Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MashButtons Reviews Thor For Nintendo's Wii and DS

Here we are, hot on the heels of Marvel's blockbuster movie release of Thor and here we go with reviews of not just the Wii version of the game, but the DS as well. Those that are not familiar with Norse mythology, the comic superhero, and big screen hunk, Thor is being brought back to life and thrown into our faces via just about any media outlet out there. Of course Sega has made sure to hold true to the comic series with the appearance of 12 ton frost giants and trolls in which you get to gleefully battle waves and waves of these beasts with your legendary hammer, Mjolnir, as Thor, the god of thunder. So here we go for the first time ever, multiple platform reviews for Nintendo’s iterations of Thor: God of Thunder, so on with the DS version’s hand on impressions.

Thor for the DS does not give away the spoiler of the movie, so you will not spoil the movie if you have not seen it yet. This title is a side scrolling hack and slash that features characters from the movie and comic book such as Thor, Odin, and Loki. Though it comes off as rather simplistic, the gameplay is what makes it entertaining. The action is fast and with numerous moves, it is easy to string along combos, but throughout the story, you will find equipable runes to boost speed, strength, special moves, and defense to help take down the onslaught of enemies thrown at you and the larger than life bosses at the end of each chapter. Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of variety between level designs and enemies, as even some of the bosses look alike. The graphics do not stand out to me, mainly because it has been a while since reviewing a DS title over the 3DS titles which just look so much better for a portable gaming system, and if Thor were developed for the 3DS I feel it would have been a better visual experience. The hardest parts of my playthrough were against the bosses as they often took multiple attempts due to the amount of health they have in comparison to Thor. The story of both the DS and the Wii renditions of Sega’s Thor comes down to the story as it is entertaining and adds a substantial amount to story behind the movie and this can quite possibly be due to the fact that the story was written by none other than the Thor comic book author himself, Matt Fraction.

Now for the Wii’s version to the god of thunder, full of remote and nunchuk shaking action. You all know I am not a fan of motion controls, but in this situation it works really well when trying to rack up large combos, as your basic moves are with buttons but you can then shake your controllers to really drive the attacks home. The action is fast and fluid, making the gameplay fun and what keeps you going from start to finish. The graphics are rather meh while still being able to deliver that comic book feel, and I though at one point I was playing Space Harrier when it goes to an on rails shooter. The voice acting was a good touch with Chris Hemsworth playing the voice of Thor. Like the portable version, the story does not follow the movie line so it doesn’t spoil anything if you haven’t seen it yet, but it you have seen the movie; the game provides an entertaining addition. Unfortunately like the latter, the levels and enemies look the same with small variations and battle tends to get repetitive because of this, but leveling up and unlocking new skills and abilities helps keep your mind off the monotony, and the boss battles are large and epic almost resembling a cross between God of War with quick time events and Shadow of the Colossus with the grappling system to climb and find weak point.

So all in all, there is some fun to be had with the two versions of Thor. Though it gets repetitive and lacks variation in character and level design, the gameplay is what carries the experience. Fans of Thor, either comic or movie, can enjoy as it is not a movie game but more of a substantial tie in. I felt like I enjoyed playing on the Wii as it looked and played better but the action on the go of the DS has me playing about an hour at a time before realizing the sun was shining and I should be out doing something more productive, but the Wii version had me flailing frantically while still having fun, despite how ridiculous I looked.

DiRT 3 Is Finally Here, And So Is MashButtons Review

DiRT is back with its third entry to the series. What has changed between the second and the third? That is easy, drift and gymkhana events to start with and since this is mainly a rally racing game there is that other stuff shoved into the disk as well. The show off features of all things rally consist of over 50 cars spanning five decades, 100 plus routes through Europe, Africa, and the US, along with the mud and rain comes snow for the first time. Oh course the fast paced feeling is back that made DiRT 2 my go to racing game for the Xbox 360. Possibly the biggest new feature to DiRT is the introduction of gymkhana to a racing game, and if you don’t know what that is, I highly suggest going to YouTube right now and searching it, as some of the videos have over 15 million views of this driving art form, but we will get into that shortly. Now onto the review to see if the third game still holds up to the dirt loving racing series.

