Friday, October 30, 2009

Get the Limited Edition of Battlefield: Bad Company 2; get upgrades for other DICE title

In a fairly surprising move, EA today, announced a Limited Edition for the upcoming Battlefield: Bad Company 2.  Where's the surprise you ask?  It's right here, in the sticker price.  The normal $10-$20 premium most LE's require is nowhere to be found here.  For the same price as the Standard Edition, (while supplies last) you can upgrade to the LE.

What does this edition include, but six special upgrades, giving players an instant tactical advantage in battle.  Well, technically, it's 4 special upgrades, as the other 2 are for the other DICE title, Battlefield 1943.  Each upgrade is as follows:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    Improved Vehicle Armor - An added armor is added to all vehicle types, decreasing the effect of explosives and warheads.

    Supreme Vehicle Firepower - Additional weapons and firepower are added for the drivers of all armored vehicles.

    Vehicle Motion Sensor - It senses some motion in direct proximity to your vehicle

    Tracer Dart Pistol - A magnetic dart, once again, attaching itself to any vehicle, and allowing your teammates tag, lock and fire rockets, even those that can't be seen.

    *Editors note: In best interest to stay in vehicle at all times!

    For Battlefield 1943

    M1A1 Submachine Gun - A heavy, but reliable weapon for use on the battlefield

    M1911 Pistol - Favored for it's dependability and power of it's large payload.

    Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is available on March 2nd, 2010 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC

    Fairytale Fights | Review

    Synopsis: Playlogic has created Fairytale Fights using the Unreal Engine 3 to put players in the well known fairytale environments to spill blood as the characters most of us grew up reading about in a quest to bring peace back to their land. Fairytale fights is a platformer with gallons of bloodshed caused by hack and slash action handed out to the fairytale inhabitants by Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Jack & The Beanstalk, and The Naked King to regain the fame they once had. The action moves are brought to us by Playlogic’s “dynamic slicing technology” and a plethora (140+) of weapons at your disposal to bludgeon, slice, shoot, freeze, burn, or melt with acid.

    Praise: Fairytale Fights has a new unique style that is very colorful and happy looking, with a sick and dark premise, a good thing in my book. The environments are massive and took me back to the fairytale stories I had grown up on along with many of the same characters in them. There is no shortage of weapons in this game, so if you die and lose your weapon, you can just take one from the next enemy you bludgeon or decapitate. Coop is where I got the most enjoyment from this title as you can play with up to three other players to help progress through the story.

    Gripes: The controls are not as friendly as what you would see in other hack and slash titles, as attacks are controlled by flicking the right stick in different directions. When you kill an enemy, there blood covers the ground and when the character walks over the blood covered ground, you tend to slip and lack control of movement, which could result in death if you slide off edges or into the environmental hazards. On the topic of deaths, you are not penalized when you die, so there is no game over to get when you repeatedly lose lives, which can be good for those not looking for a challenge, but I was not a fan of it.

    Overall, Fairytale Fights is an entertaining break from the norm, which is filled with racers and first person shooters, but did tend to lose some of its novelty throughout the story. The artwork in the environments are reminiscent to a Happy Tree Friends or Itchy & Scrathy episode, while the gameplay provided by the Unreal Engine make the game beautiful and flow smoothly without any noticeable bugs while playing through the story alone and cooperatively in online interactions. If you are fan of the platformer genre, it would be a good idea to give it a shot, and if purchased within 90 days, owners will also receive soon to be released DLC at no charge, which I understand to include new playable characters and maps. gives Fairytale Fights a 7 out of 10.

    Fairytale Fights is available now for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Where are you Microsoft? | Preview Program issues

    If you've signed up for the Micosoft Preview Program, that includes Last.FM, Twitter, Facebook and the new Zune Marketplace, there's a chance that if you were selected, you may be having trouble actually getting the update.

