So it’s the big PS Vita Launch week. Are you interested? Will you plunk down the $250 - $300 to buy the new handheld system, especially in light of the less than stellar performances of the PSP and the Nintendo 3DS? Will we see a quick drop in price on the Vita like we did with the 3DS? Well, only time will tell of course. While the Vita appears to have a solid release of titles rolling out with the launch it will be interesting to see if the market is going to support the system, especially in the face of growing opposition from the ipod, the iPhone and other smart phones. This week in Level Up I have reviews of Resident Evil: Revelations and Konami’s NeverDead so lets get right to the news.
IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK
MLB 2K12 Official Trailer!
2K Sports released the “Official Trailer” for Major League Baseball 2K12, set to the music track “Get Found” by Bass Drum of Death from the game’s soundtrack. The MLB 2K12 Official Trailer is 90 seconds of real-time in-game action featuring highlight clips of 2K Signature Styles for players such as Justin Verlander, C.J. Wilson, Jay Bruce, David Price, Tim Lincecum, and many more. Check out the attention to detail in the all-new catcher animations, updated logos and uniforms including the brand new Miami Marlins stadium, diving catches, 100 MPH fastballs and all-new hit types thanks to improved ball physics.
Ubisoft’s Vita Game launch
Ubisoft has released five games for PlayStation Vita handheld entertainment system, the new handheld console from Sony Computer Entertainment. A recognized pioneer and leader on new platforms, Ubisoft shipped Asphalt: Injection, Dungeon Hunter Alliance, Lumines Electronic Symphony, Michael Jackson The Experience and Rayman Origins to retail in support of the upcoming PS Vita system launch in North America .
New Trailer for Armored Core V
In a future world where the arid lands have been ravaged by war, the resistance will rise up in Armored Core V, the latest title in the renowned mech-action franchise developed by the critically acclaimed studio, FromSoftware, and releasing on March 20th in North America . In today’s video, Doomsday, NAMNamco Bandai gives players a look at the non-stop action and intense multiplayer that players will experience when the game launches on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
IAA Game of the year Awards
It’s a little quieter and less known than Spike TV’s Videogame of the Year Awards but this past week 15th annual Annual Interactive Achievement Awards (the IAAs) took place and were hosted by comedian Jay Mohr during the DICE Summit in Las Vegas . The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was named Game of the Year. Other winners included:
Best Downloadable Game: Bastion
Best Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat
Best Racing/Driving Game: Forza Motorsport 4
Best Shooter: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
Best Action Game: Batman Arkham City
Best Sports Game: FIFA Soccer 12
No DLC for Twisted Metal?
It’s hard to believe that a release as big and anticipated as Twisted metal won’t have some future download content to entice players but apparently that is the case as of right now. In a recent interview TM Designer David Jaffe stated the following regarding DLC, “Right now there are no plans. I always thought it was going to be a great game. But we weren't nursing these illusions that we were making Call of Duty in terms of sales. If it's a big enough hit I'm sure Sony won't let it wither on the vine. But right now there are no plans at all. There's no DLC plans, there's no sequel or expansion plans. We have to wait and see how it does."
Am I the only one who thinks Jaffe’s attitude, ya know, sucks? Ok I get that Sony is going to want to wait and see how the game performs in sales but why make such a seemingly definite statement about the prospect? Now look Twisted Metal could be one hell of a game but sooner or later won’t most players want additional vehicles/characters/courses? Of course, Jaffe is also the guy who recently said that story-driven games are a waste of time and money. He thinks stories have actually stunted the development of videogames. Hey Dave…not all of us our teenagers anymore who want to just button-mash with our games.
Namco Bandai announces Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for PS3
Namco Bandai has announced that Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch will have a Winter 2012 release in North America exclusively for the PlayStation 3 comp. This epic tale of a boy crossing two realities on a quest to find his mother brings together two of Japan ’s most respected entertainment companies, LEVEL-5 and Studio Ghibli, to create an RPG for the ages.
