You’ve been waiting over a year and now Mass Effect 3 is here and we’ve got our comprehensive review this week. “Wow” wasn’t do the game justice! Not a lot of news this week but one interesting rumor that came out is that the next Xbox console may not include a disc drive. Personally I think that’s BS but it’s still interesting conversation.
IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK…
Konami’s month of horror begins with the launch of Silent Hill Downpour
Konami announced that players can continue to piece together the Silent Hill mystery with Silent Hill Downpour, the most expansive and horrifying Silent Hill to-date, available now in North America for PlayStation3 and Xbox 360. Silent Hill Downpour expands on the exploration theme of the franchise both design-wise and through psychological torture, ambient story, horrific enemies and self-evaluative questions of despair.
Silent Hill Downpour follows the story of Murphy Pendleton, a convicted felon, who has been incarcerated for several years. Due to his history at Ryall State Prison, he is being transferred to nearby Wayside Maximum Security Penitentiary—but a freak accident cuts the journey short. Waking up in a forest next to the wrecked bus, Murphy has a clear shot at freedom; unfortunately he makes his way into the sleepy town of Silent Hill where mysterious locals welcome him into a slowly developing personal hell.
Silent Hill Downpour offers an all new and updated Silent Hill experience that visually stands out from the current competition. Utilizing Unreal 3 technology, the game brings the town of Silent Hill, its characters, creatures and the alternate hell world into vivid and spectacular display. The latest in the genre defining Survival Horror franchise offers free-roaming and deep exploration that will take players into all-new 'Side Quests' unlocking areas within the game, special items and bonus content.
SEGA's Yakuza: Dead Souls (PS3) Available This Week
Yakuza: Dead Souls will be hitting stores this week. The latest installment of the legendary Yakuza series will be available exclusively on PlayStation 3 system.
Taking place in the well-known Kamurocho district, Dead Souls sees the return of the charismatic Yakuza hero Kazuma Kiryu, accompanied on his adventures by three other playable characters: Shun Akiyama, Ryuji Goda and Goro Majima. In Dead Souls, not only will Kazuma have to go deep into the underworld to rescue his kidnapped step-daughter, but now he will also have to face an army of zombies laying waste to his beloved Tokyo streets!
In addition to melee combat featuring punches, kicks and during fights, Yakuza: Dead Souls features gunplay for the first time in the Yakuza series where everything from pistols, machine guns and rocket launchers can be employed against your enemies. Just remember to save some ammo, in case you run into something far more terrifying than zombies! With all the depth, story and the plethora of mini-games of a Yakuza title, plus the addition of exciting shoot-outs and previously unplayable characters Ryuji Goda and Goro Majima, Yakuza: Dead Souls is definitely worth dying for.
The Time Has Come To Shoot Many Robots
Ubisoft announced that Shoot Many Robots , a 2.5D side-scrolling shooter game, is now available on Xbox LIVE at a cost of 800 Microsoft Points and on PlayStation Network for $9.99.
Developed by Demiurge Studios and published by Ubisoft, Shoot Many Robots stars P. Walter Tugnut, a hillbilly who stockpiles guns, ammo and beer in his dilapidated RV, awaiting the inevitable robot apocalypse. When the abandoned factory in the distance begins producing robots on its own, Walter sets off in his RV on a robot-killing rampage, hoping to save humanity from an onslaught of robot hordes.
For those who don’t want to play alone, Shoot Many Robots features online four-player as well as two-player local co-op, which throws players into a tidal wave of degenerated robots with an array of weaponry that would make any shooter enthusiast proud. Plus, gamers can tailor their gaming style by equipping Walter with countless combinations of items.
No disc drive for the next Xbox console?
The latest rumors regarding the next Xbox console suggests Microsoft's will ship it without what a disc drive. Partners of Microsoft's have been told the new system will make use of a solid-state card storage instead of the traditional disc-based media that has been the staple for many years now. This directly contrasts previous reports that Microsoft would abandon DVD in favor of Blu-ray and its superior storage capacity.
This rumor raises a number of issues. Without a disc drive your Xbox can no longer double as a DVD player. What about backwards compatibility with Xbox or Xbox 360 games? Certainly if the games come on flash cards or SD cards there are some benefits such as faster loading times and less opportunity for damage to the unit since there would be no moving parts. This is one we will keep an eye on.
