Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MotoGP 09/10 Review

Upon receiving Capcom's latest, MotoGP 09/10, I really had no interest in the game.  Although I love a good racing sim, (Forza and Gran Turismo Series), I've never been into a pure street bike racer.  This is likely due to my love of cars, but not so much of street bikes.  Not to say that I dislike, or even loathe street bikes, I just have more knowledge of the 4-wheel variety of transportation/racing.  However, after a few races, and then a full-on jump into the Career Mode, MotoGP has me hooked, and in some ways more than my beloved Forza or Gran Turismo does.

Read on for the full Review

Monday, March 29, 2010

Supreme Commander 2 | Review

Synopsis: Next gen RTS fans have a new reason to rejoice with the recent release of Supreme Commander 2. Square Enix provided me with a copy of their sequel to Supreme Commander for review and after being let down by the recent Halo Wars and the console versions of Command and Conquer, I am looking forward to spending some time with this title. The sequel takes place 25 years after the events of the original with the assassination of the newly elected president and each faction denies involvement, blaming each other, and then the war begins. In this title, the player takes control of one of the three factions throughout the game playing through the situation from the view of each side over the course of eighteen missions.

Praise: I would highly suggest playing through the half hour tutorial first unless you’re already familiar with the controls, as I tried playing a mission without the tutorial and was lost, but the tutorial went quickly and made the game much more enjoyable and easier to take advantage of all of the available features. The available skill tree adds an RPG element to the game that helps keep you playing by improving skills and abilities throughout the campaigns. The gameplay and forgiving learning curve is where I felt this title really shines as you are constantly engaged in action, whether it be to overtake the opposing faction or defending your soldiers and base from being taken over, and the learning curve seems to be just right as each mission gets more challenging without getting so difficult that it takes numerous attempts to find the one strategy that works. While the scenery doesn't change much through the campaigns, the available units do, and research provides new experimental units to play with and various objectives keep gameplay from getting overly repetitive. Lastly, the strategic zoom view is a new feature in the sequel that improves the management of your squad as you have the abilitiy to see all units and easier select a specific unit type to command.

Gripes: Immediately after starting Supreme Commander 2, I noticed that the visuals seemed sub par and comparable to those seen on original Xbox or PlayStation 2 titles. The tutorial is imperative if you are unfamiliar with the controls from the original, as I was lost and would have missed out on a number of the elements that made this title what it is. The only other issue is with the online play, while I was able to find other people to play with, they all seem to be RTS masters as I never had a chance, but more time and practice with this title will hopefully eventually get me a win or two.

Overall, Supreme Commander is a much needed RTS for the Xbox 360, while there have been a handful of titles in this genre released for the 360, it seems a lot of them fall short when released on the console with the exception of a small few. This title does provide a good amount of replay value and is easy to pick up and play a mission if strapped for time and even easier to lose yourself to the gameplay, spending hours on it before you realize where the time went. Now it is back to practicing so I can get that much needed win online to make me feel like less of a noob. gives Supreme Commander 2 an 8 out of 10.

Supreme Commander 2 is available now for the PC and Xbox 360.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just Cause 2 | Review

Synopsis: Square Enix has just released their third person action title Just Cause 2, and since we got a review copy, my spare time has been spent playing this game and thinking about different destruction options to try when I am unable to play. You take on the role of Rico Rodriguez, armed with a parachute, grappling hook, and your typical arsenal of vehicles and weaponry to cause chaos and destruction to find Rico’s previous boss and mentor, Tom Sheldon that has gone rogue with the agency’s money and intelligence. In order to do this, you will need to align yourself with rival gangs to complete your mission as a hired weapon trading your services for intel. Just Cause 2 now allows your character Rico even more options to complete your objective, whether it be free falling, hijacking vehicles which includes jets and helicopters mid flight, and over a hundred weapons and vehicles for causing mass destruction using virtually anything you can imagine.

