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Archive for March, 2013

Review #500!!!

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Developer: Next Level Games
Publisher: Nintendo of America
Genre: 3D Action
Release Date: 03/24/2013

If you’re a longtime reader of my video game writing, then you know I’m generally not a fan of Mario themed games AT ALL. I can count on one hand the number of Mario games I enjoy and that includes Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.. Knowing this, you’re probably wondering why I chose Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon as my 500th review. Well, there are three reasons. The first is that I really enjoyed the original Luigi’s Mansion for the Nintendo GameCube back in the day. It wasn’t a keeper by any means, but it was a nice launch title that along with Super Monkey Ball helped tide me over until games like Eternal Darkness came out. The second is that Dark Moon was developed by Next Level Games, a dev studio I feel is criminally underrated with titles like Spider-Man: Friend or Foe and Captain America: Super Soldier under their belt. Finally, I was going to do Lego City: Undercover as #500 but my rabbit ended up getting extremely sick and it’s much easier to take a 3DS into the room he’s recovering in than my sixty inch plasma and Wii U. SO here we are. Is Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon a fine follow up to a game that was released well over a decade ago, or is it a first party fumble for the Big N? Let’s find out.
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Review #499

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity
Developer: Chunsoft
Publisher: Nintendo of America
Genre: Roguelike RPG
Release Date: 03/24/2013

Although originally created by Western developers, rougelike style RPGS have become little more than an obscure niche subgenre on this side of the Pacific while still heartily embraced by the East. That all seemed poised to change with the release of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team for the Game Boy Advance and Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo DS back in 2006. The games were quite successful, both critically and financially and Red Rescue Team even took our “Game Boy Advance Game of the Year” award in 2006 – the last title to ever do so. Nintendo and Chunsoft smelled money with the series and it’s since become the longest running spin-off from the core turn based RPG series, even outlasting the console Pokémon Stadium/XD style games and Pokémon Ranger. In 2008, Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, which were as successful as the first. In 2009 we got the remix of the previous two games, Explorers of Sky and then…nothing. The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon franchise went silent for four years stateside. In Japan they got not one but THREE Mystery Dungeon games for the Nintendo Wii. Why Nintendo of America never even considered bringing them over here when it would have basically printed money for them and given RPG fans something to play is beyond me and is up there with not releasing Fatal Frame 4 stateside as proof that NoA either gave up on the Wii or just wanted to be exceedingly cruel to their loyal customers.
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Review #498

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Darkstalkers Resurrection
Developer: Iron Galaxy
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: 2-D Fighting
Release Date: 3/12/2013

I’m always how hard it seems to be to port classic 2-D fighting games to modern consoles. So many just seem to flop. Remember how god awful the Mortal Kombat Arcade Collection ended up being? Similar complaints have popped up for Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (PS2, PS3, Xbox and 360 versions), several old King of Fighters games and so on. In fact the only system I can think of where the term “arcade perfect” was regularly used to describe fighting game ports was the Sega Saturn. Street Fighter Vs. X-Men Marvel Vs. Capcom 1, Street Fighter Alpha and so on. For all the crap that system took, it still might be the best system pound for pound in terms of 2-D fighters and shoot ‘em ups. My personal favorite for that system was Night Warriors. I played the hell out of that game repeatedly and it was so close to arcade perfect, it was how I dominated the Darkstalkers arcade scene in the mid to late 90s. Being that Darkstalkers is my absolute favorite fighting game series, I was understandably nervous about how Darkstalkers Resurrection would perform. Would it suffer the same fate as other 2-D fighting game compilations on PSN and XBLA, or would Resurrection be up there with the Saturn version of Night Warriors and the Dreamcast’s Vampire Chronicle For Matching Service as some of the best fighting game ports ever made?
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Review #497

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition
Developer: Beenox
Publisher: Activision
Genre: 3-D Action/Sandbox
Release Date: 3/5/2013

I have to admit, it really does seem like Marvel is doing its best to destroy their Spider-Man franchise. First we had the “One More Day” fiasco where Spider-Man sold his marriage to the devil to save Aunt May’s life. However we did get two pretty good series as a result – Venom and Scarlet Spider. Now we have the “Superior Spider-Man” where Peter Parker has died and Doctor Octopus is wearing his flesh. Pretty creepy and well deserving of some ire, but it led me to pick up Spider-Man comics for the first time since “One More Day” as I was curious how things would unfold. So even though Marvel’s actions have been pissing off a lot of Spider-Man fans, it’s also intriguing others.