The unique fantasy adventure is developed by LEVEL-5, the studio behind the smash hits Dragon Quest VIII, Dragon Quest IX, and the Professor Layton series. For the game’s characters and animations, LEVEL-5 collaborated with the legendary Studio Ghibli, responsible for countless anime masterpieces including My Neighbour Totoro, Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away. The in-game music comes from the hand of Joe Hisaishi, the composer of the scores to over 100 films including many of Studio Ghibli’s greatest productions.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a heart-warming tale of a young boy named Oliver, who embarks on a journey into a parallel world to become a magician in an attempt to bring his mother back from the dead. Along the way Oliver makes new friends and adopts many of the wonderful creatures that inhabit the world, raising them to battle other creatures on his behalf as he takes on formidable enemies.
Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D Demo now available.
Konami has announced a playable demo version of its eagerly-awaited metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D for Nintendo 3DS is now available as a free download via the Nintendo eShop. With the full version scheduled to be released in North America on February 21st, 2012, the METAL GEAR SOLID SNAKE EATER 3D demo will allow users to experience the immersion of exploring its incredibly detailed jungle setting. The demo showcases the opening segment of the game, with series hero Snake picking a path through the swamps and foliage of a Soviet jungle in search of an imprisoned scientist.
Players will also be able to experiment with the unique camouflage elements that allow Snake to blend in with his surroundings, and familiarize themselves with the close-quarters combat techniques used to quietly neutralize guards.
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
Syndicate (Electronic Arts) PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Syndicate is the re-imagination of a cult classic franchise from 1993 - a unique action shooter set in a not too distant future, where Business is War. 2069 – No longer governed by politicians, the developed world is divided up into regions controlled by megacorporations known as Syndicates. These Syndicates have revolutionized how the consumer interacts with the digital world. No longer does the consumer require a device to access the world’s data and control their technology, they can do this at the blink of an eye via neural chip implant. Civilians flocked to be “chip’d” and enjoy all that their selected Syndicate has to offer; housing, medical, banking, insurance, education, entertainment and jobs. One complete package. One complete lifestyle. In return, the Syndicates gained unprecedented insights, and control, over the individual and their behaviour. With little governmental oversight, business has become war. The Syndicates will stop at nothing for ultimate market dominance. At the front line of this war are the Agents, the Syndicate’s bio-engineered and chip-augmented enforcers. They can breach anything in the wired world including their enemies, their weapons and the environment that surrounds them, making them the most efficient and deadly technological weapons in the world. Take on the role of Miles Kilo, Eurocorp’s latest prototype agent, and embark on a brutal action adventure of corruption and revenge.
Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D (Konami) Rated M 3DS
From the critically acclaimed director, Hideo Kojima, a new 3D experience re-imagined from one of the most popular Metal Gear Solid titles from the past, comes Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the world was torn in two between East and West. It was the beginning of a new era- the Cold War.
October 16, 1962. The President of the United States received word that the Soviet Union had deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba . The world trembled in fear as the prospect of nuclear war loomed ever closer. After days of tense negotiations, the Soviets finally agreed on the 28th to withdraw their missiles from Cuban soil. With the resolution of this incident, later to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, it seemed that humanity had survived yet another threat to its existence.
However, there was a secret condition in the deal that put an end to the crisis. Nokolai Stepanovich Sokolov, a Soviet scientist who had defected to the West, was to be sent back to the Soviet Union . The U.S. government agreed to this stipulation, and returned Sokolov back to his native land. Little did they know that Sokolov was to be the designer of a nightmarish weapon. Now, with Sokolov back in their hands, the Soviets are ready to resume its development. If this weapon is completed, it will mark the beginning of a new age of fear.
Asura’s Wrath (Capcom) Rated T PS3, Xbox 360
Asura's Wrath is an Action game in which players take on the role of the demigod Asura, and take on his quest for justice and revenge against the divine powers that cast him from heaven. The game utilizes a "Beat-em Up" gameplay mechanic and an episodic narrative storyline rooted in Asian mythology and sci-fi traditions. Additional features include: a range of unique enemies, planetary sized bosses, a second playable character and a devastating attack system.
