Archive for the ‘Arcade’ Category

Radiant Silvergun is generally considered to be one of the best 2D shooters ever made. Released in arcades and on the SEGA Saturn in 1998, it gave players control of seven weapons that are activated by different button combinations. Today during Microsoft’s press conference at the Tokyo Game Show it was announced that a high-definition remake of Radiant Silvergun will arrive on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) next year.

This will be an XBLA exclusive with support for two players over Xbox Live. The graphics are being improved and you’ll be able to download and share game replays. Both the original Arcade and Saturn modes will be available (Saturn mode adds a storyline to the action).

Look for more info on Radiant Silvergun HD from Tokyo over the next few days. (ign)

  • Published by: Treasure
  • Developed by: Treasure
  • Genre: Shooter
  • Release Date: US: TBA , Japan: TBA 2011
  • RP for Rating Pending
  • Also Available On: Saturn, Arcade

Dragon Age: Origins Witch Hunt (PC)

Posted: September 11, 2010 in Arcade, PC, Playstation 3
Tags: , , ,

Those hoping for some sort of satisfying closure on the Morrigan storyline in Dragon Age: Origins unfortunately won’t find it here. If you know what that sentence means and find it to be disappointing, then you’re the target audience for this downloadable content. If you have no idea who Morrigan is and why you should care about her exploits, then bail out now. This content is meant for those who have either finished Origins or were too lazy to get through the whole thing and are beyond the point of caring about spoilers.

Combat and conversation should be familiar to any Dragon Age player at this point, and through the various short dungeons visited you’ll find a few mechanics at work to keep the conflict from becoming stale. In the basement of the Circle Tower, for example, you fight guardians that won’t die permanently unless you disperse rips in the Veil that periodically appear on the battlefield. Later on you’ll use a magical light-tracking system to uncover hidden Elven relics, and at one point have to run around the Circle Tower’s library tracking down the appropriate books by using index cards. Ok so that last part really wasn’t very exciting, but in general the combat works well, mostly because it’s the same as you’re used to. A boss battle has been included in final part of Witch Hunt, this time against a creature that resembles a cross between a bat, a spider, and a tree branch. It’s called a Strider, it’s fearsome, and you’ll be seeing more of it in the sequel so it’s cool to get a bit of a preview here. There are also dragons, which is appropriate.

Throughout the characterization is quite strong, as Ariane and Finn wind up talking to each other and your dog quite a bit. It injects humor into the adventure as Ariane makes fun of Finn’s name, or when Finn comments on why the dog decided to relieve itself on an object of interest in the Circle Tower’s basement. Expect a number of interactive conversations where you can select things to say, which helps make the tale seem more significant. There’s enough to kill in here to level up at least once, and you can also buy, sell and enchant at a vendor, in this case Sandal, who fans may be more annoyed than glad to see return.

Considering Dragon Age 2 is following along with a different main character, it’s difficult to say what how what happens in Witch Hunt connects with anything else in the future. As you’ll see at the ending, there’s a choice that needs to be made that potentially has serious consequences, though something tells me it’ll all be smoothed over should you ever encounter Morrigan again. (ign)

  • Published by: Electronic Arts
  • Developed by: BioWare
  • Genre: RPG
  • Release Date:US: September 7, 2010
  • MSRP: $7.00
  • M for Mature: Blood, Intense Violence, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content
  • Also Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, Arcade
  • Also known as: Dragon Age: Witch Hunt

Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker (PC)

Posted: September 11, 2010 in Arcade, PC
Tags: , ,
As a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, I have been somewhat disappointed with all of the downloadable content offerings. While the characters have been interesting and the stories well-told, it felt like what happened didn’t matter once it was all over. BioWare has changed that with its latest downloadable content – The Lair of the Shadow Broker. The first “bridging” DLC available, your actions do matter and will play a role in Mass Effect 3.

Later, sucker.

The Lair of the Shadow Broker begins like any other mission in Mass Effect 2: an email in your inbox. Somehow the Illusive Man has tracked down intel on the location of the Shadow Broker, the galaxy’s most mysterious and powerful information dealer. Since your good friend and former squad mate (also possible former lover) Liara T’Soni has been tracking him down for two years, Shepard rendezvous with her on Illium, and they embark on an adventure that’s the best downloadable content for the game to date.

