Friday, February 26, 2010

MLB 2K10 news for the masses

Baseball season is upon us and Spring Training camps are in full swing (we are located in Phoenix so Spring Training is literally all around us).Yesterday 2k Sports held a conference call with the media (Mashbuttons included) to answer questions about their upcoming title Major League Baseball 2k10. On the call answering questions was producer Ben Bishop and gameplay developers Jonathan Rivera and Sean Bailey. One of the new features in the game is My Player Mode, which allows you to create a player and play throughout the minors in the hopes of getting called up to the big leagues and ultimately be inducted into the Hall of Fame. They also talked about the new swing control which is more about timing to determine the quality of the hit. As usually you can choose between a power or control swing but new this year you have the option for a defensive swing to stay alive in the count. The games release date is next Tuesday, March 2 and soon afterward there will be a full review of the game.

Risen | Review

Synopsis: Our mailbox is overflowing, and this time it is SouthPeak Games that chose to provide the most recent review copy, with Risen for the Xbox 360. Risen is a RPG where you assume the role of a stowaway on a ship shortly after becoming shipwrecked. The game is made up of four chapters in which you choose the side to complete the story on along with making your own decisions as you see fit. The open world also lets you discover new places and people in the order in which you choose, ultimately reducing linear gameplay and eliminating load screens. With the onslaught of similar RPG’s such as Sacred 2, Divinity, and now Risen, die hard RPG fans are having a tougher time trying to figure which game will be worth losing that much sleep, hopefully this review helps with having to make that decision.

Praise: Risen is not your normal RPG, like Dragon Age, Oblivion, or Mass Effect because it seems to target the hardcore RPG fan. After recently beating Mass Effect 2, I gladly welcome Risen to be my next RPG to throw my free time at. The biggest selling point for me is the huge open word, where you talk to anyone, do the missions in the order you want, and fight then rob anyone you please (which is not a good idea to do early in the game as it will mostly likely backfire on you). It’s just refreshing to know you don’t have to do “this” in order to complete “that”, so its easy to pick up and play a few simple tasks while you have some free time, but easier to say, one more mission or one more level, then before you know it, you are either late or realizing you’re not going to get much sleep. Moral paths seem to be a common feature put in games recently, but in Risen, it is harder to determine which side is “bad”, the Inquisitors or the Rebels, I went the rebel route. Looting seems to be an part of the RPG’s we have all grown to love, besides how the game controls and story, but in Risen there is no restriction to what you can carry, it is a dream come true, not having to worry about constantly managing what you are carrying just to make space for something bigger and better.

Gripes: If you can’t remember the last time you saved your game, then it’s probably a good time to save. The reason being, is that the autosave feature does not happen often enough and before you get to the higher levels you will die, a lot, and have to restart from the last point in which the game was saved. The combat is live action, and while you are able to assign hot keys, but in most cases, I used those for items to replenish health and went into combat, mashing the attack button while occasionally blocking. Another thing I found awkward in the gameplay was having to arm my weapon to attack and disarm to loot or pick up items, I got used to it after a couple hours, but missed out on items early on because I forgot to disarm my weapon after killing enemies.

Overall, this is my second attempt to review Risen, unfortunately, my PC kept asking for the original DVD and I still haven’t seen an available patch to fix. However, Risen for the Xbox 360 quickly eliminates flashbacks of frustration with having the opportunity to explore a massive world, loot, answer questions to determine your character’s path, and did I mention loot? Risen has a LOT of gameplay to keep you busy, claiming over sixty hours of gameplay, and with having the ability to choose your own path and the freedom to pass up missions to streamline the story or take your time to try and complete every task you take on and any enemy you stumble upon. gives Risen 7 out of 10.

Risen is available now for the Xbox 360 and PC.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll review

Synopsis: Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll is the second Monkey Ball game for the Nintendo Wii. Brought to you by Sega, this game has few changes then its predecessor, Banana Blitz, but a few that most people would like. So folks, lets get into the “Roll” of things and here is the review.