Praise: Whether you’re a fan of sandbox titles or not, it is hard to think of anyone that would not have fun playing this title. You can literally do almost anything at any point in this game and an example of the game’s size is that I am 10 hours into this and only 7 percent completed. It is incredibly easy to get distracted and hijack a truck, then come across a helicopter, attach the truck to your chopper and drag it around destroying everything and everyone in your path. The environment is visually stunning and the massive size will take you many hours to explore and take on additional side missions. The character controls are similar to most other sandbox titles and does not take long to master your grappling hook and parachute. The story is strong especially after completing missions from the local gangs; you quickly become cautious of those you are working for to make sure they do not turn on you.

Gripes: Vehicle controls are my biggest problem with the title as they are difficult to control and most of the vehicles can be easily destroyed by the opposition, leaving you stranded trying to find the next vehicle to help get you to a mission location. You can use a quick extraction, but that only works to be taken to locations that have been previously discovered. Some missions can get a bit repetitive and occasionally too long especially if your or an NPC that you have to protect gets killed and you fail the mission, you get to start all over again from the beginning.

Overall, Just Cause 2 is a much needed sequel to its mediocre predecessor. Whether you are looking to play through the story missions, or just taking your time exploring Panau and destroying local properties and assassinating Colonels, it is hard not to enjoy and notice the hard work and creativity put into Just Cause 2 to make it enjoyable by most any gamer, casual or hardcore. This title has the replay value to keep you busy for a long, long time with almost 200 missions and over 350 towns to discover and wreak havoc on. gives Just Cause 2 a 9 out of 10.

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fragile Dreams | Review

Synopsis: For all you gamers that prefer your gameplay on the Wii, XSEED has provided us with a review copy of Fragile Dreams, the latest adventure title featuring light RPG elements from the team behind Eternal Sonata, available to play now exclusively on the Nintendo Wii. Players take on the role of Seto, the last human being alive in a post apocalyptic world that comes across a mysterious girl who disappears as quickly as she is encountered, you will then search for this mysterious girl, Ren, while also looking for others in the empty cities. While the character starts with a couple tools to get through the story, they will later be able to find and purchase other useful items and upgrade these tools to help seek out others while fighting off ghosts and demons haunting the numerous abandoned cities. Get your flashlights ready to uncover the secret behind our review of Fragile Dreams.

Praise: Yes, there is another Wii title where the main character uses a flashlight to uncover secrets in an abandoned world, while this does sound familiar to my review of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, this is a very different and equally entertaining title. The controls are fairly simple, you control the main character with the remote and nunchuk, using your flashlight to find clues, and have a designated attack button to help with enemies encountered along the way. The upgrading, finding, and purchasing new tools help keep the action fresh while making your way through the story. Dark environments and storyline make this game truly stand out, providing a different experience from anything seen lately while the creative direction used make this a dark game that you want to play straight through and can easily do over a matter of a few days. While this is very similar to some recent movies, it takes on its own persona while including a main character the player can easily relate to. I really cannot expand on the story aside from the description in the synopsis without giving away any spoilers, but this title focuses on death, without using the more violent pattern seen in similar games and movies, while still providing scary moments you will remember even after completion. The visuals have an anime feel which is a nice change from the grittier looking horror and suspense titles that Fragile Dreams can be compared to and the soundtrack sounds like something straight out of a JRPG game.

Gripes: The story, environment, and main character draw you in from start to finish, but there are a few things that leave emptiness after completion. The games length is short, around ten hours from start to finish for me including completing a few of the optional side quests. Even though ten hours is typical with action games, it goes by really fast, with little replay value after completion. I did say that the story is spectacular, but I was left with a number of questions after completion, which in turn made me more curious as to whether the questions left were intentional or if the explanation was lost in the translation of the title. I know this comes up in a number of my reviews of Wii titles that use the remote to look around, but I have to bring it up again and I apologize in advance but it is hard to get the hang of looking around using the remote without going too far or too fast causing lots of over correction.

Overall, Fragile Dreams is worth a playthrough, and hard to put down after the first thirty minutes. With the story, environment, and overall creepiness, I was happy I got the opportunity to play through this, as I had heard nothing about this title before its release. Though it is a shorter title to complete and will not be getting a second playthrough, making it harder to justify the fifty dollar price tag, it was definitely worth the play through from start to finish. gives Fragile Dreams an 8.5 out of 10.