Long ago in the realm of Shinkoku, eight deities known as "The Eight Guardian Generals" battled to protect civilization from a destructive force known only as Gohma. Asura was one of the most prominent of this group. During the victory celebration, the Emperor of Shinkoku was assassinated in a sinister plot and the blame was placed on Asura. In the middle of the commotion, Asura's wife was also murdered and his daughter kidnapped. With even his brother-in-law and rival Yasha turning against him, Asura was banished from Shinkoku. Awoken by a voice after 12,000 years, Asura vows revenge on all those who have betrayed him.
Dynasty Warriors NEXT (Koei) Rated T PS Vita
The Dynasty Warriors series let you step into the shoes of the greatest generals in Ancient China. In this Tactical Action game players can enjoy the thrill of taking down thousands of enemies and become the greatest hero in Chinese history. Dynasty Warriors NEXT, built for the PS Vita, will allow players to use the system's touch pad and sensor for intuitive controls and also allow players to connect together and enjoy an epic experience. The game will utilize the breakthrough hardware that is the PS Vita to deliver a new dimension to the famed Dynasty Warriors series!
Army Corps of Hell (Square Enix) Rated M PS Vita
Army Corps of Hell brings a new level of vicious combat, dark humor, and lightning-quick action to the PlayStation Vita. Army Corps of Hell is the consumer-platform debut title from Entersphere. As a PlayStation®Vita launch title, players can take advantage of the system's unique control features to experience the hell of war like never before!
Defeated in battle, the King of Hell is stripped of his powers and banished from his throne. Burned into a meager corpse, the dethroned king uses the last of his strength to take command of a corps of weak-minded goblins. He commands this ragtag army of bloodthirsty goblins as he fights through Hell to reclaim his throne, destroying his enemies and looting their corpses for equipment along the way.
Zuma’s Revenge (Popcap Games) Rated E DS
An irresistible force has taken our fearless frog to a newly evolved world of Zuma ruled by evil tiki bosses. Fire stone spheres to destroy the deadly stream of balls in this PopCap ball-blasting challenge! Conquer over 60 Adventure levels and battle six imposing tiki bosses. Stay sharp in five frog-boggling modes including Challenge, Iron Frog and DS-exclusive Daily Dungeon and Versus modes. Slide and hop for smarter shots, hit targets for exotic bonuses and detonate explosive power-up balls. Will you succumb to the perilous pitfalls, or can you tame the jungle and guide your agile amphibian to victory?
NeverDead (Konami) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360
NeverDead has had a bit of a rough go of it so far from game reviewers but it’s not really THAT bad. Frustrations with gameplay can make NeverDead a chore to complete but if you persevere it becomes a moderately rewarding and entertaining gaming experience. Bryce Boltzman is an immortal demon-hunter. Immortal yes but not invincible…Bryce (God what a perfectly crappy name for a hero, uhhh…anti-hero) was cursed with immortality by the Demon King Astaroth and while he can’t die, he can be hurt, and is quite often. Bryce loses limbs including his head but can retrieve them and put himself back together. He’s out for revenge against Astaroth for killing the love of his life. That basically surmises the paper-thin plot of NeverDead which is really juest a simple third-person shooter/slasher with a wisecracking hero…uhhh…anti-hero.
Bryce is shackled with a mortal partner named Arcadia Maximille (WHO thought of these names???) who is along for little reason beyond the role of eye-candy. Since she’s not immortal Bryce has to be constantly watching out for her. There’ve been games like this recently and let me just say I hate them. I want to play a videogame to blow up/hack up the baddies, not babysit a supermodel in skintight clothes (Of course I mean that only in terms of the game because if there’s a supermodel out there who needs baby-sitting…call me!).
The campaign game takes place over 8 levels and will take perhaps 10 hours or so to complete it you can get through the often buggy controls and drudging large-scale battles and bosses which themselves and take a long time to beat. Bryce has a nice arsenal to play with but blah level and enemy design makes the game feel more like work to complete than fun. As a pure shooter it works for a videogame like a Ford Escort works as a car…it does the job but don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles.