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
Kid Icarus: Uprising (Rated E) Nintendo 3DS
Medusa has been resurrected and is gathering the underworld forces of darkness to fulfill her ambition. You play as an angel named Pit who is bestowed the power of flight from Palutena, the Goddess of Light. Repel the Medusa's underworld army with your choice of an array of weapons like: Blades, Claws, Bow, Cannon, Mace, Staff and others that you will discover along your journey. Multiplayer mode allows for competitive gameplay locally or over a wireless Internet connection. Its time for Medusa to meet the power of light and only you can guide Pit to victory!
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Capcom) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is a hybrid Horror-Survival/squad-based Third-person shooter game set between the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game features mission-based gameplay as multiple playable characters from the Umbrella Security Service, each with special abilities. Additional features include: a wide array of enemies (zombie, human and other), four-player support in the campaign, and the ability to play as iconic Resident Evil characters in an online mode.
It is September 1998 and the action centers on the ill-fated Raccoon City . When the Umbrella Corporation learns that one of its top scientists, Dr. William Birkin, plans to sell the experimental G-Virus to the US Government they order an elite team of Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S.) soldiers led by Hunk into their secret research facility to secure the only known sample of the virus. The operation takes a turn for the worse when Dr. Birkin injects himself with the last vial, mutating into a deadly creature, G-Birkin and over powering the team. During the battle the deadly T-Virus is leaked into the sewers and spread through Raccoon City , infecting the entire population.
Hearing of the outbreak, the U.S.S. team is given fresh orders to destroy all evidence of Umbrella's involvement and silence anyone that might discover the truth. The Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S.) are also deployed to help contain the situation. Meanwhile the US Government has quarantined the city and dispatched its own team of special operatives to determine the source of the mysterious outbreak. Caught up in the chaos are rookie police officer Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield.
Ninja Gaiden 3 (Tecmo Koei) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360
Ninja Gaiden 3 is an Action-Adventure game in which players take on the role of the iconic video game ninja, Ryu Hayabusa. The Ninja Gaiden game series has a long history stretching from the original 1980's arcade classic, all the way through more recent games developed for Next Generation consoles by the legendary Tecmo-Koei game development group, Team Ninja. Ninja Gaiden 3 embraces the evolution of the series by incorporating gameplay scenarios new to the franchise, such as a closer look at the backstory of Ryu Hayabusa, the blending of realistic and modern combat situations with classic ninja warrior skills, more accessible yet still challenging gameplay and franchise first multiplayer game options.
One of the most iconic characters in video game history is set to be unmasked to the world. Ryu Hayabusa's name and legacy resonates with video game players the world over, and yet, there is so much that the world does not know about the mysterious man behind the ninja mask. Ninja Gaiden 3 aims to take players on a journey with their hero Hayabusa once more, but this time they'll see more from their protagonist than they ever imagined. For the first time in the beloved series, players will get a look at the world through Hayabusa's torn eyes, and find out what drives him to fight, defend and kill.
At the center of the conflict this time around is a masked man whose motivations and goals are unclear. Over the course of the game, more is explained and unraveled which will keep players mesmerized. Through mysterious powers, which is seen through his arm, Hayabusa finds himself changing - and the lines between hero and villain, good and evil, are blurred forever.
Armored Core V (Namco Bandai) Rated T PS3, Xbox 360
The ARMORED CORE series is renowned in the mech action genre for its intense one-on-one battles and customization options. ARMORED CORE V is a new entry that revolutionizes the series with more content than the previous games, a completely new atmosphere, and a robust offline mode. In addition, the online mode has been newly designed to focus on huge team-based battles on a global scale.
Asura’s Wrath (Capcom) Rated T PS3
Asura’s Wrath is an Anime and Asian mythology inspired action game that has a lot of promise but ultimately comes up a bit short as a must-own. While not possessing a story that has much originality, Asura’s Wrath still manages to get you interested in its main character. Asura is one of eight Heavenly guardians who is accused murdering the Emperor, after killing his wife and kidnapping his daughter Mithra, the other seven Guardian Generals toss Asura out of Heaven and down to Earth. 12,000 years later, Asura escapes from his prison to find that his former comrades, now dubbed "The Seven Deities", have been using Mithra's power to amplify their own. Asura has to take on the forces of the other Deities to save his daughter and gain his revenge.
