Archive for March, 2008

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Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Review

March 30, 2008
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Banner

Here’s an excerpt from my review of Rainbow Six Vegas 2, the sequel to Rainbow Six Vegas, one of the best first person shooters to be released on the Xbox 360 in 2006.

“Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is the second title in the Rainbow Six Vegas franchise to be released in a little over a year. The 2006 original completely revamped the Rainbow Six franchise, earning favor from critics and many longtime fans. Now, as Sin City is once again being threatened by heartless terrorists, it’s up to the men and women of Rainbow Six to stop them. Expectations were high for this sequel but those making a return trip to Las Vegas may find things strangely familiar.”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review

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Everyone’s a Rat – Final GTA IV Trailer Before The Game Releases

March 28, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Here it is folks, the final GTA IV Trailer before the game releases on April 29, 2008 for the Xbox 360 and PS3. I’ll be posting my reactions to the trailer in a separate post some time in the very near future so stay tuned.

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Dead Fantasy II

March 26, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Dead Fantasy II, published by Monty Oum is the second in the Dead Fantasy series (and judging from the video, not the last) which began last October with Dead Fantasy I. For those of you who haven’t yet seen this amazingly well choreographed and animated short film, check it out here. I’m astounded at how well done it was, easily surpassing many of the over the top and stylish fight scenes in games and movies I’ve seen. As can be easily ascertained I’m thoroughly impressed with this video and highly anticipating his next work which, if the trend continues, will be even better than this.

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Rumored First Video and Screenshots of Sonic Unleashed

March 24, 2008
Sonic Unleashed Banner

 A short while ago, news broke across the internet that Sega had just trademarked the name Sonic Unleashed, thus setting off a firestorm of rumors as to a “revival” of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, one that has fallen on hard times as of recent years. Fairly recently, a few screenshots, rumored to be from the upcoming Sonic Unleashed were leaked on the internet through various internet blogs. Now, a new video has surfaced (yes, still rumored) showcasing Sonic Unleashed gameplay. 

I must say, I’m impressed. It looks like Sega has actually learned from their previous mistakes with recent Sonic games and gone back to Sonic’s roots with some very exciting looking 2D gameplay with a few interspersed bits of 3D as well. In the end, it looks a bit like the Nintendo DS Sonic game, Sonic Rush, which was praised because it stuck primarily to what Sonic is known for, 2D platforming and ludicrous speedI’m excited to see where things go from here. Hopefully, Sega has thrown Sonic’s dopey friends to the wind and continues to focus on the Blue Streak himself doing what he does best, running as fast as he possibly can.  

UPDATE: Video Removed due to it no longer being up on YouTube

Screenshots to follow below (click to enlarge).

Sonic Unleashed Screen 1 Sonic Unleashed Screen 2 Sonic Unleashed 3

Sonic Unleashed 4 Sonic Unleashed 5 Sonic Unleashed 6

Sonic Unleashed 7 Sonic Unleashed 8 Sonic Unleashed 9

Sonic Unleashed 10 Sonic Unleashed 11 Sonic Unleashed 12

Sonic Unleashed 13 Sonic Unleashed 14 Sonic Unleashed 15

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Super Smash Brothers Brawl First Impressions

March 18, 2008

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Super Smash Brothers Brawl is the third in the long running Super Smash Brothers series which began on the Nintendo 64 and saw a second installment on the GameCube in the form of Super Smash Brothers Melee. When the announcement trailer for Super Smash Brothers Brawl debuted at E3 2006, Nintendo fans everywhere rejoiced, gazing at what would surely be one of the Wii’s best titles. Unfortunately, those same fans had to wait a bit longer than originally thought, as Brawl has certainly seen its share of delays, delays which finally ended upon the game’s release Sunday, March 9th.

After a long day of work on that very Sunday, I was finally able to sit down, Wavebird controller in hand and take the game through its paces. I started, as many likely have, by hopping into the Classic mode to unlock a few characters (including my Melee favorite, Captain Falcon) before venturing into the online arena. Alas, as soon as I started my first match (with Samus), something felt…off. The controls for some reason felt strange, almost slippery, in comparison to Melee. The control scheme, while identical to Melee, took some time to acclimate to but before I knew it, I was up and brawling with the best of them.

As I played through the Classic mode for the first time, there was something I was just itching to try out, something that piqued my curiosity from the very sight of it in the announcement trailer. I’m talking about the Final Smash, each character’s coup de grâce finishing move, which almost always results in a KO, should it hit home. As soon as a Smash Ball floated into the arena (alongside an accompanying gasp from the “crowd”) I rushed to break it open and, upon doing so, unleashed Samus’s Hyper Beam upon my hapless opponent, who was sent flying off the stage in an electric blue blaze of glory. Using each character’s Final Smash is an immensely satisfying and effective feat and one which was implemented incredibly well.

One of the faults that has plagued the Super Smash Bros series since the beginning is the lack of a worthwhile single player mode. In Super Smash Bros, the classic mode is fun but it’s essentially the same thing over and over again with different characters, which can grow tiring. Melee’s Adventure mode was a step in the right direction, but ultimately suffered from the same problem, it was hardly any different (if there was a difference at all) when using different characters. Thankfully many of these problems are addressed in Super Smash Bros Brawl in the form of the Subspace Emissary mode.