Praise: This game keeps its tried and true formula of the first Monkey Ball on the Wii. The controls are super tight for the actual arcade game play style of things giving you damn near a 1:1 for when you are playing. In this, you are actually tilting the world, not actually controlling the Ball like in the Monkey Ball games before the Wii. So you are not controlling the momentum of the ball. You hold the Wii-mote in a straight line pointing at the screen, then tilt the controller either left, right, front, or back to control the environment of where you want the monkey to roll. You can chose to sync up the Balance Board and play Monkey ball this way. I highly suggest not, because the game becomes Super Impossible Monkey Ball with this feature. Sega has acknowledged this problem and most levels will have some of the harder obstacle taken out to make the levels somewhat possible. The levels are more open and have wider platforms to traverse. However, that precise environment you were using with the 1:1 ratio, well, that ├╝ber control goes out the window because its not possible with the balance board.

The graphics on this have a nice cartoon feel to them. Sega smoothed out the rough edges of the graphics from Banana Blitz and the graphics have improved. It still, however, moves at a 60 frames per second frame rate. Step and Roll actually goes back to its roots, Silly story line and Boss Battles are no more. Gone, vamoose, poof, disappeared. This game is strictly an arcade style game and just get your monkey to the end of the level and through the finish line in the allotted amount of time. You can chose to pick up the bananas; however they have no real meaning except to give you extra lives for some of the harder levels as the game progresses. The beginning levels, trust me, you will get bored. But they get super hard towards the end. Marathon mode is one of the best, where you just play level after level, no intro, just one to the next. This is my ideal way of playing Monkey Ball.

A sad change from this one is no more mini-games……I’m just messing, it’s Super Monkey Ball, of course there are mini games. However, they did cut back on the amount of mini games from Banana Blitz. Blitz had 50+ Mini games in its library. Step and Roll has 21 games. Some games have carried over from Banana Blitz, flying your monkey through rings to land on an island in the middle of the ocean and a Mario Kart style game are the best ones in my opinion. The luge style game is really fun as well.

Gripes: Well there are some gripes about this game that I feel need to be brought up. If you decide to use the Balance Board, like I said, it becomes, Super Impossible Monkey Ball. The game is super hard and makes it really tough to control. Sega did remove certain obstacles from the level as well as make them bigger, however, I found the Balance Board almost a novelty and gimmick and stopped after trying to maneuver my monkey through the first set of levels. The tight controls are both a blessing and a curse. You can precisely move you monkey through the level; however, you cannot find a true level point. On other platforms, you could always just tilt the joystick in a straight up to move the ball that way; you will not be able to do that on the Wii-Mote. So when you are traversing a small narrow bridge in tight rope fashion, be prepared to fall a lot. Another gripe is that each world consists of ten levels, not a big deal. However, what is a big deal, is when you complete the world, you have to sit through a credit sequence lasting what seems like an eternity, but most likely is only like 5 minutes long, and you CANNOT SKIP IT. Granted you got a little tilt game going on when the credits roll, but that novelty wears out when you have completed the third world.

The mini games are great, don’t get me wrong, but the controls on them are temperamental. Each game opens with giving you the controls and how to move using the motion controls. I found, half the time when I was playing with my daughter, the controls would not work in the fashion it stated, leading to a lot of yelling at the screen and flailing your controller around to get your guy to do what its suppose to do. Even with this, the Mini Games are still the best part of the game, this coming from both me and my ten year old daughter.

Closing Remarks: The game is fun that is true. Anyone who loves this franchise will love this game and anyone who loved the mini games will still love the mini games. The bananas would be more important to pick up if they gave you trophies or such things. This would have greatly added the experience and I feel that Sega really missed out on that part. The controls are precise, Sega did a fantastic job with this, but the Balance Board really feels like an added feature to try to capitalize on the balance board popularity and just does not feel right in this type of game. The graphics are still one of the best parts of this and give a real fun feeling when you play through this game.

