take a risk and re-release some fantastic but overlooked titles through the years that found their way onto the highly-successful portable? Here are the titles that definitely deserve to bear the Player’s Choice name but unfortunately won’t any time soon…

Shining Soul II

This highly playable, addictive hack n’ slash RPG is the closest game to capture the spirit and playability of Diablo II on a portable system. Nicely designed dungeons, great anime-influenced art and fun multiplayer action make this the handheld hack n’ slash to beat. I’m just hoping for a third entry in the series…

Rayman 3

Yeah, so it doesn’t star a pudgy plumber, but Rayman 3 for the GBA is a true gem of a platformer. Cleverly designed levels and a charming main character make it worth a try, and you’ll be amazed the first time you see this one in motion… the beautiful 2D visuals are a sight to behold and this may be the best looking game to ever grace the Gameboy Advance.

Lunar Legend

I like me a good portable role-playing game, and in the field of RPG’s on the GBA, Lunar Legend is in a class of its own. Although it’s brief (for an RPG – experienced players will plow through this in less than twenty hours) and somewhat simple, the storyline is one that you’ll want to follow all the way through. It’s just too bad that the handheld follow-up on the DS, Lunar Dragon Song, turned out to such a massive disappointment.

The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood

The GBA version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 was definitely a quality port, but I’d take this one over that seeing as this is an original release. Exclusive to the GBA, KOF: EX2 Howling Blood rocked Nintendo’s portable with solid controls, nice visuals and of course, that classic game play that the KOF series if known for.

WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$

Sure, this one’s published by Nintendo, but unlike most of the Nintendo produced titles on the GBA it didn’t sell by the truckloads. That is unfortunate, however, as this is one of the most enjoyable original releases on the GBA. The second-long mini-games kept me glued to be my GBA for quite some time and they will bring out the soda-loving, sugar-addicted ADD kid in you.

Sonic Advance 2

Sonic Advance is not exactly something I’d consider “overlooked” as it was a high-seller for the system for weeks, but it’s such a great title that it deserves to be on the Players’ Choice line. When Sonic Advance 2 hit stores I, and many others, hailed it as the best Sonic title in years. Although it’s not quite as replayable and enjoyable as a good ol’ Mario adventure, Sonic Advance 2 is a damn fine game nonetheless.

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

Last, but certainly not least (as I consider this to be the best title listed here) comes a title you’d never knew you would love so much until you gave it a try yourself. Yup, a farming simulation. Harvesting crops and taking care of animals may seem boring on paper, but once you give this one a try you’ll be sucked in for months. Warning: Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town is highly addictive and is a must-play for someone who is willing to try something unique.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Shamefully Bad Game Box Art of the Moment (#5)

Although there’s far too many of them released every year, current Mega Man titles in today’s day and age sport some of the classiest and stylish box art of any game titles on the market. Providing great, eye-catching box art that stand out from most of the bland-looking art at the local game store, some of my favorite more recent Mega Man box arts include Mega Man X8 (PS2, 2004), Mega Man Anniversary Collection (PS2, Xbox, GC, 2004-2005), and pretty much any of the numerous Japanese box arts (titled Rockman on their side of the pond) that have come out for any console after the PSX.

However, as stylish and eye-pleasing as the ones mentioned above may be, the infamous, well-known classic Mega Man box art on NES is anything but. I mean, look at it! C’mon, inspect a bit closer – your eyes might burn from its horrendousness, but at least you’ll be able to experience something that few have dared to do before. Mega Man has a gun in this one? Last time I checked, (which was yesterday when I popped in Mega Man Anniversary Collection for the Xbox), he had a nifty arm cannon. His facial expression on this horrendous piece of art is rather interesting, as well. Uh, judging by that, this Mega Man imposter seems disapproving of what he’s doing. Or, if you want to be childish, it seems as if he has an urge to use the rest room. Maybe some one at Capcom was tripped out when they designed this piece of filth. Shameful indeed. Oh well, at least includes an amazing one megabit of memory!

Still, as awful as this art is, Mega Man’s debut is just… mega good! (Sorry for the pun, but this post has put me in a rather cheesy mood). Just toss out this old box if you happen to dig it up in your closet.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Call of Duty Make Its Rather... Unwanted Return

In the age of re-releases and micro transactions, game publishers will do anything, no matter how unfair or deceiving, to gain an extra buck. One of the many cases of this was the re-release of Call of Duty 2 on the Xbox 360 last summer. Titled Call of Duty 2: Game of the Year Edition: the original game wasn’t even a year old but still saw a rehash with added content that basically shafted those who purchased the original (and those who bought it at launch had to shell out extra dough for the added content via Xbox Live Marketplace).

Now, after a mere four months of Activision’s high budget Call of Duty 3 hitting shelves, Call of Duty 3: Gold Edition will follow. Set for a March release, this updated version will contain some fresh new maps previously only available to purchase through Xbox Live Marketplace and some other currently unannounced new features.

The state of gaming is not all untainted and seemingly minor things such as micro-transactions and quick re-releases are definitely going to hurt us, the gamers who purchase these discs, in the long-run. Consider whose pockets you’re fattening when you buy new content on Xbox Live Marketplace and how many developers are removing content from games just so they can make us buy it through micro transactions and rehashes. This is in addition to game prices increasing and ads being more abundant in games as well.

The real question: Will people want to rush out to get their hands on another Call of Duty when it drops like many did with the previous installments in the series after hearing this news? Well, like they say, money talks.

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