Monday, June 25, 2012

MashButtons gets DiRTy in latest review Showdown

See what we did there, you know because we are reviewing DiRT Showdown…oh nevermind. Anyways, Codemasters sent me a copy to review and being a fan of 2 and 3, I was fairly excited about the new game. DiRT Showdown is just that, an arcade racing game pitting you against others in a number of less than traditional events. This time, more focused on destruction, available events include racing, crashing, and hooning across the world. Not only does it support the expected multiplayer, it has what more and more games lately don’t have, splitscreen multiplayer.
This game is fun, plain and simple. You go fast and you crash, I mean that sums up everything I thought that was fun as a kid. You still have some races, but it is mostly don’t let your car get destroyed, destroy anyone and everyone, crazy 8’s, and drifting. That is nice and useful for unlocking cars but the quick events are just a primer for the good stuff…online multiplayer. This is what online gameplay is about, short destruction filled events. You don’t have to be the greatest, you just have to hit them. The visuals are great and add to the excitement with fireworks, laser lights, and pyrotechnics to add a lot of flash, think along the lines of how Tricky was to SSX.
This is not what you would expect if you have played any of the previous DiRT titles and did not see any advertising before playing Showdown. As being such a big fan of both 2 and 3, I was disappointed with the lack of emphasis on racing. That is not to say I didn’t have a blast once the events started, I found myself playing through one rank in one sitting. I had fun with Showdown, but and this is a pretty big one here, the online could be great IF more people were online, one out of every three times I would try to find a match at all different times of the day, I was able to connect. 
I loved the game when I playing through the single player.  That can only last so long though, the multiplayer was fun…when I could find a match. Had there been more of a community playing Showdown, the multiplayer could have been great. It did feel like it could have been an expansion to DiRT, and should Codemasters have gone that route or a lower price tag like MX vs. ATV had done, there would be more people online and less waiting for the price drop.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

MashButtons reviews the next HD collection, this time for the Vita

Konami has provided us with a review code for their latest Metal Gear Solid remake; this time around it is for the Vita and comes fully loaded with MGS 2 and 3. Both were and still are some amazing games; combine that with the ability to take two of Kojima’s finest games on the go while also appearing in HD on the Vita’s beautiful screen. So what makes this version different from the PS3 HD collection since it is the same price but only two games? Two little features make me hope developers will catch on to, first being the updated the controls to utilize the touch screen and the other is Transfarring or saved data sharing with the PS3 version of the collection. Let’s see how this on-the-go game holds up many years and multiple consoles later.

I will argue until I am blue in the face that the earlier Metal Gear Solid title are great if not perfect games…up until MGS 4, I mean there are only so many cutscenes I can take. That aside, most of us have all played or seen someone play the earlier Metal Gear Solid titles, so the emphasis on this review will show how it holds up with its shiny new coat. Holds up, it does as the HD graphics on the Vita look great, worlds above the release of Snake Eater on the 3DS. Speaking of the 3DS, the controls work better on the Vita over the hard edge Nintendo portable, with the dual analog joysticks and access to your items and weapons from the corners of the touch screen without much obstruction to the view. Aside from how the updated gameplay holds up, MGS 2 and 3 is not all that comes in this hefty package, but Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake as well.

Not without flaws, there were some things that took away from the enjoyment; the biggest is the sensitivity of the controls. From the camera controls to trying to keep a steady aim, it takes patience and a slow, steady hand. This collection is an memory hog, claiming a whopping 3.3 gigs of my memory card, so my advice to you is make sure you have the space on your memory card or buy retail. Lastly is the price tag, it is the same price as the PS3 collection and does not include MGS: Peace Walker. The Transfarring feature was really damn cool, but to have the collection on both systems would run you eighty dollars.

I told myself that I would not play through the Metal Gear Solid series again when announced for the PS3, especially after awkwardly playing on the 3DS. The HD Collection gets announced or the Vita, then the capability of Transfarring gets added to the mix and next thing you know I am back to playing through Snake Eater for a second time in the same year on two different portables. I preferred playing on the Vita over the 3DS as the hand positioning of the portable, screen, and sound were far superior.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Third Rail Slim Case and Battery Review

We live in a very busy world.  A non-stop-up at dawn, sleep maybe, type of world.  While we're awake, we are constantly glued to our smart phones...well if you're anything like me and millions of others, you are.  Email, facebook, tweeting?  How many times have you needed more juice from your phone?  Like a bazillion times, amiright?

Well, there are also about a bazillion options out there, we've had a few in our offices as well, but we have had the chance of checking out Third Rail's solution to the mobile energy crisis for a few weeks now, and though they do some things right, there are a few missteps as well.

What's unique in Third Rail's case, is not a case/battery combination, where the battery is installed into a thicker case.  It's actually two pieces.  There's a Slim case, made from a rubberized matte material, which feels really nice to the touch.  I actually hate/avoid putting a case on my iPhone, but I didn't mind having this on.  It adds minimal thickness, but it does add some to the height of the phone, as there's a 30-pin connection on the bottom that allows it to sync to the phone.  You can buy just the slim case, though not sure why you'd want to without having the battery.  The real draw here would be the kit, that includes the case, the external battery, and cables to support them all.  This allows you to just throw the battery on when you need to suck up a bit of juice.