Mashbuttons gives Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll a 7 out of 10.
PSN: Dicegod
360 Tag: Dice2thagod

Ragnarok DS | Review

Synopsis: The folks over at XSEED wanted to make sure I was nice and busy over the weekend; luckily the title they sent us to review was Ragnarok DS, so I was able to take it with me. Ragnarok DS is based on the MMO title Ragnarok Online and boasts the same gameplay and customization to those who need their fix on the go. You take on the role of Ales, who is looking to make name for himself as an adventurer and eventually starting his own guild. On this path, you encounter dungeons, monsters, heroines in distress, and other party members who help your young adventurer on his unpredictable path. Ragnarok DS introduces a Flexible Character Development System, which allows the player to earn both status and skill points with each level increase to customize character attributes along with skills acquired through the numerous job classes. Weapons and armor are fully customizable and upgradeable by a blacksmith and or effect cards acquired from fallen enemies. Wireless multiplayer is also available via DS Wireless Play or Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, allowing you to team up with two other players to take on the 50 floors of the Tower of Mirages.

Praise: Ragnarok has all the features that you would see in what seems to be a saturated RPG genre for the Nintendo DS. So what sets it apart? Well, there are a number of things through the ten plus hours put in so far, that made me feel that this game was less about constant grinding but more about making your character the baddest in the land. First off, the characters have a lot of personality and aren’t the generic NPC’s seen in similar titles and you are able to adjust their passive actions as needed throughout gameplay. Leveling and grinding is not too tedious as leveling up happens at a good steady rate, without having to grind for hours just to go up a level. Various job classes allow you to make your own unique character, focusing on the skills that suit your play style without the difficulty of trying to figure out new skills and compatible equipment. As far as story goes, it is not the best I have encountered but is solid enough to proceed through and see the ultimate fate of your party. While the story is pretty linear, there are a number of side quests to take on should you want to help those in need and level up without the tedious grinding, this also provides you with effect cards to customize weapons which you WILL spend quite a bit of time doing trying to optimize your party’s full potential.

Gripes: Like most RPG titles or any other game for that matter, there are things that take away from the gameplay and this is no exception. The opening dialogue/tutorial for Ragnarok DS is long and slow, taking about an hour to completely get through, but once you get past the first hour, your patience will be rewarded with all the RPG goodness you originally purchased this title for. The actions are controlled strictly by the stylus, with slashing, circling, and taping enemies to attack and unleash spells. Some may prefer this type of gameplay, but it would start to get uncomfortable holding the DS after extended amounts of play time. Lastly, trying to find where I needed to go to complete missions, and trying to go off of the descriptions, such as head west, really wasn’t helpful, but I would eventually find my destination.

Overall, Ragnarok DS is a deep action RPG which does provide a lot of missions, side missions, and character customization to any fan of the genre. I have not played Ragnarok Online for the PC, so unfortunately I cannot compare it to the original, but after playing this version of Ragnarok, it is easy to see how it has over three million users in the United States alone. gives Ragnarok DS 7.5 out of 10.

Ragnarok DS is available now for the Nintendo DS.

Aliens vs Predator | Review

Synopsis: Sega has provided us with their recent title, Aliens vs Predator, developed by the same team behind the 1999 original, Rebellion. The newest resurrection of the of the classic once again brings the battle between Aliens, Predators, and Colonial Marines in the form of a first person shooter to fans of the movies, comics, and the shooter genre alike. Each race has its own single player campaign along with a number of multiplayer game modes. The storyline delivered in the single player campaigns interweaves paths between species, so that regardless to what species you choose to play as, the story takes place in the same location and timeframe just through the eyes of a different species. The story begins with the discovery of an ancient pyramid and amidst probing the pyramid of its secrets, the Predator race is alerted to prevent their secret from being uncovered, while the alien race fight for their survival as the fearless hunter, and the Colonial Marines struggle for survival in the middle of the civil war taking place.

Praise: Variety is definitely one of the biggest strong suits in this title, followed up with fast paced, intense action, and rewarding multiplayer game modes. The diversity of how each race plays makes playing as any of the three individual races incredibly different and almost equally entertaining. In my opinion, I found playing as the Alien race the most rewarding both in single player and multiplayer game modes. The way the story of each race’s single player campaign intertwines is something I have not seen recently in other current generation titles and is one of the first things that stands out to me when thinking of the time spent with this game. The multiplayer is the most entertaining feature to this title, while the single player campaigns are entertaining and works as a great tutorial for the multiplayer modes; the multiplayer is where I felt most of the replay value resided by pitting each race against each other in large maps, and providing a leveling system to unlock skins for each race.

