Sunday, March 30, 2008

Games That Never Were #3: Vectorman (PS2)

Back in 2003 Sega had plans to resurrect the fan-favorite Vectorman series onto a new generation. Only this entry wasn't produced by the original developers and was a first-person shooter, a departure from the side-scrolling action Genesis classics.

Although the early screen shots looked decent enough, the game had a poor reception at E3 2003. Here's what popular gaming magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) had to say about the new-gen Vectorman during this time period:

"It's still early, but ol' V-man isn't looking so hot. The visuals were dull and lackluster, and the gameplay felt like a garbled mix of Ratchet & Clank and Red Faction."

Ouch. Possibly not wanting to harm the series's otherwise sound reputation, Sega quietly canned the project a few months later.


Past entries in this series:

#1 - Capcom Fighting All-Stars
#2 - Frame City Killer

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Microsoft Announces Limited Edition GTA IV 360 Console

In an attempt to build up anticipation for the upcoming Xbox 360 release of Grand Theft Auto IV, Microsoft has been giving away limited edition 360's exclusively to the gaming press. That's right - these bad boys won't be available to the public. Combine that with then news that only 500 of these will be produced and you have one incredible collectible on your hands. Who knows what kind of obsurdly high prices these consoles will fetch once they inevitably hit eBay?

I'm definitely a sucker for limited edition consoles, and it would definitely be dandy if this practice was more standard in the Western gaming market. Hey, you guys in charge of these consoles.... yeah, you - Nintendo... Microsoft.... Sony.... Give us more of these, and start making 'em readily available for the public to purchase.


Related article:

Custom Consoles: Why Not Let Your Console Stand Out?

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Review: Devil May Cry 4 (Xbox 360)

Platform: Xbox 360 (Also on PS3)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release: February 2008

Devil May Cry 4 is an engrossing, memorable experience that will keep you glued to your console for hours on end.

My only prior experience with the Devil May Cry series was with the universally-panned second entry. That is to say, I was still incredibly eager to check out the next-gen debut of one of Capcom's most highly-regarded series. Although the game is a wee-bit repetitive in some aspects and may fall short in the sound department, Devil May Cry 4 is still a highly-captivating title that will satisfy any gamer who cherishes the action genre.

You initially play as Nero, but he is not the sole character you control within the entire course of the game. You do eventually get to control the original demon slayer Dante, and both characters function uniquely. Both have their own sets of different moves (for example, Nero has a special gripping hand and Dante has sword styles that only he is able to obtain).

Unfortunately, both characters do not progress through entirely separate levels. Instead, you'll hack, slash, and shoot through the same stages you've played before but with new objectives and puzzles to solve. Also, you'll have to play the same bosses multiple times. Fortunately, the bosses are extremely satisfying to defeat, so that's not an enormous issue - but it would have been far more appealing to slay new bosses as opposed to ones you've fought before. The soundtrack also falls extremely short. Every time you battle an enemy the same atrocious rock song blares through your speakers over and over. For a game with such an appealing world it's a shame that Capcom didn't bother putting any effort into the sound design of this title. All of these flaws make the title feel a bit repetitive at times.

That is to say, there's no legit major issues with the game play itself. As mentioned, there are several fighting styles, and whether you're gunning or slashing, it all feels very satisfying. The level designs are for the most part very well done, and most of the characters feel worthwhile.

Difficulty-wise, I'd say the Devil May Cry 4 is one of those titles that gets it just right. I found this release to be challenging in some parts but not to the point where I'd get stuck for hours at a time. There are two difficulty modes to chose from, so whether you're a newbie or a series veteran, you will have a blast. And while this may not an obscenely large 70 hour epic, you will definitely want to replay Devil May Cry 4 for the achievements. Due to the clever way Capcom implemented them they add a surprisingly large amount of replay value to the title.

Visually, Devil May Cry 4 is a tour-de-force. Beautiful worlds, superb character models, and thrilling boss designs make the world come to life.

Although some unfortunate design flaws may drag down the experience a bit, Devil May Cry 4 is still a must play. It is an engrossing, memorable experience that will keep you glued to your console for hours on end.

Rating: 8.7 (out of 10)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Super Smash. Bros Brawl Finally Hits Stores... But With Some Disc Issues

My Wii has been sitting untouched for quite some time now, so I (and millions of others of eager gamers) decided to pick up the latest title in what may be Nintendo's most popular franchise: Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Although my shiny new copy works fine, many gamers have been complaining of their copies not functioning on their Wii consoles.

The problem? According to the big N itself, dust:

"Super Smash Bros. Brawl utilizes a double-layer disc which has a large memory capacity. A very small percentage of Wii consoles may have trouble consistently reading data off this large capacity disc if there is some contamination on the lens of the disc drive. Nintendo has specialized cleaning equipment that can resolve this problem. (Please do NOT attempt to clean the lens yourself, as you may damage the system.)" says Nintendo on their website.

I'm sure more than a few gamers are absolutely devastated by this news. I mean, if you went to the midnight release last night you'd know what I'm talking about... Nintendo fans of all ages were literally taking flips (yes, that actually happened) and snapping photos of themselves with their prized new copies, overly excited to play it... well, they're just going to have to wait a little while longer to play Brawl. In the mean time, why not read a good book, or, perhaps, Pro-Gamer? Now if you excuse me, I have to unlock Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake.


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