Fragile Dreams is available now for the Nintendo Wii.

Sega's Yakuza 3 | Old School Review

Sega has sent us their latest in the Yakuza series, Yakuza 3 (Ryū ga Gotoku), which finally made it out to the West, just as Yakuza 4 is released in Japan. And for full-disclosure, we've never played the previous titles. But Sega and Developer Amusement Vision have done an incredible job of providing the back-stories of the two previous iterations.  A cool feature, but I found that after playing a little, you pick up on the context clues of what was going on before.

Full Review after the break

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lunar: Silver Star Harmony Review

Howdee all, XSeed was so kind as to stuff our mail box with a copy of Lunar, Silver Star Harmony on the PSP. Here is my most humble review.

Synopsis: The wonderful tale of Lunar makes its way to the PSP. Harmony is not the first iteration of the Lunar story. The franchise first started on the Sega CD, went onto just about every known video game platform before the time of PS2. It’s a classic Hero coming of age tale where Alex who is on a adventure to be the next Dragonmaster following in the footsteps of his hero, Dragonmaster Dyne. Alex, along with Luna and his flying best friend, Nall, team up with various people along the way to complete the quest to become the next guardian of the goddess Althena.

New Playable Parts...WOHOO

Praise: Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is a great adventure with a great cast of characters. The graphics of the main game have been improved as well as they have added voice over for some of the text. They also added showing the main characters as they are talking with text. This is a new feature that gives you a view of the character and the emotions they are showing during those moments. The original Lunar was famous for likable characters, great character development, and a story that was top notch. The original had animation cut scenes that became the trademark of the Lunar games. Harmony has all of this and more.

The 2-D graphics have been completely revamped as well as they have added a playable Prologue that wasn’t available in previous editions. The musical scores of the game have been improved upon and are really enjoyable. They give you a good feeling as you are playing and as the music changes depending on the situation you are in, will completely submerse you in the game play. The witty commentary by Alex’s flying smart talking friend, Nall, gives the game a lot of humor and I found myself waiting to see what he said next. He insults, he begs for fish (his fav food) and just all around hits on the women.
One Eyed monster and plant dog AAAHHH

A feature that you no longer see in RPG is the Auto-Battle option. You can choose to have the computer choose the choice of your characters, or choose a tactic that will either have all attach, defend, or individual AI for the character. You also have an option to make your own tactics, i.e. one defends, one attack, and one uses AI. This is a great feature that I miss in the RPG games of today. When you are battling a bunch of low level characters, just choose all attack and let it go to work. This will save you time and energy of assigning actions to characters on low level enemies.

Complaints: With new graphics, voice over, and stylish drawing type graphics, comes the load times. Each time you change the current scene you are on, i.e. going into a building, going to a new section of town, gives you a lengthy 5-6 second load time and a drawn fade out and fades in type scene. This might sound petty, but when the towns are only two or three screens big, and you can go into damn near every house, this load time really adds up.
Flying smarty Nall, but don't call him a cat

Another thing that annoyed me, but this is coming from a fan of the original, is they changed the songs at the beginning of the game and a scene on a boat with Luna singing. Believe it or not, these were some of my favorite songs when I was a kid and I was really looking forward to hearing them again, but alas, they were not there. The songs were changed to fit a more, romantic feel of the game. I also felt they could have redid the animation scenes, with changing the songs, they kept the mouth moving to the dialogue of the old songs, giving it a kind of dubbed Japanese kung fu flick.

The voice over is very inconsistent. It goes from good one scene to bleeding from the ears in another. I feel these little issues keep Harmony from being the end all Lunar game. It really will not draw too much away from the game, but for original fans such as myself, it can be really annoying.

Overall: Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is a great game with new features. The story line, though cliché by today’s standards, is still a great tale of Alex and his friends. For anyone that has not played a Lunar game, I would suggest starting here if you have a PSP. Xseed did a fantastic job on everything with a few minor issues that do not draw too much away from the game.