Gripes: As much as this game has to offer, unfortunately the single player campaigns come off rather short and stale. The gameplay is not bad by any means; it just doesn’t really stand out in the variety of first person shooters recently released. The marine single player mode is mediocrity at its best, as it is your typical shooter with the campaign lasting about five to six hours. While the Alien and Predator campaigns were a lot more entertaining, they were also significantly shorter than the bland marine campaign, only lasting about four to five hours. While the multiplayer is where I felt this title truly stands out, unfortunately, the matchmaking takes longer than other multiplayer games I have played and it seems like most of the community is playing species deathmatch. Lastly, if the host quits the match, it is game over and you are left to find another match without the XP earned before the host quit the match.

Overall, Aliens vs Predator does provide a lot of variety in the form of gameplay, story modes, and multiplayer. While not all of the modes may be to your liking there is still a lot to offer. It is also a pretty safe assumption to say that as a fan of the movies and comic books, you will most likely find this title enjoyable. While typical FPS fans may not find this title as fulfilling because the only part of this title that plays like a typical FPS is the Colonial Marines. gives Aliens vs Predator a 7 out of 10.

Aliens vs Predator is available now for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dante's Inferno | A review

I'd like to begin my review of Visceral Game's Dante's Inferno first addressing the one complaint that seething fanboys seem to have with the game; the fact that it follows a path set by Sony's God of War series.  It follows that path, an epic action/hack-n-slash/platformer, without question, akin to how 2009's Shadow Complex slapped a fresh coat of paint on 1997's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (which, was created as almost a direct copy of 1994's Super Metroid).  Castlevania SOTN is still lauded by gamers as being one of the best 2D games available, especially in the highly 3D world of the first PlayStation.  Shadow Complex, was one of the top selling XBLA titles from last summer that publicly spoke of it's Metroid/Castlevania influence.
I didn't get the same vibe from the above games, as I do today with the Inferno/GOW showdown.  Perhaps it's due to GOW having its third-installment due out to gamers next month, I am not sure.

Full Review following the break

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bioshock 2 | Review

Synopsis: 2K Games blessed us with a copy of their recent follow up sequel to the 2007 Game of the Year, Bioshock. Bioshock 2 puts fans back in Rapture, approximately 10 years after the original title left off, except this time you take on the role of the loved and hated Big Daddy. New elements have been added this time around, allowing dual wielding weapons and plasmids, increasing the available combinations to take on splicers, Big Daddies, and the new Big Sister. Multiplayer has also been added to the sequel which expands on the fall of Rapture, allowing the player to choose from a handful of Plasmid test subject for Sinclair Solutions. Experience points are given in multiplayer rounds to help the player level up, earning new weapons, plasmids, and tonics to help your chances of survival. Multiplayer game modes come in the form of Free-For-All, Team Death Match, and new multiplayer game modes like Capture the Sister and more. After spending a week with both the single and multiplayer of Bioshock 2, I have your review for any of those on the fence about purchasing this title.

Praise: Unfortunately, you are not Jack returning to Rapture, but instead you take on the role of the original prototype Big Daddy, and it is FUN. This time you get to dual wield, which means quickly after shooting of your plasmid, you don’t have to wait to change your weapon or ability, you can immediately unload whatever weapon you have armed to take out the opposition faster, and the drill doesn’t disappoint either. While one would think Rapture would be too confined to have a fresh look, 2K Games did a great job of keeping the environments fresh and making the story engaging. Along with a strong new story there are a lot of references to the events that took place in the first game, which fills in the player as to what happened between the original and the sequel along with giving a background to those new to the Bioshock history. The gameplay is extremely fluid and the massive number of combinations to take out anyone or anything in your way makes researching feel a little less like a chore, ultimately resulting in some sweet perks. While I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer games, I have devoted a good amount of time with the numerous gameplay modes favoring Civil War, which seems to be the equivalent of Team Deathmatch, and found it to be a lot of fun, with the perks received when your player levels up along with the achievements to strive for kept me coming back for more.

