E3 09 Preview: Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Left4Dead was a great game with a simple concept: survive the zombie infection. And the second game? Looks like the same concept, but same good old zombie head popping action. I only got a chance at one round, but I still had a lot of fun! Continue reading “E3 09 Preview: Left 4 Dead 2”

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Beatles Rock Band at E3

The era of music games is still going (and going…and going), and now Rock Band has decided to bring in one of the most iconic and well known band in the world: The Beatles.
beatles
Like before, there are the quick play options and the career mode. In Career mode you get to follow the Beatles through their career as you get to play their earlier songs such as “I Saw Her Standing There” off of the Please Please Me Album all the way to to end of their career supposedly. We’re still waiting for a definite set list, but the songs demoed for us were “I saw Her Standing There”, “I am the Walrus” and they did announce that “All you Need is Love” will be available as Downloadable Content (DLC) soon after the game was released. It was also mentioned that funds from people purchasing “All you Need is Love” will be be benefiting the Doctors Without Borders foundation!

The backgrounds looked great as the movements were smooth and realistic. The venues were those taken right from the Beatles’ career, all the way from the Cavern Club’s darker setting and small crowd to the Ed Sullivan show and the screaming girls. The cuts of the crowd are something straight out of the old videos, with the screaming and jumping girls that started the trend that still continues on today. Now, some of the later songs aren’t quite something that would fit a normal venue setting, so some…artistic liberties were taken. Now, don’t take this as a bad thing, especially since its something that steals the show. Dreamscapes are colorful, out of this world landscapes that reflect the songs. So while you’re playing “I am the Walrus”, you get to see the band playing in a spinning technicolor like land and a creepy man with a walrus mask. It’s, hard to explain, but imagine The Yellow Submarine movie mixed in with 3D graphics, make it into a music video and you’ve got one of Rock Band’s Dreamscapes.

A dreamscape image from Rock Band: Beatles
A dreamscape image from Rock Band: Beatles

Ok, no onto the game play. The usual applies here: Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals. The catch: you can play with up to SIX people now! With the new three part harmony feature, you can have up to three people on mics, one person on guitar, bass and drums. And like in recent incarnations of the game, you are able to choose different difficulty levels. And with easy mode it’s impossible to fail, so it good if grandma wants to try drums but she’s never played a video game in her life (and if your grandma is like that you have one of the coolest grandma’s ever!).

If you’re a Beatles fan, then you’ll enjoy playing along with the songs. While the Beatles aren’t known for their amazing riffs and quick fingers, the difficulty of the songs seem to be something that will satisfy even some of the more veteran players. So I would have no worries about being bored to death with too many slow, repetitious rhythms. Although I have a hard time seeing Yellow Submarine becoming a song to rival Guitar Hero’s impossible Dragonforce song. I’m sure though that just about any Beatles fan will thoroughly enjoy singing and playing all of the classic songs.

And of course for any hardcore fan, there are special guitars and drums that are coming out for the game. You’re welcome to use the older sets that you’ve got, but for those who are just starting to build up your own home band this could be a place to start. Each controller is designed to be in the likeness of each band member’s favorite instrument. For Sir Paul McCartney, there’s a controller in the likeness of a Hofner Violin Bass. There’s John Lennon’s Rickenbacker 325, George Harrison’s Gretsch Duo Jet guitar and a Ludwig Pearl Finish drum set for Ringo Starr. So the developers spared no detail in creating this game in the honor of the Beatles.

beatles_2

There many music games out there by now. But if you’re a Beatles fans this game is made for you! This game seems to be very true to the Beatles and their music, so it’s worth checking out once it comes out September 9th of this year!

Army of Two: 40th Day at E3!

The long awaited sequel to Army of Two has arrived and it’s all here at E3! EA was kind enough to give us a look at the new game and one thing is for sure: this game looks AMAZING!

Set in a crumbling Shanghai, the Rios and Salem are tossed into the chaos as they must fight through the falling city to find out the secret of the 40th day. The graphics look just as great as they did in the original, and with the newly improved AI it’s sure to drop some jaws. Now there are sections in the game where you are able to separate from your partner and cooperatively take down groups of enemies from multiple angles or your partner is able to mark the the targets that are on the other side of a fence, ensuring that you can take down the bad guys without killing the civilians.
Army of Two Gameplay
And no, you can’t just shoot the civilians for the heck of it. Well…ok so you can, but it will have small affects on the story. One big angle that EA seems to be playing in its big hitters this year is how a player’s choice affects the story and the game. In one scene, Salem and Rios find a storage locker of guns and are confronted by a security guard who asks them to put the guns back. The player is given a choice to either take the guns or not, but when you decide to take the guns, you end up killing the security guard. Apparently these moral decisions will affect how the story goes to some degree, so choose wisely.

Another interesting choice that a player can make is what to do in a hostage situation. Rios and Salem can now take hostages to use as a shield and make the enemy group surrender. You can have the choice of wasting the poor fellow as he’s on the ground or tie him up and chuck him to the side.

One of the big fun features that was in the first game was the customization of weapons (who wouldn’t want a pimped out gold and diamond encrusted machine gun?). In 40th day the feature is back, but even better! Now you’re able to mix and match the guns in any form you want, making it the Mr. Potato head of guns. You can once again customize your gun and your partners gun to create complements to help you get through a level. There are even accessories that you can create from things that you can find in the streets, like the classic coke can silencer.

40th day looks GREAT! I’m looking forward to this winter, and I will say that his is defiantly going on a christmas wish list!