There are some pros and cons here, so before you go rushing out, here us out.


  • Low-profile case design allows for minimal distraction of intended iPhone design.
  • Smart Battery that can be charged separately from phone
  • Smart Battery is also useable on many other devices using included USB adapter
  • Smart Battery has 5 LED indicators showing charge remaining
  • Only supplies about 60% charge to iPhone 4 in tests
  • Smart Battery adds significant bulk when in use, and doesn't add much in the aesthetic department.
  • Smart Battery attaches somewhat too loosely and can pop off really easily
Overall, it's a solid product, that meets many demands.  We only wish there were some larger battery capacities available, as we only ever got about 60% charge added to our iPhone 4 in multiple tests.  Increase the capacity, and slightly alter the design to allow the battery to fit more securely and not pop off in our pocket and you got yourself a viable option for your dollar.  

One other thing to mention, this is currently only fitted for the iPhone 4/4S, and with the expected next-generation iPhone due out in the next few months, (with an expected different physical design) you may want to hold out to see if ThirdRail will have a new system or even the Slim Case available, where we can still use our batteries.  As I write that, it just dawns on me - it'd be super easy for them to re-design the new slim-case to fit any new device, but you won't necessarily need to buy a whole new system/battery.  This is a great plus for ThirdRail - we are definitely looking forward to what's in store for them next.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Assassin's Creed III Liberation is your reason to get a Vita

All of us here at MashButtons were pretty hyped about Assassin's Creed III to even ponder a Vita version. Low and behold someone was already pondering the thought and now, here at E3, the thought has developed into a trailer and now we are all giddy inside. Liberation is a story involving Aveline, the series' first female protagonist, fighting for freedom in 18th-century New Orleans. Ubisoft also states that the first full length portable Assassin's Creed will also include the signature gameplay and features that made the series what it is.

Watch Dogs may be my favorite E3 announcement

So after Ubisoft's press conference, we were given the assets for the announcements, and with what I had just seen regarding the upcoming title Watch Dogs, I wanted to get it out to you all to enjoy. Watch Dogs is an action title in which you take on the role of Aiden Pearce, and anti hero that can hack into any connected system in a world where EVERYTHING is connected. Sounds far fetched but after the gameplay video, you will see why this is one of my favorite announcements to come from the show.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stick of Truth trailer is South Park and YOU!

A few months ago we learned that there was to be a South Park game, and it was to be an RPG none the less. We also previously knew Obsidian was behind the project so we also knew it had a very strong chance of being a good RPG. Now that the trailer is released...holy shit, I want to play this game, make my own South Park character, and become the stick wielding savior of the town. Looks like we also get a release date, March 5th, 2013.

Sam Fisher is back Splinter Cell: Blacklist

In Ubisoft press conference, a number of titles have been announced and you will hear about them as they are made available to us. This first if Tom Clancy's next title in the Splinter Cell series, Blacklist. Taking on the roll of Sam Fisher, lethal operative to prevent and eliminate terrorist threat by any means necessary. The trailer looks great with a healthy dose of both gameplay and cinematics, that with the modern weapons and tools, and this will be staying on our radar.

Konami annouces sequel to Lords of Shadows

So far this year at E3, Konami hasn't disappointed us. The reason being is that they have announced the sequel and released the trailer above for Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2. Those of you that don't remember, Castlevania got an 3rd person action title for the consoles, and as a fan of the portable versions, I was a skeptic. Much to my surprise, the game was friggin great and that just makes this announcement that much more exciting.

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a second try of a great idea

A couple years back we got a fighting crossover that had some great potential but just kind of fell short of expectations. The title was Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Since then, the Mortal Kombat has released Mortal Kombat on the consoles and the Vita and both were great if not damn near perfect. So when Nether Realm states that Injustice: Gods Among Us will be a fighter, without the Mortal Kombat roster, our attention has piqued again.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Konami announces Little King's Story for the Vita

Konami has made my weekend with the announcement of Little King's Story on the Vita. This is huge news for those that have played this title on the Wii and own a PS Vita. Little King's Story felt very similar to Pikmin in terms of gameplay, but the story, bosses, and the humor of this title brought me some of the most enjoyment and usage from my Wii and I am quite sure it will again, but this time around on my Vita.

Trips, Tigers, and Far Cry 3

We have gotten our first E3 trailer up and it is the teaser trailer for Ubisoft's upcoming Far Cry 3. Though this is a teaser, it does show off the new environments, enemies you will be facing off against and...a tiger. Thats right, a freaking tiger! As like last years of E3, this could be but a fraction of what is to come in the next few days regarding the third entry and follow up to one of my favorite open world action adventure Far Cry 2 and if there is news, you will be sure to find it here for this title.