Gripes: Unfortunately, this sequel has some very big shoes to fill and in doing so, there was a few shortcomings. The level of difficulty with the big sisters seems to be hard for the first encounter; however, after you get a couple more plasmids and weapons, they seem to be easier to take down than the Big Daddies. The developers stated that the Big Daddies will heal themselves making it so that you will not be able to go at them, not worrying about dying, restarting from the vita chambers, then finding them with the amount of health when you died as they will heal themselves, however, they heal slowly, so that tactic still works. Using the little sisters to gather ADAM is a neat new feature at first however halfway through my first play through, I found the feature to grow old and no longer used my Little Sister’s to gather ADAM, while still having a sufficient amount to purchase new plasmids and tonics. Lastly, I wanted to touch base on the multiplayer, the only problem I had with almost every match was lag when I would go through doors, occasionally freezing, and how the game would end if the host quit. Luckily, most of the time the host doesn’t quit, but the lag encountered when going through doors would happen on every match I tried and it was only for a second or two.

What could top the feeling of the first time I came across a big daddy in Bioshock? That is easily answered with the first time I saw the Big Sister hunting me in my return to Rapture. There was a level of skepticism going into this sequel as my first concern is that Bioshock 2 would be a watered down version of the first, but it is almost as fresh as the original with some nice additions to keep me playing after completing the story. Whether you are a fan of the original or new to the series, Bioshock 2 is well worth the wait, providing a strong story, beautiful environments, fast paced battle, and an engrossing multiplayer. gives Bioshock 2 a 9 out of 10.

Bioshock 2 is available now for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Batten down the hatches - Heavy Rain demo approaches tomorrow!

If you're like me, you've probably just picked up Dante's Inferno and/or Bioshock 2 (maybe even still working your way through Mass Effect 2); but also, like me, you'll want to direct your attention to your PlayStation 3 tomorrow, 2/11/2010.  This means you Adrian.

The upcoming PS3-exclusive Heavy Rain (February 23rd) will make its demo debut tomorrow on the PSN.  I've waited for this game since first hearing about, and seeing the tech-demo that Quantic Dream put together many sun-cycles ago.  The demo will feature two full chapters from the game; playing as Norman Jayden (FBI Profiler) and Scott Shelby (Private Investigator), players will get a chance to uncover the mysteries surrounding the Origami Killer.

This demo definitely has me putting everything else on hold, at least for the length of the demo.  When you play it tomorrow, feel free to let us know what you think?  The game is out shortly, and we also hope to have an official review of it as we near it's launch; and it appears it's doing rather well over at Metacritic; but please come back and take our word for it.


Friday, February 5, 2010

New Blur trailer

Former Microsoft-exclusive developer Bizarre Creations is working on wrapping up their latest racing creation, in the form of Blur; this time published by Activision.  A new take on the standard racing career formula, this new game will blur the lines between realistic racing action, and the arcade-like fun found in any of the "Kart" games.

You won't just race around a track, attempting to out-drive your opponents; you'll have access to an assortment of power-ups, including shooting other cars with bursts of energy, boosting your speed, and more.  From looking at the video below, you'll see some of these examples.  I get the feeling it's going to be a cross between their own Project Gotham series, injecting a storyline from the Need For Speed games, and polishing up with the action from a Mario Kart.

Check out the latest trailer showcasing the development team talking about their latest (bizarre) creation.

Blur will be available this spring on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I knew a guy that had a Dreamcast

One of our faithful fans submitted this video to me from and I had to share everyone that is a fan of Mario, or anyone that has ever owned, or knows that guy that had a Dreamcast. Sonic can't get any love, but let's hope all that changes with the upcoming downloadable release of Sonic 4.

Ragnarok Goes Gold And Provides Gameplay Trailer As Proof

XSEED games recently announced that their upcoming title Ragnarok DS has gone gold and quickly followed up the announcement with a gameplay trailer. I am all for RPG'ing on the go, but because I have not played Ragnarok Online on the PC, I am reserving judgement until release day. Being that the PC version is enjoyed by over three million US gamers, the DS portable version, which includes multiplayer through Wi-Fi, and judging XSEED's RPG fan base, it should be a hit.