Mashbuttons gives Lunar: Silver Star Harmony a 8 of 10

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sonic Classic Collection | Review

Synopsis: Retro and handheld enthusiasts alike will appreciate this review as Sega is taking me back to the nineties with a review copy of Sonic Classic Collection. This title includes the complete original Sonic the Hedgehog adventures on one cartridge, showing the new generation of gamers to the revolutionary for its time classic franchise that had originally appeared on the Sega Genesis. New to the handheld experience in comparison to dusting off the Genesis is a new save feature, allowing the player to save their progress at any time while playing Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Another new ability is the option to play as Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic 2 and 3. With much ado, on with the review.

Praise: With remaking classic titles, it is hard to expect anything more than what you remember from the original, and Sega kept true with the series, by bringing back memories of hours spent with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Robotnik, and the beloved Green Hill Zone. With the four titles brought back in one cartridge, it is easy to play through the series from start to finish in the nostalgic worlds and levels, and the result being large amounts of replay value. Being able to play as Knuckles in Sonic 2 and 3 is a welcome and new way to play through the classics, while bringing in fresh controls to the old environments. The biggest new feature in my opinion has got to be the ability to save on the fly, for when you only have a few minutes to play or when the flight attendant demands you turn off all electronics until they say otherwise.

Gripes: The downside to remaking a retro title is the outdated graphics and gameplay, which it seems to affect all playable games on this cartridge, especially Sonic and Sonic 2. When I got to points that were familiar and a lot of movement was happening on the screen at once, the gameplay got noticeably choppy and experienced slowdown. Another thing that would have been nice to see in the Classic Collection would have to be some sort of graphical enhancement as these look exactly how they did years ago on the Genesis and seems like they pulled the previous games from their archives, threw them on a cartridge, and put them on store shelves.

Overall, this is a lot of fun to play as all of the previous worlds and levels you had once mastered, quickly come back to you and let’s face it, the original Sonic titles were good clean fun. Whether you grew up on the original games, or are new to the Sonic classics, it is entertaining to play through one of the biggest franchises the helped get video games where they are today. gives Sonic Classic Collection an 8 out of 10.

Sonic Classic Collection is available now for the Nintendo DS.

Get your beta on for Need for Speed World

Black Box, part of EA, has recently announced the closed beta for Need for Speed World, the MMO racing game has begun.Thousands of players will have the opportunity to participate in the beta over the course of the next few months. World will be the first MMO racing title and will provide a new experience to fans of the genre providing a new power up system and RPG style progression. This title also takes 150 miles of of open world racing from environments found in the Most Wanted and Carbon titles.

You can enlist for the beta now at

Thursday, March 18, 2010

EA's latest MMA trailer hits some buttons

If my son was kidnapped, and the only possible ransom was for me to think of the most appropriate gift for my friend Mike's birthday (not all kidnappers want money!), then I think I'd be okay.  Coming up with 10 Million dollars, (in unmarked, non-consecutive bills, of course) is quite an undertaking, but having to get someone a gift that fits their personality, their style, and fills a gap in their life they never even knew they were missing, is actually...well, can I get a loan?

Coming out of EA's Season Opener event held last week, is the release of the latest trailer of their upcoming MMA game.  We've posted that here for you to enjoy.  And by "you" I mean "Mike".  So come on in and enjoy the latest video.  Oh, I posted some screenshots for you as well.  And by "you" I mean "everyone".

Unfortunately, they've put a "Late 2010" release date on this one, so Mike, I'm sorry, this may be more of a Hanukkah gift...and sorry Son, as it looks like you and Mr Stranger will have a little more bonding to do.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It all seems SO obvious. End-Boss(s) chastise own Army(ies) | Comedy

College Humor so hilariously sums up the general feeling if you were the End-Boss of many of our favorite (nostalgic) games from the 8 and 16-bit era's.

This is some funny shit, we double-dog dare you not to laugh!

Poor Bowser

Hot Brink Trailer to watch with open eyes!

Once in a while a new IP comes along that has lots o' promise (it's almost St Patty's Day), and today, we bring you the just-released trailer for Brink, Bethesda's upcoming FPS from developer Splash Damage.