I can safely say after competing in over 50 of the available events over the weekend that this is not the same game as DiRT 2, as the new locations do a good job at keeping races fresh. The same white knuckle racing is still there, just as fast as before but with twice the events, that doesn’t even count the replay value found in the online multiplayer. I am still torn on the addition of gymkhana as it is entertaining to play in events where you have to try and take down objects on an open course and spinning doughnuts in compacts spaces to earn points towards medals. There are a huge amount of cars as you unlock more with each level gained from rep points, also used to unlock additional events. Die hard off road racing enthusiasts should change the settings immediately as the assists nerf the hell out of the gameplay, but it doesn’t take long to get a hold of the controls and upping the difficulty levels to help gain more rep points to help level up faster.

Like I said about being torn on the gymkhana events, they are in fact fun, but do not have the same fulfillment I get by bombing down a point to point event wide open sliding around corners trying to avoid trees and rocks. However the gymkhana drifts could be a blast when played toe to toe against someone on the same skill level. Also, I miss the old RV interface, as it made you feel more like you were on tour crossing the country, whereas now you have this interface with shapes floating by your car and you are not able to modify your car and liveries like the previous entry. Lastly, the collision detection does not feel as spot on as the last game, but this may be resolved in an upcoming patch.

All in all, DiRT 3 is a blast and a perfect addition to 2009’s DiRT 2. Little gripes aside, it is a DiRT title through and through. There are plenty of events to up your rep and unlock vehicles to take online with friends and strangers. You are able to upload YouTube videos, but unfortunately with this feature there will probably be many user submitted videos that don’t help hone your strategies. Like the second, there is a lot of replay value and with races only lasting a couple minutes at a time is it easy to pick up and kill a half hour of free time or just lose yourself for a couple hours, leaving you wondering what happened to the day. I hope to see you all online and feel free to challenge me to a race or two. Kudos again Codemasters, now when will we get a peek at GRiD 2?

MashButtons gives DiRT 3 for the Xbox 360 a 9 out of 10.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Newest Red River Dev Diary Showcases AI Command

The newest developer diary from Codemasters for their upcoming FPS, Operation Flashpoint: Red River, shows and tells the changes to the AI commands behind this shooter. From the looks of it, commanding your teammates will be simpler than trying to command your squad mates from the previous entry, Dragon Rising.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CRUSH3D being remade for the 3DS

Sega annouced that the 2007 puzzle hit, Crush, is going to be remade for the most fitting console, the Nintendo 3DS. CRUSH3D is a puzzle platformer that allows the player to change the world from 2D to 3D and back to help navigate and complete puzzles. Sure, it may not stand out but after watching the above trailer, things look like it will be right at home on the 3DS.

DiRT 3 shows off it's Gymkhana battle

So I don't know if anyone else is as excited as I am for DiRT 3, but we just got a Gymkhana battle trailer for the title as we inch closer to the release date. Looks fun, but let's hope it will still have the solid off road racing that made DiRT 2 so fun.

Agent 47 is back in Hitman Absolution

IO Interactive has just announced before E3 that the next entry in the Hitman series will be showcased at this year's E3. Titled Absolution, follows Agent 47 as he takes on his most dangerous contract so far, finding himself in the middle of a conspiracy embarking on his own journey through a corrupt world.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MashButtons.com reviews Brink

Bethesda sent us Brink last week so we were able to play earlier than most if not all of you folk out there. Don’t worry, I think the reason we got it early was to watch the tutorial video so we can play on day one instead of watching a really long tutorial video. All kidding aside, lots of you are out there wondering just what is Brink, and after having my way with multiple game modes, I think I can help explain, hopefully. Brink is a FPS that has a lot to it, including single player, coop, and multiplayer gameplay in a seamless ball of fun. You choose your side, create your character, and then go after objectives like Trump after Obama’s birth certificate. The story consists of two factions inhabiting the planet’s last safe haven, a floating city known as the Ark, during the middle of a civil war. This civil war has been going on for 25 years and the game starts as Security and Resistance tensions hit the breaking point, leaving you to choose which cause to fight for.