As mentioned Bryce can and does often lose his limbs in battle making for some of the most bizarre imagery impossible. If your leg is blown off you have to hop around the battlefield to collect and reattach the limb. Lose an arm holding a weapon and you can still fire that weapon. And yes you can even lose your head. Sometimes you even have to detach it yourself for utilitarian purposes. Power-ups can instantly re-generate limbs but if your head is eaten before you can re-attach it, its game over. The game can also end if Arcadia is killed and you don’t resurrect her in time.
The camera in NeverDead is completely damnable. It tends to get stuck constantly, especially in the overly crowded with crap battlefields. This can be especially bothersome when you’re trying to find your missing head while getting ripped apart by the enemies. Frustration reaches a fever pitch during boss battles. You’re stuck trying to attack a tiny sweet spot on the boss while fending off low level baddies and trying to navigate through an arena littered with obstacles. Take these frustrating battles out and the completion time might be more like 7 – 8 hours. While NeverDead presents a fun little twist on the shooter genre its gameplay is too clunky to make this worth more than an evening rental. Grade C-
Resident Evil: Revelations (Capcom) Rated M 3DS
Capcom returns the Resident Evil series to its survival horror roots (complete with limited ammo) in Resident Evil: Revelations, the second Resident Evil game for the 3DS. The game returns core characters Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield back to the fold albeit with different partners. The events in RER take place between RE4 and RE5 if you want to be exact after the founding of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA). Jill teams with her new partner, Parker Luciani to search for Chris Redfield and his new partner, Jessica Sherawat. Jill and Parker arrive at a large cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia, the last known location of Chris and Jessica. You’ll play as either Chris or Jill with the A.I. controlling their new partners. The good thing is you needn’t worry about your partners as they can’t be killed.
Your explorations of the sea vessel will ooze with tension and atmosphere in more ways than one. Telltale signs of danger and death are all about you from blood that drips out of ceiling grates to movements that you catch a fleeting glimpse of when you first open the door to a new room. RE:R truly takes the series back to what fans enjoyed most…a true horrific game where claustrophobic rooms and corridors seem to close in on you and you have to do your best to conserve your limited about of ammunition. The threats here are not the zombies of old but rather the T-Abyss virus created mutations. Some of these will shamble about like zombies of old but others have different modes of locomotion and are amorphous in their ability to move about and attack when you think nothing is there.
The sections of careful exploration and puzzle-solving are neatly meshed with sections of harrowing battles against waves of misshapen creatures. In one part, Jill and Parker are rendered unconscious and awake separately, leaving Jill to have to explore for a time by herself. It’s one of the more taut moments of a game that excels in a high degree of tension. The corridors are dark and since you can’t look around corners you find your self often inching along until you can look down a new corridor just enough to make sure no surprises are waiting. You need to look around and examine everything that can be examined. Useful items (like ammo and keys) can be found in lockers and such and you’ll need everything you can find. Fortunately there is help in this area thanks to the Genesis Device. This handheld scanner can detect hidden objects and is invaluable.
Your characters can carry several weapons at once and are upgradable. They can add additional punch to regular weapons and there are special weapons that can be found as well like rocket launchers. If you played the previous RE game for the 3DS, Resident Evil: Mercenaries, you’ll have the controls down pat already. The circle pad is used for moving, looking, and aiming. The right shoulder button brings up your laser targeting, and the Y button fires. It works well although in a pitched fight you tend to move with more urgency than needed and aiming can be a bit tricky. The game also supports the 3DS circle Pad Pro add-on.
RE:R is one of the best looking 3DS games yet. The cut scenes are smooth and the character and creature models are just gorgeous (and creepy!). The ship’s design is beautifully detailed. There’s even some levels that require swimming underwater that truly amp up the terrifying atmosphere. The single-player campaign is robust with a solid 10 hours of gameplay. There is also a two player co-op mode that can be played locally or over the Internet where you and your partner fight through various levels from the campaign, sweeping areas clear of enemies as quickly as possible. Resident Evil: Revelations is one of the best 3DS games released so far and truly shows what the system is capable of in the right hands. Grade A-
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