Let me just start by saying I don’t know anyone who truly likes quick time events in game. Some of us tolerate them, some don’t care for them, and a lot of gamers positively hate them. If you’re a member of the latter than you might want to steer clear of Asura’s Wrath because there are a lot of them in here. The combat system is literally built on a foundation of QTEs. On the other hand…umm…wow Asura’s Wrath puts on about the biggest, loudest, most over-the-top show you’ve ever seen, and I mean WAY over the top! Heavily inspired by some of the more outrageous Anime, you’ll see Asura hit bad guys so hard they’ll go flying into mountains and threaten to bring them crashing down or go flying off the surface of the planet. There’s a sword that looks big enough to cleave the moon into two halves and someone’s trying to slice Asura with it. Rarely have I seen a game this bombastic.
The gameplay is meant to feel like a TV-style presentation as you fight your way through 18 episodes which come with beginning and ending titles and credits. Each one is a unique battle or test for Asura and range from all out beat-em-ups, to rail-shooters, to others that are truly sublime like the Hot Springs level. That said Asura’s combat system is almost simplistic to the point of becoming monotonous. Despite his heavenly powers Asura is little more than a button-masher. Even the quick-time events rarely require little more than the push of a single button. Thus despite the often well done level design the game cannot escape its repetitiveness. On the plus side it’s probably a good choice for an entry level game for kids but for experience gamers it plays almost like an interactive cartoon than it does an actual game.
An obvious fondness for Anime films and Manga is on display throughout the game and the gorgeous scenery never fails to catch your eye but this wears off quickly and you find yourself wanting more to do. For $60 there’s just not enough meat on the bones to this game to attract more than the casual gamer. Grade C+
Mass Effect 3 (Electronic Arts) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360, PC
It’s a rare game that gets the kind of hype and build-up that Mass Effect 3 has received over the past year. It’s even more rare when a game actually lives up to the almost impossible expectations. Mass Effect 3 IS that Game! This is the conclusion to an epic, galaxy-spanning trilogy that manages to hit the ball out of the park despite all of the pressure. It is a game that promises to tax you on an emotional level unlike any game before it because the decisions you make, no matter how well-intended, lead to outcomes where you may find yourself forced to turn your back on longtime allies. And you would not want it any other way.
Everything in the first two games has led to this crucial moment…the moment our galaxy fully realizes the threat of The Reapers who appear every 50,000 years to destroy all organic life in the galaxy. Long thought mere myth, the Reapers are now attacking throughout the galaxy and indeed, the game opens with a Reaper attack on earth as its giant war machines land, destroying everything in their path while their hive-like husk creatures begin their assault on the human population. The heart-wrenching scope of ME3 hits you in the face right from the get go. While trying to escape the Reaper attack, the game’s returning hero and main character (you) Shepard encounters a young boy hiding in an airshaft. Before he can rescue him, however, the boy scuttles away. Later, Shepard is relieved to see the boy being escorted onto a rescue shuttle…only to watch in horror as it’s blasted out of the sky. Mass Effect 3 is filled with many moments like this that immerse you into its storyline unlike any game before it. As with previous editions, the decisions you make throughout the game will ultimately effect how the story unfolds. Whether you play as a paragon and try to help out any citizens you encounter, from the guy just trying to get passage on a shuttle or go more rogue being all business (not to mention a bit of a jerk) and concentrating full on the war effort.
It’s truly almost impossible to lean completely one way or the other. Shepard is going to have to end up going to some nasty places and doing some nasty things if there is any hope to defeat the Reapers. He’ll have to leverage favors in order to get long-warring rival factions to drop their squabbles and turn their attentions toward the reapers. This involves getting down into the muck and allying with those whom Shepard would normally be an enemy with. Hopefully you’ve saved your game file from ME2 as you’ll find that decisions Shepard made in the previous game will play a role here. But even if you didn’t, don’t let that deter you. You’re in no way put in a weaker position by starting out with ME3 as your first ME experience. You just lose a bit of the background and depth of the story.