This is not your typical shooter and thankfully Splash Damage put together an in depth tutorial that I suggest watching as it will reward you 1000 XP and some insight as to how the game plays along with help completing missions. The Ark is a large game environment that looks great, think of a more polished Pandora from Borderlands but on a floating city. I started with completing the challenges by myself as there weren’t many people online to help me get through, but it seems difficulty is based on the number of players you select, but after completion I would suggest you do this first as well since there is a number of weapons and hop ups to help with customization of your character for when you start the story missions. Now onto the story, this is where the multiplayer fun begins as you can play alone, coop, or team multiplayer, giving a lot of replay value and providing a unique experience each time you play. I don’t know why but I can spend as much time customizing my Resistance soldier after each level up as I spend playing through the story, as you can change outfits to show off your progression through the ranks along with perks and weapons to get the upper hand on the opposition.

Unfortunately there were a number of issues that stood out to me, the biggest of all would be the horrible team AI when playing single player, despite the difficulty level, and your bot powered teammates are little to no help. So you can play single player if you’re not gaming online but the entertainment and replay values really shine when your online, but if you are playing with people without a microphone, it can be very frustrating, since the missions are mostly team and objective based so if you cannot talk to your teammates to coordinate a plan of action, things will probably not go as awry. The SMART button feature seems to be a bit glitchy at times where it will sense railings or boxes to launch over and then you will come to the same size obstacles and you just seem to run into it and have to reorient yourself if you don’t get shot in back or side while trying to figure out why you got stopped by a 3 foot tall crate.

Brink is probably the hardest game I have had to review. Not due to the difficulty level, but mostly because it is hard to compare it with other games I have previously played. I have had Brink for about a week and each experience seems to be a toss-up in regards to my enjoyment. What I do know is that playing online is where the entertainment comes from, while playing online with people using microphones and working together to complete the mission objectives is a blast. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be in this situation often and unless the next patch lets you filter mic only then each match is a crap shoot. Brink has a lot of opportunity to be a good game should the developers listen to the fans and continuously update and patch, but at this time I have to say it is a fairly average shooter, that is a nice change from other shooters out there that have taken many hours of my life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pre Order Rocksmith get Guitar Center Discount

Today, Ubisoft has announced that music fans pre ordering the upcoming music game, Rocksmith, from GameStop will get 25 dollars towards a guitar from Guitar Center. Rocksmith is the first music game that uses a real guitar plugged into a PS3 or Xbox360 or PC. How the deal works, is that you pre order and will be given a 25 dollar voucher towards a guitar purchase.

Dynasty Warrior: Gundam 3 are looking gooooooooood

So, some of you may know I am a Dynasty Warrior convert after the recent console version and the 3DS title convert after being blown away. This is probably the first and not the last time you will hear me say, I want more now! Gundam 3 is set far in the future, full of gigantic Mobile Suits, with characters spanning the 30 years of the Gundam series, with over 50 playable characters and over 70 suits, with online coop that supports up to four players.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ezio is back in Assassin's Creed Revelations

Ubisoft has announced the fourth chapter in the Assassin's Creed franchise and Ezio's final chapter of his trilogy will be available in November of 2011. This time around, AC: Revelations will take Ezio to walk in the footsteps of his mentor, Altair, in Constantinople, where a growing group of Templars is working to destabilize the region. Multiplayer is also said to return with more gameplay modes and maps.

Darkness II is set to emerge October 4th, 2011

2K Games has just announced the release date to their sequel of their million pluss selling title, The Darkness. Due out in October of this year, will be the second entry to the comic book title that brought us quad weilding FPS gameplay. This time around, Jackie is now the Don of the mob family and is coping with his girlfriend's death by not using his special ability but after a sudden attack onn his life, the Darkness is back.

Dream Trigger releases trailer in days counting down to release.