    According to Major Nelson's blog - the first wave of e-mails and updates started going out on Friday, 10/23/2009.  I was one to receive this e-mail, so I booted up my Xbox late Friday night, and nothing.  Thinking they were still rolling things out, I wasn't too concerned, and went to bed.  I didn't get a chance to check again until Sunday - thinking for sure it had to be available now.  I booted up my Xbox - still nothing.  I started to check the other sites/forums, and then went to the Micorosft Connect website to check for any updates there.  I noticed an error that my "console id was incorrect".  Okay I thought, that's strange, I'm sure I entered it in correctly, but there was a link for me to update it, so I did.  Late Monday, the "error/warning" was no longer there, so I thought my update would come.

    I get home and boot up the Xbox - still nothing.  Hmmm - what to do?  I checked on the Microsoft Connect site, and there is a slew of comments on the forums (feedback) that I'm not the only one having this exact issue.

    I'm not so much worried about the update, I'll get it when I get it; but I'm a bit concerned that there's not been any official statement from Microsoft here.  There seems to be a ton of users who aren't able to get it and suffered the same "errors" as I did.  Now, I know, I'm sure it's still a small number in the grand scheme of things, but I'm trying to get to the bottom of it with our Microsoft contact - so far our requests for info on this subject have not been responded to.

    Has anyone else had this problem?  Leave us a note in the comments and lets see if we can get Microsoft's attention.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Stoked, rereleases with Big Air Edition

    It appears that Bongfish is ironing out all of the bugs found in their original snowboarding entry, Stoked, and releasing a more polished version with new features in the soon to be released, Big Air Edition. New features found in this release will be 2 mountains, big air events, and racing modes. The freedom trailer can be found above, showing what to expect in the new extreme sport game to be seen in the next few weeks.

    Arc Rise Fantasia is the next title from Ignition Entertainment

    After a strong past few month with King of Fighters XII, Muramasa, and Nostalgia, Ignition Entertainment has announced Arc Rise Fantasia. This will be a Wii exclusive title in the form of a turn based RPG. Lets hope that the gameplay, production value, and storylines are the same, if not better, than those seen in Ignition's most recent titles, Muramasa and Nostagia.

    Nostalgia | Review

    Synopsis: From the makers of Final Fantasy III and IV for the Nintendo DS, comes their most recent role-playing game, Nostalgia. This title takes place in the 19th century and places the player in a world of treasure hunting, dungeon exploration/battles, and airship battles. You take on the role of Eddie, son of a world famous adventurer who has gone missing, on a mission to find his father. Nostalgia places real world locations into the title such as London, New York, Cairo, Tokyo, South Africa, and Russia, something rarely found in RPG titles.

    Praise: The number of missions available from story and character missions to Adventurer’s Association missions provides enough to keep any gamer busy for a long, long time. There is a steep learning curve, which can be rather overwhelming, but the first hour of the game takes you by the hand to ease your way into traveling, fighting, and in depth character development. The graphics and cinematic cut scenes are beautiful for the DS on top of the strong storyline; this title does a great job at making the 19th century world and characters memorable. Battle mechanics and controls, whether it is character or airship battles, are similar to those found in the Final Fantasy remakes, which is a plus as it is something RPG fans will be familiar with while also being easy for newcomers to pick up.

    Gripes: Be prepared, at least in the first few hours of the game, are my strongest words of advice. Through the first couple dungeons, it is easy to lose a character or have to restart from the previous save point, due to the random battles, minimal save points, and lack of preparation. A little bit of grinding can prevent this along with making sure you have enough items to keeps hit points on your characters. Lastly, I love a game with a lot to do and that can keep me playing it without blowing through it too quickly, but there may almost be too much to do, making me lose track of the story when spending hours seeking out character and side missions.

    Overall, Nostalgia did not pull any punches when creating this game for RPG fans, both old school and new to the genre. This is a great portable game in which if you take your time and explore all that it has to offer, there will not be disappointment. I have saved a little something for the end of my review, which is an open ended playable epilogue. This means that when the final dungeons and bosses are defeated, you are able to continue exploring an open ended epilogue, which the publisher states that it contains “many of the game’s coolest secrets”. gives Nostalgia a 9 out of 10.