The Galaxy has seemingly one hope…a device that the ancient Protheans were working on…a massive weapon dubbed “The Crucible” may be the only thing that can defeat the Reapers. But the weapon is mere blueprints and speculation. It will take a lot of time and resources to build and until then, the rest of the races in the Galaxy must do all then can to slow the Reapers down. As if that were not bad enough, you also have to contend with the shadowy Cerberus group and its leader “The Illusive Man” who have their own plans for the Prothean technology.
ME3 is a blend of Sci-Fi adventure, RPG, and shooter and, in fact, you can customize your game at the beginning or throughout. If you’re not into all of the dialog and decisions you can play it in Action Mode where conversations will have automatic replies and a normal combat difficulty. In Story Mode, conversations will have manual replies and a minimal combat difficulty. In RPG Mode, conversations will have manual replies and a normal combat difficulty. To truly experience the game as it is meant to be played, you need to play on RPG mode and of course the difficulty mode is also customizable. It does pay to walk around and explore everything and eavesdrop on conversations. These often lead to important and some not so important side missions. But in the end they will all gain you experience and credits in order to upgrade your characters and their weapons and abilities. But be careful, the more you scan in a system, the greater attention you draw to yourself and the reapers will soon come to investigate.
BioWare has done a magnificent job and listened to its fans about what they liked and didn’t like in ME2. Gone is the tedious process of having to scan planets and launch probes to mine minerals. This universally despised aspect of ME2 needless stretched a long campaign even longer. Scanning is still a part of the game but rather than scanning for elements, EDI (your ship’s AI) now scans to find artifacts or other items of interest which result in side missions and gathering assets for the war effort. Gathering assets for the war becomes one of the major points in ME3. Also gone is the systems hacking mini-games. These plentiful pains in the ass presented no challenge and again merely served to slow the game down.
The combat system hasn’t been overhauled but it has been tweaked for the better. Shepard plays more fluidly, jumping, rolling, and sliding for cover and shooting around or over said cover. Your skill tree and ability wheel is basically the same. You can bring this up at any point during battle to use one of your powers or weapon/ammo types, or have one of your squad use one of theirs although they will also use these on their own. The enemy AI is better than ever. They are more inclined to grab cover or try to attack you from a flank or higher position. They also move more quickly requiring more skill on your part to aim. In short, the battles have a much more tactical edge than they did in ME2 and you’ll want to plan more carefully whom you select you’re your missions, where to position them during battles, and what strategies to employ. In addition to the weapons of ME2 there are a trove of new and powerful new weapons added to ME3
Besides Shepard you’re reunited with several old friends including Liara, Miranda Lawson, Ashley Williams, Garrus, Grunt, Mordin Solus, Jeff “Joker” Moreau, Kasumi, etc…although its important to note that if you are starting ME3 with an ME2 save, most of these characters only appear if they survived the events of the previous game. One important new character is EDI who manufactures an artificial body for herself and can now join Shepard on missions.
Mass Effect 3 is a dazzling game. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a game whose visuals were this clear. The resolution of the gardens on Citadel are simply astounding! The detail on the various alien races makes them appear even more lifelike. There are some minor glitches. There’s the occasional stutter and momentary freeze, sometimes the voice synching is off just a tad but nothing that in anyway effects the enjoyment of the game. The voice acting is superb and features the talents of Keith David, Lance Henricksen, Martin Sheen, among others. Gameplay can easily take 40 – 50 hours to complete if you do all the side missions and longer depending on your difficulty level.
Mass Effect 3 is not a perfect game but it’s quite likely as close as you can possibly get. Its taut, many-layered storyline, fantastic characters, great gameplay, and long campaign make this a certain candidate for game of the year honors. Grade A
COMMENTS AND RESPONSES
Showing items 1 - 5 of 5
ADD A COMMENT
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.
Mania is the premiere online destination for fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and anime entertainment. It is the largest community offering profiles, video, science fiction movies, sci fi TV, art, sci fi comics, photos, cheats, blogs, science fiction books, forums and feedback. Mania offers insider entertainment industry info and original content for science fiction, fantasy, and horror entertainment genres including: video games, comics, gadgets, movies, television, toys, music, books, DVDs and more.