I have seen a few trailers for Dream Trigger and while I still have no idea what is going on in the videos, there is a lot of intrigue to see the gameplay in 3D with some good stereo headphones in. Dream Trigger is an arcade shooter with 50+ stages set to hit store shelves on May 10th.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Moon Diver lands on XBLA

The four player coop side scrolling hack and slash from Square Enix is available now for XBLA on Xbox 360. Moon Diver was created by Koichi Yotsui, the man behind the iconic Strider. Check out the trailer for seizure induced bliss.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What is LucasArts counting down to? | Big Reveals

Point your firefoxes and your Chromes over to http://maythe4th.starwars.com; and you'll see a countdown timer with approximately 14 hours (as of the time of this writing) left till "All Will Be Revealed".

What is this teaser teasing?

Our friends over at LucasArts sent the above image accompanying the link, is it purely the announcement of the Complete Saga on Blu-Ray (hinted at with the Blu-Ray disc logo), or is this something else?

Have at it in the comments!  Oh, and come back tomorrow to see the reveal

These new Transformers: Dark of the Moon are transmagical!

Set as a prequel of sorts to the upcoming Summer blockbuster, Activision's latest take on the Transformers franchise is inbound within the next few weeks; and here is the latest group of screenshots.

I wasn't a huge fan of the previous title set on Cybertron (something about transforming alien beings with familiar scenes is much better), but am hoping that this new one will bring back the action of games past.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon will release to Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The Nintendo DS, 3DS and Wii versions are slightly different. We'll touch more on that when the game actually debuts in June.

Enjoy the screens after the break

Countdown to DiRT 3 starts with a trailer

We just got the new trailer for the upcoming racer. DiRT 3, possibly my favorite game of last year and easily my favorite racer in a long time. Along with the gameplay trailer, Codemasters has announced the Superteams Pack, consisting of exclusive teams and unlocks 14 cars. The Superteams Pack is available by preorder only, so preorder now and get ready for release on May 24th.

Vegas will be hosting Mortal Kombat tourney

Vegas is only four hours away from me, but I can't bring myself to go and compete, mainly because I have yet to play it online due to the PSN being down. But if you have the balls or the experience to go and compete, you have until next Monday to sign up for an opportunity at $21,000 in prizes at Bally's Hotel and Casino on May 14th and 15th. You can sign up at the below URL.

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

Just in time before this summer's 5th most-anticipated movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, comes the video game counter-part to be released on May 10th.  Well, if that's still too long to wait to see some swashbuckling action; starting today you can play the demo of said new Lego game on Xbox Live (I hear the PSN is having some issues, so they won't have the demo available).

If you've played any of the LEGO games, they're a fun time for all ages, I always get a kick out of the simple gameplay, and the quirky telling of the source material, it's always fun.  In many cases, these games are better than most serious video-game adaptations of a summer blockbuster (Matrix, Iron Man, Kung Fu Panda, you get the idea).

Check it out, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game will be available on May 10th, on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.  Whew.

In other news, the movie will be in theatres on May 20th.

EA purchases Firemint - Let the iOS games begin!

Okay - I know there's more interesting news out there, but some of us can really see the benefit of having a top publishing arm (EA) help distribute small iOS (and other mobile OS) games. EA has already created small, digestible versions of their console franchises, but with the acquiring of top mobile developer, Firemint (Flight Control, and Real Racing); will we see more titles from them?

Press Release:


Creators of Flight Control and Real Racing to Become a Studio of EAi

Melbourne, Australia and Redwood City, Calif. -- May 3, 2011 – Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced an agreement to acquire Firemint Pty Ltd., the leading independent mobile development studio. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Firemint brings a proven powerhouse of creative talent to EAi, with original hits Flight Control and Real Racing for iPhone® and iPad™, and an attractive future slate of games. The deal is not material to EA overall and is expected to close within four weeks. Financial details are not disclosed.

“The Firemint team is remarkable for its critical and commercial success,” said Barry Cottle, Executive Vice President and General Manger of EA Interactive. “Having them as part of EAi will accelerate our position as worldwide leader in game development for mobile devices and online gaming platforms.”