Hell’s never looked better: E3 preview-Dante’s Inferno

As part of the press, we got to see a sneek peek at a number of games that were not open to everyone on the show floor. All I have to say is this: hell has never looked better! EA’s Dante’s Inferno is sure to turn some heads when it comes out.

Based on the first part of the poem Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri, it tells the story of Dante and his trip into the depths of hell to get his wife back after she was seduced by the Devil. So Dante must make it through Limbo, the Styx river and the Nine circles of hell!

Concept art from Dante's Inferno
Concept art from Dante's Inferno

The graphics looked stunning as Dante makes his way through hell in order to get his love back from the Devil. Each level looked great to me, with a variety of looks. From the greenish glow of the River Styx, the blue grays of Limbo and the traditional fire and brimstone of one of the levels of hell.

Attacking with the Death Scythe, which is a huge scythe that is attached to what looks like a huge spine, Dante is able to spin, slice and preform special kill moves on enemies. In addition to the scythe, Dante also has a Holy Cross which is able to be used a a long range weapon. The combos looked pretty darn good. At certain points in a fight, a player can activate a cinematic scene where button combos are used to trigger epic scenes of goryness if the combo is timed just right.

The enemies had some interesting designs. On the “what used to be human” enemies, the variety ranged from a huge slow tubby thing that put Left4Dead’s Boomer to shame, to what Senior Producer Justin Lambros called “Un-baptized Babies” which were small children like things that had what looked like scythes for hands. Apparently some of the enemies were those who represented the Seven Deadly Sins (so, Tubby would represent gluttony). In addition to these once human enemies, there are of course demons of hell that will come to kill you, including large demons such as a dog like creature that you can take control of and decimate the field. Literally. As the ground below you starts to fall apart you must climb your way up columns that are falling apart. So just because you have a big puppy that will do what you tell it to doesn’t make you invincible.

Dante's Inferno Screen Shot

The boss battles look to consist of timing your hits and creating great, fantastic scenes with button combos. The two bosses demoed for us were of Phlegyas, the ferry man of the River Styx and of King Minos the one who judges the dead in Limbo.

One big feature that most of EA’s games that were exclusive to the press had in common was the ability to choose how small details go in the story. The one demoed was the choice to execute an enemy of Dante’s, well at least he was an enemy while alive. Before boarding the boat on the river styx, the choice was given to either punish or to forgive the man who was on the river’s shore. The choice made was to punish the man and Dante quickly dispatched the man with little hesitation using his Scythe.

I will have to admit, for being the first day of E3, I was very happy that this was the first game that I got to see! I can certainly say that this game has caught my attention and will with 99% certainty end up in my game collection.

E3 shows Naruto Shippuden for Wii and DS!

There’s been big talk in the Anime world about Naruto Shippuden coming to the US. The show may not be dubbed in English yet, but Tomy is happy to be bringing it to the DS and the Wii! And thanks to E3 we have received a look at the all three games along with screen shots!

For the Wii, Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution is coming with the same flair of the past Clash of the Ninja fighting action, but with some new updates and tweaks.

A Screenshot from Naruto Shippuden: Clash of the Ninja
A Screenshot from Naruto Shippuden: Clash of the Ninja

For starters there are 30+ Characters to choose from in addition to at least 40 different 3D environments that rotate around as the characters fight. Along with the Naruto storyline, each of the characters have grown up, and with age comes wisdom and new jutsu right?

Now moves such as Naruto’s Rasengan, Sakura’s extra strong punches and more are available for use in the game. And best yet, if you choose to you can play as the characters as they were in the original Naruto series.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s Nintendo Wi-Fi compatible? You can now go online and battle people around the world and show off your skills! Plus also you can now “tinker” with the data on the characters to give handy caps to those who are just starting out. Now you can change how much chakra or hp the character has along with a multitude of other stats. Apparently people have been asking for it, and the developer’s have delivered!

Next up on Tommy’s line is Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Council 4 for the DS. This DS title covers the 1st half of the Shippuden story which of course lets you play as the older characters of the Shippuden series. You’re able to customize you three man cell to compliment each other’s techniques. The techniques themselves can even help you progress or access different areas in the level (such as Sakura’s punch: it can break through walls!). And using the DS’s wireless capabilities you are able to battle up to 4 people! And thanks to Tommy I was able to score a copy of the game (which is currently out as of yesterday) and pretty soon I hope to have a full in depth review on the game itself!

Lastly there is Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny 2 for the DS. Now this was an interesting game. the environments are 3D, which is unusual for a DS game, but it sure did look good! Despite the fact that it was high quality graphics on a DS, there was no lag during the game play! Plus this made for some good looking cinematics when the Jutsu’s where initiated.

Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Destiny

There are a handful of playable modes that you can go through in the game. One is quest mode which acts as almost a RPG like with stats, random battles and character levels. This lets you choose a character and explore a maze to gather items to help you through out the levels. Secondly there is a survival mode, where all you need to do is survive as many battles as you can. In this mode you can earn extra achivements and unlockables the further and further you get. The gameplay looked fun and definatly was something that is worth checking out when it comes out in September later this year!

Round 1: Fight! Street Fighter IV Launch

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The opening to the Street Fighter IV launch event!

Round 1…Fight!

After 20 years of Street Fighter, CAPCOM has delivered once again! With the newest installment of the Street Fighter series due out the 17th, CAPCOM decided to throw a little celebration. Continue reading “Round 1: Fight! Street Fighter IV Launch”