    Nostalgia is available now for the Nintendo DS.

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Marvel Super Hero Squad | Review

    Synopsis: THQ has just released Marvel Super Heroes, an action adventure game based on the animated series, on a handful of systems, both console and handheld. In this title, the player is tasked with recovering Fractal fragments of the “Infinity Sword” throughout the city and ultimately to help or destroy the city. There is two available games modes available, adventure mode consists of six campaigns based on the TV series, and battle mode allow four players to fight to their demise. There are more than twenty Marvel characters available in this game, each with their own special powers and abilities to choose from and play as.

    Praise: It is Marvel we are talking about here and almost everything they touch turns to gold. You start the game choosing two characters to play through the mission as and since there are a number of characters to choose from, the variety is there to keep you coming back to either master their moves or just to change things up throughout the story. The graphics and gameplay are targeting a younger audience, so it is easy to pick up and play, while the graphics are bright and characters, both playable and not, have the cute look of those in the animated series. The battle mode adds to the replay value when you have played through the story or have a group of people that are up for some arena fighting. Controls are easy to get the hang of, as you use the remote and nunchuk buttons for movement and attacks, and it does use the motion sensors to execute character specific special attacks.

    Gripes: The first issue I had with this game from the start and throughout the game was the camera, it never seems to be where you need it, especially when in heated fights and you see you are being shot at but can’t find the enemy to attack due to the camera placement. Enemy AI and the level of ease are the only other issues with this title as I was able to play through without even worrying about dying as health is easily replenished. The problem with the enemy AI is that a number of times, characters of the opposing side, would sit in one place, not moving or attacking at times, while this could be put in place to make the game more playable for a younger audience or a game glitch, it was a little frustrating.

    Overall, Marvel Super Hero Squad is an entertaining game to play through for a Marvel fan. However, the main focus of this title is towards a younger audience, which may turn away adult gamers such as myself, but makes for a great game to buy for a child. Since the Wii is an easier console to play with multiple people, this game is good for two people to play through and if you have a group, battle mode is even more fun to play when you have two to four people trying to prove who the better gamer is. gives Marvel Super Hero Squad a 6 out of 10.

    Marvel Super Hero Squad is available now for the Nintendo Wii, DS, Playstation 2, and Playstation Portable.

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Need for Speed Nitro goes gold, Wii and DS fans of the series rejoice

    Electronic Arts has not only announced that they newest entry to their hit racer series, Need for Speed, has gone gold...but will also be releasing early on November 3rd in North America and November 6th in Europe. NITRO claims to deliver exciting gameplay, accessible controls, and competitive multiplayer events to Nintendo Wii and DS owners alike, after being crowned by IGN as the Best Racing Game on the Wii and DS at E3 this year.

    Also in Need for Speed news today, EA has announced that the series has sold over 100 million copies to date, generating over 2.7 billion dollars from the series.

    Results are in to Muramasa fan art competition

    Ignition entertainment recently had a fan art competition on the Muramasa Facebook page and the winner has been announced. Jeff B's entry shown above took honor in the competition winning him the bragging rights of champion along with some cool merch, such as a signed copy of the game, strategy guide, tote bag, t-shirt, limited edition poster, and a cool thousand bucks for his art.

    Mass Effect 2 has release date pre order perks

    BioWare has announced that the follow up to the much loved shooter/RPG Mass Effect will be hitting store shelves on January 26. Now here is where the incentive to pre order comes in, as select retailers will be providing incentives which include special armor and weapons. Gamestop's incentive includes Terminus armor and weapons while other select retailers get Inferno armor.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Review

    In this installment of JoeyVan reviews games, I will review Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising for the 360. Dragon Rising is a first person shooter/military strategy game that, in my video game experience, is very realistic, maybe even a little too realistic. The game takes place on an island that is being fought over by the Russian and Chinese armies in the not too distant future. Well, who do you fight for, Russia or China? Neither, as you as the good ole’ U S of A, bailing out Russia before they get slapped around by China.