The agreement follows EA’s recent acquisition of Mobile Post Production Inc. (MPP), the worldwide leader in high quality cross-platform development and porting of games for smartphones.

Cottle continued, “The added technical expertise of MPP, combined with the creative talent of Firemint and our EAi studio teams, fuels EA’s leadership in delivering top selling, high quality games across mobile phones and smartphones, tablets and future digital interactive entertainment platforms.”

Monday, May 2, 2011

Expect Free Portal 2 DLC This Summer

Valve, those geniuses, behind greats like Left 4 Dead, Half-Life, and the recent Portal 2 has just let us know that they are currently working on DLC expected to hit gamers this Summer for the low price of FREE.

The DLC pack will feature both single and multiplayer content, consisting of new test chambers for players, leaderboards, and a challenge mode.

Dood, Get Ready to Play Cave Story on the 3DS

That's right, if you are like me and have missed the recent release of Cave Story, well fear not as you will soon get to play it on the go, in 3D, without glasses. Expect to see this gem on store shelves in the states come August 9th.


It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years now but yes, 20 years ago Square Soft released Final Fantasy II here in the states on the brand new super cool Nintendo SNES. (Lovingly referred to by many as the Nintendo Sneeze) So many of us now know the lore of this title as it was named Final Fantasy II here in America when in actuality it was Final Fantasy IV since the real II & III which were NES titles that never made it stateside. Through the years we have had the chance to experience what II & III had to offer (or lack thereof) and came to realize that Final Fantasy IV brought the story back to the RPG. Now as many will agree Final Fantasy VII will always be my baby but if RPG’s were to be a metaphoric family of mine, Final Fantasy IV would have to be my Second Born.
Having played IV as I will call it from here out over 7 times now…let’s see. SNES (Twice), a Kanji PC Version,  PlayStation One, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, a questionable cellphone version, and now the PSP don’t leave home without it version, I think it’s safe to say it’s a favorite. But this time we get all the goods, and I do mean all the Goods. I feel it’s my birthday and Square’s letting me get BUSY, that’s not until the 7th, til then, gotta keep getting busy. So we have the main game that has all the classic story trimmings of good vs. evil, classic betrayal and redemption, all this wrapped up in sacrifice, adding a couple of compelling love stories that would make a romance novelist weep for a week. Think if Star Wars, Camelot, and The Lord of the Rings had a freakish love child through some Triad Union, and you end up with Final Fantasy IV, summed up in a word…AWESOME.
Next, we are given something new, and we all like new. Behold Final Fantasy IV Interlude… Wha What? Yes, this 4-5 hour mini RPG bridges the gap between the main game and its sequel. This little nugget o’ goodness has never been seen, not even on the Wii NES version, so it’s all new just for you. Now the quests seem a little like a Kingdom Hearts retread at times, but I really liked the story aspect as it did make things flow together right, so well done Square, well done. Now on to the piece de resistance… Final Fantasy IV The After Years, well my faithful readers guess what? Its 17 freaking years later and King Cecil and Queen Rosa have a son named Ceodore who is sent on a quest with the Red Wings to discover why a second moon has appeared, the monsters are back and there is the sudden appearance of a helpful but strangely indifferent Hooded Man.
And thus this new RPG has begun and it’s all here, no costly passive aggressive monthly episodic download content to rob you of your lunch money. A whole new RPG, heck, it really is your birthday and Square is delivering! Good lord I almost forgot about the beautiful signature Square Soft cinemas that are a little sparse this time but I will take anything I can get because they are delicious! So there you have it my little RPGers go, run, race, or teleport to your game kiosk or store and get Final Fantasy IV The Complete Collection, your kids will thank you when they sell it on EBay Prime 20 years from now for 70 creds. As always, I will leave you with a little quote from my Dad… He’s gone but always remembered, “There’s a destiny that makes us brothers, none walks this way alone, and all that you put into the lives of others, comes back into your own.” Yeah pretty deep, till next time, Zircon has officially left the Blog. PEACE!!