Even though it's purely a cinematic trailer, I'm digging the art-style, and the overall feel of the game.  It's Mirrors Edge meets actual shooting (lol), but not really.  I'm only basing that on the Parkour found in the trailer below.  I'm hoping this is a good one, I'm rooting for Bethesda to have a winner since they've started publishing more titles (Wet, Rogue Warrior, upcoming iD titles RAGE, etc).

Check out the recently re-launched official site here to keep up-to-date, and come back often as we'll have more information as it is released.

Major League Baseball 2K10 Review

It’s March, so that means it’s the time of year to get excited for baseball season. Getting excited for actual baseball and the baseball video games, though, are two different things. Not since MVP Baseball 2005 for the old school Xbox have I been excited for a baseball video game. Now, this game still doesn’t compare to MVP 05’ but it’s getting closer and by far the best of the 2k baseball series in my opinion.

The Good: As expected the graphics are great but slightly worse than last year’s game, however, I feel that the animations are much smoother than in previous years. My biggest gripe with the game before was how frustratingly difficult the pitching and hitting is in the game. This year the pitching is light years ahead of where it was before and makes the game much more fun. The in-game commentators do a great job and keep the material relatively fresh. I haven’t gotten too in-depth into franchise mode but so far I like it, mostly because of the new MLB Today feature. Right now I am in love with the My Player mode, which allows me to create a player and bring him up through the minor leagues and get called up to the majors. Many sports games have modes like this but for some reason I like the one in this game much more than any of the others.

The Bad: As stated earlier, I love the changes in the pitching mechanics but I don’t feel the same way about the hitting. The concepts of the controls make sense, but it doesn’t feel very natural and as a result, I completely suck at it. As much as I like the My Player mode, I can’t help but feel a bit cheated because the graphics aren’t as good in the mode compared to the graphics in a normal game. In franchise mode I always like the fact that they have 3 levels of the minor leagues but I wish they had more accurate rosters. They do a pretty good job with the AAA team but that’s about it, I would like to see more top prospects in there (for the love of god Dustin Ackley isn’t in the game). I understand that it would be impossible to have every team’s AA and A rosters exactly correct, but they should at least have every organizations’ top 15 or so prospects and then fill in the rest with fictional players.

Overall I was pleased with the overall effort, like I said it’s no MVP Baseball 2005 but at least it isn't MLB 2K9. I’m hoping that after the season starts that the lower level rosters get ironed out with a roster update, but I’m not holding my breath. With the hitting I’ll have to just suck less at it and then maybe I can stop complaining about it. The pitching is really fun, especially when you master the 12-6 curve and watching the movement on the pitch. give Major League Baseball 2K10 an 8 out of 10.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And Sony's response to Micorosft's Natal is...PlayStation Move

(and of course Nintendo's Wii).

But who will have theirs out first?  And for how much?  And will you look cooler swinging a black controller with a multi-colored "light-bulb" on top, or swinging your hands, arms, and body to nothing while Sauron's Natal's eye follows your every move?

Behold...PlayStation's Move controller, with color-changing bulb.
I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, but I'm hoping the gaming community will let me know.  Though, I have a sneaking suspicion this may not have been created for the hardcore.  Obviously.  Check out the trailer below, it showcases a few of the launch games.  I'm not so sure I'll be picking this up on day one, (or ever) unless they pull out some games that truly take major advantage of this new add-on.

Bodycount announced as new IP from Codemasters

Codemasters has announced they have a new IP in production in the form of wait for it...a first person shooter, claiming to deliver a genre defining gun play in an "orgy of bullets and destruction". Players will take on the role of a powerful combat asset in the middle of a global power struggle recently given the go ahead to eliminate targets using contemporary weapons in a destructible environment, where it is encouraged to leave no witnesses. Expect to see Bodycount on store shelves Q1 of this year for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Ryan Kesler announced as cover athlete for NHL 2K11

2K Sports has announced they have signed the two-way forward for the Vancouver Canucks and 2010 Olympics hero, Ryan Kesler to appear on the cover and be their spokesman for their upcoming hockey title, NHL 2K11. Expect the virtual version of Ryan Kelsar to be available this fall on the Nintendo Wii.