Subspace Emissary is an attempt to take the classic Smash Brothers formula, turn it into a side scrolling action/platforming title for up to two players co-operatively and wrap a story around it. This attempt works out remarkably well, creating an addictive and entertaining experience with no shortage of stylish and attractive cutscenes, interesting level design, and, most importantly, fast-paced action. Along the way, you’ll run into just about every character in the game, unlocking several of the secret characters as you go.

As with every Super Smash Brothers game, the emphasis is on the multiplayer action and Brawl once again delivers in spades. There is a great deal of four player fun awaiting you in this title, even more so now than ever before. Super Smash Bros Brawl does something never before seen in the series, and takes the multiplayer experience online. That’s right, in addition to the classic four player action centered around the same console; you can now join three of your friends take on random opponents from around the world. While the online experience isn’t quite as smooth as I’d hoped due to connection problems when trying to play with random opponents and scattered latency issues, I can’t say I’m not enjoying it, and the many online matches I’ve played with my friends have been some of the most fun I’ve had with the franchise in general.

Another thing that impressed me about the game was the sheer amount of content on the disc. Throughout the game’s development, Smash Bros Dojo kept us current on new content with a slew of updates on a consistent basis. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Halo 3, another title which was practically bursting at the seams with content. From secret characters to new music and extra arenas to a custom stage builder, there’s no shortage of things to see, do, and play around with in this title and the unlockable trophies and stickers (the latter of which can be applied to characters in the Subspace Emissary mode for enhanced abilities) will keep you busy for quite some time.

Super Smash Bros Brawl has certainly impressed in my short time with it and I don’t see things slowing up any time soon. I can see this is one Wii title that I’ll be playing for quite some time. I can’t get enough of the online throwdowns and there’s even more content just waiting to be unlocked. To put it simply, if you own a Wii, this game should be in your collection. While this is far from an official review, my opinion of the game thus far is very favorable.

Super Smash Bros Brawl has been a long time coming, but I highly doubt the vast majority of Wii owners and Smash Bros fans alike will be disappointed with the results.

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Resistance: Fall of Man Impressions

March 9, 2008
Fall of Man Banner

Over one year later, Resistance: Fall of Man, the most highly acclaimed game of the Playstation 3’s launch, is still regarded as one of the best games available on the system and still one of its best sellers. Resistance: Fall of Man was developed by Insomniac, a developer known best for their work on the popular Ratchet and Clank series. Resistance strikes a sharp contrast to that series, creating a dark and gritty atmosphere, as opposed to the more light-hearted, humorous and colorful universe in which Ratchet and Clank takes place. 

Resistance casts you as Sergeant Nathan Hale, a soldier in the American Army Rangers, sent to aid Britain in the fight against the Chimera, an alien race of unknown origin. The year is 1951 in an alternate reality in which the Nazi’s never rose to power in Germany and World War II never happened. The Chimera have spread across the isolationist Russia, destroying everything in their path and have moved in on England, wiping out much of its population. Of course, in the face of this terrible plight, it’s up to you to stop them.

The single player campaign begins here, thrusting you right into the conflict against the Chimera with nothing but an M5A2 Carbine and your wits. Resistance’s dark and gritty atmosphere is well established through narrated scenes and cutscenes scattered liberally between firefights. Resistance gains points for choosing something other than World War II to focus on, having chosen a historical setting. It’s also impressive that Resistance seemingly blends two separate time periods by thrusting futuristic weaponry and alien technology into your hands throughout the game. I’m not too far into the game yet, but things have been good so far and hopefully things will continue in a similar fashion.

Of course, the aforementioned firefights are most important in establishing the setting as well as keeping the player engaged and this is done quite admirably. Most importantly, these battles are also fun. Despite my personal qualms over the analog stick layout and convex triggers of the Sixaxis controller, I don’t feel hampered by them to any reasonable degree. The controller sensitivity feels right, the numerous weapons are fun to wield and the general mechanics work well. I am disappointed by the tacked on motion controls, which are used to shake off enemies that grab on to you and a couple other functions in multiplayer. 

I’m less enthused about the multiplayer component, which allows you to wage war with up to 39 fellow gamers across a dozen or so maps, not counting the few released as downloadable content. The pace feels a great deal faster than what you experience in the campaign, which can be quite jarring to players heading online for the first time and will have many wishing they could use an input device more precise than a controller. Nevertheless, despite these niggling issues, it isn’t bad at all. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of things, it’s quite fun. Latency issues are slim to nil due to the dedicated servers the game utilizes for its multiplayer frag-fests. The most players I’ve seen in any one match were 24 out of a maximum of 32, which was one heck of a match. I would like to play more matches of this size, but it seems players have moved on to other games such as Call of Duty 4 and as a result, there don’t seem to be many people playing the game.

Overall, I am impressed by Resistance, which holds up remarkably well for a launch title (certainly better than Perfect Dark Zero). The single player campaign is interesting, full of exciting shootouts and an interesting storyline and setting. While I had a few more complaints about the multiplayer component, they aren’t enough to put a significant damper on my enjoyment. The game is certainly not perfect but it’s something I can easily recommend to PS3 owners who are fans of the genre or those who just have a passing interest.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the human race isn’t going to save itself…

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My Interview With Craig Sullivan Is Up

March 4, 2008

,Burnout Paradise Banner

After a little while of waiting, the interview I had with Craig Sullivan has finally been posted on Talk Xbox. Of course, this comes in addition to the Army of Two preview that was posted a little while ago. This was a big one for me and I can’t thank the guys at EA and Mr. Sullivan himself enough for the opportunity. The link has been posted below, so check it out.

Craig Sullivan Interview