April is NIERly here

Square Enix has announced that their upcoming title, NIER, will be released globally for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 on April 23rd. NIER is an action-RPG, placing the player in the role of protagonist, huge shocker there! Using the obligatory magic, swords, and armor, Nier will take on waves of enemies and huge bosses to discover a cure for his daughter, infected with the Black Scrawl disease. Additional game features are listed as follows:

• The new action RPG from Square Enix: NIER, the newest franchise from RPG masters Square Enix, delivers unique and memorable characters, intense action-packed battles, explosive magic and storytelling..

• Unbelievable Story Twists and Reveals: Immerse in an amazingly intricate storyline set in a world plagued by human anguish, buried secrets and a ravaging disease. With plot twists hiding around every corner, NIER’s story needs to be seen to be believed.

• RPG-Style Gameplay Injected With Action-Packed Combat: Battle ferocious and mysterious enemies by combining proven RPG-style gameplay, such as magic, character development and faithful allies, with action-focused explosive swordplay and combat.

• Powerful Magical Abilities: When his sword isn’t enough, Nier can call on a remarkable array of stylish and powerful spells to augment his combat moves and overcome adversaries. As players progress, upgraded spells will help defeat ever-more-deadly enemies.

• Brutal Combat Moves: Face off against evil creatures and unleash brutal combat moves along with devastating combo attacks. Unlock an arsenal of devastating weapons, each with its own design and attack style.

• Formidable Allies: Travel with a dynamic party of allies and do battle against monstrous giants as a powerful and united party.

• An Imaginative and Stunning World: Travel across an unforgettable world filled with varied landscapes featuring the hauntingly familiar remains of modern society.

Bioshock 2 launch trailer brings over three minutes of eye candy

Okay, I know we are a little late to posting the Bioshock 2 launch trailer that premiered on Jimmy Fallon's show the other night. Since we know that nobody actually watches his show, we are providing you with the trailer to watch over, and over, and over again until 12:01 AM, February 9th.Enjoy!

Fallout: New Vegas has a Fall 2010 release date and Teaser trailer

News is flowing like wine around these parts. Amidst the AAA game releases, publishers are announcing new details for the games we're all looking forward to later this year.  Amongst these announcements, is that of Bethesda Softworks Fallout: New Vegas and it's impending release this fall 2010.

Under development by Obsidian Entertainment (Alpha Protocal, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Knights of the Old Republic 2), Fallout: New Vegas is the follow-up to the awesomeness that is Fallout 3; so expect the trademark Fallout action, style, grit and humor.  Not much further information is known at this time, but with a release window less than a year away, I'd expect a healthy dose of additional news over the next few months.  In the meantime, check out the teaser trailer here (we'd post it to youtube, but they don't have an age-gate system; anyone know a good video hosting that allows for an age-gate?).

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is Project Needlemouse | Game Announcements

Project Needlemouse is Sonic the Hedgehog 4.

We've all been waiting to get the official scoop from SEGA on what their mysterious "Project Needlemouse" was related to.  Well today, my friends, we have the news...a wholly new 2-D Sonic game, steeped with nostalgia, but upgraded in glorious HD graphics and with a new wide-screen presentation.  I'm guessing you'll hope you have a 240hz tv otherwise, you'll just be seeing a big blue blur as your set tries to keep up.

Of course I kid, I kid...but are you as excited about this as I am??? 

A sequel to 1994's Sonic and Knuckles; the new Sonic will be available on all three current platform's download service (Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, and WiiWare).  Due out this summer - I can't wait.

We'll bring you more information as we get it, you can always check out the official site here, and the first teaser video below, courtesy of Gamespot

***update*** Having video difficulties - will re upload it when corrected.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dante's Inferno Super Bowl Spot ; Pre-Super Bowl

Be the first on your block to check out the upcoming 30-second Super Bowl spot for the exciting Dante's Inferno set to the musical track; "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone".  This is EA's first foray into the highly lucrative (and highly expensive) Super Bowl time slot.  Other than the internet, you will not be able to see this anywhere until Sunday, February 7th.  Don't risk not being able to see it, if CBS doesn't give the green-light!  You can check it out right here.


Dante's Inferno is available February 9th on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the PSP