2K Games and Playboy keep Mafia II classy

2K Games has recently announced that an agreement with Playboy has been made to integrate more than 50 of their vintage covers and centerfolds in the upcoming title, Mafia II. Players of this title will be able to collect virtual copies throughout gameplay for virtual viewing goodness. Expect to find Mafia II this year on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Atari is bringing back Test Drive franchise

Atari has recently announced that Test Drive Unlimited 2 will be hitting next gen consoles and PC this Fall. What that means is that we will be getting another racing title this year, but this time with Massively Open Online Racing, or M.O.O.R., according to Atari. This new feature places drivers in an online environment that allows you to compete, team up, and share achievements online. This title will also feature vehicle damage, weather effects, day/night cycles, and a new island to explore.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's pie time for a PB Winterbottom Review

Oh wonderful olde-timey pie-crusader!  Ye have stumbled upon a misadventure so grand, you are toying with our reason and logic.  Time-shifting, reality-bending, little pie puzzles, we LOVE you!

If you're not quite sure of what game I'm referring to, why it's none other than The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom available now for the Xbox Live Arcade for a mere 800 points ($10.00).  2K Play has sent us a copy to review, and to encourage you to check out this wonderfully unique title.
 The game-play resembles one of the worlds in Braid (if you've never played that one, you are doing yourself a disservice my friends).  You control P.B. Winterbottom, on a quest through over 75 levels of pie collecting.  This isn't just any platformer though, my friends.  With the help of your clones, and your ability to manipulate the time-space continuum.  As Ricky Ricardo once said to Lucy, "Lucy Mashbuttons, you got some 'splainin' to do!". 

Quite right.  (Continue reading after the break)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx | Review

Synopsis: Gearbox has done it again and released yet another DLC pack for the hugely entertaining IP, Borderlands. The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is the most recent of DLC packs claiming to be their largest pack to date, boasting twice as long as the Zombie Island of Dr. Ned DLC pack. The Secret Armory introduces a new area to Pandora which is twice the size of Jacob’s Cove providing new missions, entirely new weapons, and an increase in the level cap to sixty one, rather than fifty. After completing the new addition to my favorite game of 2009 on playthrough one and partially through on playthrough two, here is a little review for those that haven’t purchased it yet.

Praise: Because this is a review of the most recent DLC, I will focus on addressing the content and gameplay while trying not to get off topic. Gearbox developers have been listening to their fans’ requests from the launch of this title to date and the proof is in the new level cap and additional vehicles. This recent pack continues the story from where the game left off, which is great because it isn’t the typical map pack or add on level. The increased level cap of sixty one is the biggest thing I wanted from this title; however, I am not able to stop until I reach the new level cap now. Also the lack of variety when it comes to vehicles has been addressed with the monster, that totes a heat seeking rocket weapon and the lancer, armed with a cannon that shocks whatever it comes into contact with. The dialogue is probably what stands out the most with more over the top humor and vulgarity, often times leaving me shocked wondering if they really said or did that.

Gripes: The new DLC does provide substance in regards to dialogue, but where it excels in content it still lacks a deep story. Difficulty on playing alone on the second playthrough was rough on my level 42 Lilith and level 50 Brick, so much so that I went back to playthrough one to level up more before trying to complete again on playthrough two. Unfortunately, the few times I tried playing coop on playthrough two I was unable to quickly find someone to join my game. The other issue I had quite often was regardless to the vehicle I was in; it would get stuck easily and would end up having to go to the nearest station to spawn another.

Overall, what’s next? Really! After playing through two out of three of the available packs, multiple playthroughs, and two different characters, what else can Gearbox bring to the world of Borderlands? I am hoping for a new character class, but not holding my breath. Gearbox has really outdone themselves with a solid game and fun DLC packs to keep fans from trading it is and leaving the immersive planet of Pandora. gives Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx an 10 out of 10.

Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is available now for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3.