    As mentioned earlier, the realistic focus on this title is definitely not subtle, from the kickback of the gun to the way the soldier runs. This feature can also be just as much of a short coming to the casual gamer, especially when shot, even once, you must have a medic take care of you quickly or you will bleed out and die. Since you are acting as the squad leader, you can choose the actions of the other squad members and have them do most of your killing, which is what I did to prevent bleeding out when things got hairy.

    Probably the most interesting part of the game, is that it is unscripted and very spontaneous. An example of this would be that if and when you die and have to restart the mission, you won’t be going through the same sequence as before, keeping you on your toes and preventing memorizing and mastering missions.

    Once you get the hang of the gameplay, you find how fun being a futuristic (not THAT futuristic) squad leader can be. I give this title an 8 out of 10, as this is a must have for any fan of military style first person shooters like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and Call of Duty.

    Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is available now for the Playstation 3, XBox 360, and PC.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    A lucid review | Lucidity

    A week ago, LucasArts' released a new game to the XBLA landscape, Lucidity.  I've spent the last week between sessions of Uncharted 2 and Brutal Legend playing this little gem.  A unique title to be sure, in the vein of last year's Braid, you control pieces of the environment, as you help Sofi navigate her way through surreal worlds safely.

     Like Braid, this game fits in the "Games as Art" category, weaving a dream-like narrative with beautifully rendered environments, music, and a unique gameplay experience.  Unlike Braid, you don't control your character.  Instead, the game spits out randomly generated puzzle pieces that you can cycle through to help Sofi get from one end of the level to the other.

    Continue reading after the jump

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    XBLA daring-duo Wednesday | XBLA release

    The theme of this week's XBLA releases is teamwork, two is better than one, a bicycle is better than a unicycle.  The pairings of Axel and Pixel and Sam and Max, (could you imagine the ultimate mashup of Axel, Max, Sam and Pixel, the four-some?  Now that's just crazy!)

    Anyhow, from 2K Play (2K's newest subsidiary focusing on the smaller "arcade-like" games) comes Axel & Pixel, a point-n-click adventure in the tradition of other point-n-click's.  We haven't checked it out yet ourselves, but we've queued up the demo to check it out.  What we do know is that you control Axel and his dog Pixel through 24 levels as their journey takes them through various environments and game worlds that according to Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K, says "all of these elements combined offer a fresh experience that truly embodies the concept of 'games as art'."  Well-played Christoph, we will have to just check it out ourselves. 

    Axel & Pixel is available now for 800 Microsoft Points

    Following that, we have Telltale's second season of Sam and Max, the award-winning series, Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space.  This is the first time the season has appeared on any console (debuted on PC), and the season includes all 5 episodes for 1600 Microsoft Points. Available now

    Let us know what you think in the comments, we are currently working our way through Sam and Max and should have our impressions up shortly. 

    If we may make one request however, is for Telltale to bring over the Strong Bad series to the XBLA platform...oh pretty please!!!

    Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road | Review

    Synopsis: Dorothy and Toto are at it again, but this time in RPG form, taking the classic characters on an adventure to help the ominous wizard continue his reign over Oz and ultimately be sent back home to Kansas. The story begins in the same way as the timeless classic film, with a tornado that consumes our pretty little damsel and her loveable dog, sending them to the faraway Land of Oz, where she follows the yellow brick road to team up with the Strawman, Lion, and Tin Man on her journey to the Emerald City. Four witches are trying to take over the fabled land and your task is to help the wizard prevent them from taking over, because if the wizard leaves his castle, he will lose his kingdom to them. This new interpretation the well known story and what happens after the foursome reach the Emerald City is brought to you by Media. Vision, the same team behind the Wild Arms series.

