Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Lesson on How NOT To Revive an Old Game Series

Although the "Ready 2 Rumble" boxing series was never my cup of tea, none of the past series entries have received the type of scathing backlash that the latest Wii release (titled 'Revolution') has.

A series previously owned by Midway (who sold the license for their boxing franchise off after having troubling financial issues) and now the property of Atari, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Revolution was supposed to be a casual-friendly revival for this once moderately popular series. The Ready 2 Rumble name has been out of the loop for nearly eight years, after all (its last appearance being the early GameBoy Advance rendition of Round 2 in Spring 2001), so what better time for a Renaissance-style resurrection than now?

Unfortunately, Ready 2 Rumble Revolution looks as if its not the type of comeback that fans have been looking for. Like a harrowed sports legend past his prime and only dirtying his memory by making a pitiful reappearance, Revolution has received horrendously bad reviews thus far. Game Informer went as far to give it their lowest score possible (an appalling 1 out of 10, something that hasn't been given out to a single title in their publication for ages). Gamespot gave it a slightly higher (but still pitiful) 3.5 out of 10, noting that Revolution had an excellent amount of potential but that the atrocious controls and lame, stereotypical characters ruin the entire game.

From the poor recreation of boxing on Nintendo's original Wii Sports pack-in to Ready 2 Rumble Revolution (as well as the glut of shovel ware boxing titles found on the system in-between those two releases), no developer has gotten this sports genre correct on the Wii yet. This is a shame, as the Wii's unique controls could very well make for an engaging boxing experience if done right. Oh well.... maybe EA could release one of their acclaimed Fight Night titles on Nintendo's system in the future, provided it's not one of their dumbed-down "All Play" versions.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Play Control Wii Releases: How Are the Reviews?

I've always found it mind-blowing that gamers would be quick to criticize companies such as EA (who would release gluts of annual games such as Madden and Need for Speed ad naseum) for milking game series for all they're worth yet they'd be the same people first in line to purchase the newest incarnation of the DS from Nintendo or an updated version of a Metal Gear Solid release (such as the Essentials collection or the Substance upgrades) from Konami.

I'd say that the recently released New Play Control series re-confirms that Nintendo rehashes their releases more than any other company. For those who are unfamiliar with the Wii re-releases of Pikmin and Mario Power Tennis, these are the same exact titles that appeared on the Gamecube years ago except with new inferior cover art, higher prices, slightly upgraded visuals for Mario Power Tennis and motion controls. That's it.

New Play Control! Pikmin has garnered a 77% average thus far, and despite its mostly favorable reviews UGO makes a great point about this soulless rehash:

"New Play Control! Pikmin exemplifies Nintendo’s “most profit from least effort” strategy. Like the no frills Virtual Console emulations to the last-gen Wii hardware, this game’s a money grab barely disguised by a low price tag and abandoned potential. Why isn’t Pikmin 2 on the same disc? Why isn’t their bonus content to warrant a re-purchase? Why are we paying $30 for a modified launch title for a dead console? ".

According to IGN, Mario Power Tennis' controls have actually been downgraded on its way over to the Wii. When commenting on its game play, IGN has said this:

"What was once a great game has been pruned and morphed into lots of waggle, unreliable motion control, and a game with very little control over ball placement."

So far, New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis has received a mediocre 65% average from Game Rankings.

Overall, although these games will probably see much success due to the casual market, I'm hoping they flop at retail in order to prevent such worthless cash-ins in the future.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Xbox 360: The Best of the Bargains

It is important to be money-conscious in today's poor economy. Here are some of the best Xbox 360 bargains on the market right now, each title delivering great value with great game play.

NBA Street: Homecourt

The NBA Street series has always been undeniably addictive, and Street’s first next-gen outing is no exception. Homecourt’s online play and replay-packed Homecourt Challenge mode will keep you hooked for months. I ordered my copy brand new off a seller on for a paltry $5, which is an absolute bargain for what I consider to be the best basketball game on the market right now.

Project Gotham Racing 3

Project Gotham Racing 3 was an instant hit as an Xbox 360 launch game. Thus, since it sold so well, the market is now flooded with cheap used copies. Available for about the same price of an average fast-food meal (used copies typically go for around less than $4), PGR3 may be old but the solid racing game play is anything but antiquated.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2

Who would have thought that one of the best shooters on the 360 could also be one of the cheapest? I actually prefer the challenging strategic squad-based game play to more action-packed fair like Call of Duty. You can easily track down a copy of this top-notch shooter for less than $15.


GUN was shunned by most next-gen gamers due to its lackluster, PS2-esque visuals. However, if you can get past the mediocre graphics you will find an enjoyable (if brief) Wild West action romp with a fascinating open-world design. GUN on the 360 usually runs from around $10-$15, and is well-worth the price of admission.

Naruto: Rise of a Ninja

It’s really telling about the quality of this product that I – someone who doesn’t even watch the anime or read the manga that Rise of a Ninja is based on – would enjoy this release so much. The fantastic, cel-shaded visuals really pull you into Naruto’s world and the exploration and action bits are an absolute blast. Naruto: Rise of a Ninja is $12 well spent.

Burnout Paradise

Some design flaws prevent Burnout Paradise from achieving absolute racing greatness, but at its new low price of $19.99 there is no excuse not to pick up such a blazingly fast and fun racer.

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