That said, Marvel’s not the only one taking risks with Spider-Man. Sony made the movie, The Amazing Spider-Man simply to keep the rights of the character film-wise. I found the movie to be pretty terrible. In fact it was not only one of the worst super hero movies I’ve ever seen, but neither my wife or I could finish the film – it was that bad, and we’ve made it through a lot of B-Movies. Then of course there are the Spider-Man video games. Looking through our archives the last Spider-Man video game our staff conclusively gave a thumb’s up to was Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, which Mark, Joel and I all put in our “Top Ten Games of 2007″ list back in the day. Sure he’s appeared in other video games like Marvel Pinball, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Avengers: Battle For Earth, but when you put the wall-crawler in a game on his own, they tend to be buggy convoluted messes. Edge of Time? A below average mess. Shattered Dimensions? Both the 360 and PS3 versions received reviews from Mark and myself that summed the game up as fun, in spite of its many flaws. So when I realized I was going to have to review The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Edition which is a licensed movie game and was made by Beenox, I was understandably pessimistic. Still, our own Michael O’Reilly reviewed the PS3 version of the game last year and was pretty positive towards it, so perhaps the Wii U version would garner the same reaction from me.
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Review#496

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2
Developer: Koei
Publisher: Tecmo Koei Games
Genre: 3-D Action/Beat ‘Em Up
Release Date: 02/07/2013

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Wii U game. My last one was Tekken Tag Tournament II Wii U Edition back in December and I didn’t think there was going to be anything mildly interesting for the system again until Lego City: Undercover. I’m a big fan of the Fist of the North Star manga and anime (the VHS of the original OVA movie was one of my first ever purchases as a kid. Thank god my mom didn’t realize Japanese cartoons had gore, violence and nudity.) and it’s always made a huge impression on me. So when I asked Tecmo Koei for a review copy of Ken’s Rage 2, I was happy to get the Wii U version, albeit a few weeks after the game was released due to Nintendo being slower than molasses at getting review code vouchers out to publishers or gaming websites (Not Tecmo Koei’s fault – they were as frustrated as we were). I wasn’t originally going to be the one to review this, even though I’m a big fan of the genre, mainly because I didn’t get a chance to play the first game (It’s on my backlog though), but things got shuffled around, and now here I am sinking my teeth into the second game in the Hokuto no Ken series. I’ve got Kodomo Band’s Heart of Madness queued up in my iTunes and a copy of the original VIZ Manga US release I picked up way back in 1995 beside me. It’s time to see if Ken’s Rage 2 is a fine addition to the Wii U’s lineup, or if this game is already dead.
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Review #495

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Capcom Arcade Cabinet Pack One: Black Tiger, 1943: The Battle of Midway & Avengers
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Collection
Release Date: 02/26/2013

If there’s one thing Capcom is known for, it’s tweaking games and re-releasing them over and over again. In the case of Capcom Arcade Cabinet, you’ll be getting fifteen games (and two secret ones!) for roughly $29.99 spread out over two and a half months. The first pack of three games Black Tiger, 1943 and Avengers was released on the 19th of Feburary, but we didn’t receive out review code until the 26th, so we’re a little late on covering this. In truth, most of the games in this collection have been re-released multiple times, either as standalone downloads or in other compilations like Capcom Classics Collection. The bad part of it is those previous collections contained far more games and for a lot less cash. Hell, for the price of this complete collection, you can get both Capcom Classics released for the PSP, which will give you a lot of these games, and some better ones thrown in to boot. With that in mind, you have to wonder who would pick up Capcom Arcade Cabinet and why. Well, there are two possible answers. The first is that you may not have a system that allows you to play any of the previous re-releases of the titles in this collection. The other is that the re-releases in this collection offer some customization as well as online play. There are also a few extras like unlockable galleries and trophies, but those are minor in the scheme of things. Does these new aspects make Capcom Arcade Cabinet worth picking up? Possibly, but only if you REALLY are a big fan of some of these games and know enough people that will want to play online with you. Otherwise you’re just paying a lot more for each of these games than you normally would.
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