    Praise: The new control system is unlike anything previously seen on any other title for the DS and DSi, using a trackball on the touch screen, so that navigation of your character strictly involves the stylus. Movement is based on the direction and speed of interaction with the trackball, and works amazingly well. The turn based combat is easy to learn, while keeping strategy in mind when determining which characters to use against the different types of enemies. Character customization is in place allowing the player to upgrade weapons and clothing to help as they progress through the story and encounter stronger enemies and bosses. The storyline does a great job to keep the player engaged while also providing large amounts of content so one cannot just blow through this title in a few hours. The soundtrack is also something that is not to be missed which is not something I normally do not rave about, but fits well to the gameplay had me remembering tunes from the movie.

    Gripes: This title is great for beginners as combat is automated with suggested moves when health gets low, and also determining who each character is to attack. You are able to change your move set, but in most cases, you do not need to. While most will appreciate this type of help, those who want a challenge, will think this assistance takes away from the strategy of completing the game. Beyond the Yellow Brick Road also boasts of innovative graphics superior to previous titles for this console, unfortunately, I was unable to notice a difference from previous high production RPG’s for the DS.

    Overall, this trip back to the land of Oz is a strong game that will spend a lot of time in my DS, as I am about ten hours into the game and not even half way to being sent back to Kansas. The new control flows extremely well with no frustration through execution. The characters in which you grew to love in the movie have the same persona and have their own special strengths and weaknesses to ensure they will be in constant rotation, without emphasis and any single character as seen in most RPG’s. Fans of action adventure and role playing genres alike will enjoy picking up this game and not be disappointed in amount of time spent to try and find their way home to Kansas. gives Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road an 8 out of 10

    Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road is available now on the Nintendo DS and DSi.

    Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga | Review

    Synopsis: The third entry to the Valhalla Knights series is here with Eldar Saga. In this Wii exclusive title, the lands of Eldar are being overrun by monsters and it is up to you to confront the hordes of monsters and save this town, known as the origin of chaos. Valhalla Knights is an action RPG and if the first entry from the series to be released on a console system with a revamped graphics engine to allow for real time battles on the field map, which is new to the series, while customization and exploration still hold true to the previous entries. Online coop is also new feature to the series making its debut on Eldar Saga.

    Praise: Character customization is a massive feature in this title with options ranging from physical appearance and clothing to weapons, spells, and classes. While the customization is easy to learn it is still very in depth and something you will continue to change through gameplay. The new real time battles are quite easily the best new feature to this title as there are no random battles and no cut scene going into battle. Coop and the hiring of mercenaries make quests easier to complete with less of a chance of death and having to start over with half your gold.

    Gripes: Battles are more difficult to get the hang of than the character customization, as you have to be pointed right at the enemy before attacking and if you miss, make sure you point your hero at the enemy before hitting the attack button again, because if you try pointing your character in a different direction while pressing any of the attacks, you will still be pointed in your original direction. The visuals are dark with shades of brown, and though it makes the game more eerie, it can be hard to make out the enemies from the environment.

    Overall, the Valhalla Knights series is a solid role playing series, and moving it to the Wii with Eldar Saga was a good move when there is a lack of good role playing games for the console. Fans of the series and genre both should really enjoy this title as it provides a number of character classes and races to master. Though it does take a couple hours to get the hang of quests and battles, if you stick it out, you will not be disappointed. gives Valhalla Knights: Elder Saga a 6 out of 10.

    Valhalla Knights: Elder Saga is available now for the Wii.

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    A Mini Ninja Review

    I'll begin this review with a story.  The first time I had a chance to sit down and dig into IO Interactive's latest title, Mini Ninjas, was when we had company over.  I was hot on the heels of finishing WET, but due to the age of said company, I didn't feel that "running around, duel-wielding death blows and doling out carnage" to be of a tactful decision. 

    I fired up Mini Ninjas...

    After a few hours of play, the 7-year old I was sharing game-time with, turns to his mother to describe the gameplay. 

    "Mom, this game isn't like 'real' killing, you see, the evil bad-guy turned all the rabbits, frogs and bears into evil ninjas.  So when you 'kill' them, they just turn back into an animal."

    Join us after the jump for the full review