If you’ve read the comic series Mass Effect: Redemption, you’ll already know all of the details surrounding this ordeal. But if you didn’t, the game adequately sets up the situation for you. Liara’s beef with the Shadow Broker stems from an incident shortly after the Normandy’s destruction. Shepard’s body had been retrieved from the icy planet on which it fell and the Shadow Broker possessed it, looking to make a decent sum of cash. To make things worse, the Broker’s buyer just happened to be the Collectors. Not content with this outcome, Cerberus enlisted the help of Liara and a Drell named Feron, a double agent for the Shadow Broker, to recover Shepard’s body so they could attempt the impossible: resurrecting the dead. Clearly they succeeded, but Feron was captured in the process and Liara has been plotting revenge ever since. Fast-forward to present day and it’s up to you and Liara to track down the Shadow Broker and end him.

Clocking in around three hours, Lair of the Shadow Broker unravels the engaging tale at a great pace. Despite the dark themes of murder and betrayal, the conversation can be quite humorous. There are some really great moments between Shepard and Liara, and the storytelling effectively communicates the strong bond between the two, even if they weren’t romantically involved in your game. Over the course of the story, it’s clear that Liara has evolved from the shy girl Shepard met on Therum into a hardened woman struggling with her feelings of loss and guilt. To keep everything balanced, BioWare tossed in some self-deprecating material, including jabs about the Mako’s wonky controls and using Omni-gel to open any door. Visually, Lair of the Shadow Broker boasts some really breathtaking environments. The cut-scenes are beautifully rendered and approaching the Shadow Broker’s ship is simply stunning as lightning storms envelope the massive vessel.

The Asari of the hour.

Of course, Mass Effect isn’t all about the conversation and story — it’s about kicking ass, too. Since the whole idea behind Lair of the Shadow Broker is to showcase Liara and Shepard’s relationship (romantic or not) the Asari joins your squad. While there are typical run-and-gun areas, what makes the combat satisfying here is the boss battles. Both bosses have unique traits that make them a formidable opponent. For example, the first person you’ll encounter shoots around like a bullet out of a gun making he or she extremely hard to target. Though it’s technically not a battle, there’s also a debut action sequence — a high-speed car chase through the skies of Illium. As someone who hates controlling vehicles in videogames, I have to say that the chase is actually a fun time. It’s short enough to not overstay its welcome, the car controls decently, there’s awesome music in the background, and some great banter between Shepard and Liara.

I have only one complaint about Lair of the Shadow Broker: it feels like this shouldn’t be DLC, or at the very least should have been included as part of the Cerberus Network for those who purchased a new copy of Mass Effect 2. It’s such a great story and could have such an impact on Mass Effect 3 that it’s a pity a lot of people will miss out on it. As someone who also romanced Ashley and Kaidan, those romance stories do seem left out in the cold and reuniting with Liara made that even more obvious. However, the fact that this DLC exists makes me hopeful for more content focused on the other relationships. (ign)

  • Published by: Electronic Arts
  • Developed by: BioWare
  • Genre: RPG
  • Release Date: US: Q3 2010
  • M for Mature: Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Violence
  • Also Available On: PC, Arcade

Time Crisis: Razing Storm ScreenshotI completely missed the last Time Crisis game on the PlayStation 3, mostly due to my aversion for extra peripherals (I’m drowning in guitars, weight scales, guns, and microphones). But hey, I’m already onboard for this PlayStation Move thing, so let’s check out one of my favorite rail shooters of all time. Namco’s newest entry into the series, the not at all dumbly named Razing Storm, mixes classic Time Crisis gameplay with a first person shooter mode. I know, right? Sounds weird to me, too, but keep reading.

I had to jump into Arcade mode first because, let’s be honest, the arcade is where Time Crisis lives. It’s very much a Time Crisis game, which is enough description for anyone who has played the series. Instead of ducking behind cover this time, pressing the Move button brings up a riot shield. It works the same way, letting players reload and hide from gunfire. The T trigger fires weapons, and players simply aim their wand at the screen, using the reticule to target enemies.

Time Crisis: Razing Storm ScreenshotIt’s straight up fun arcadey Time Crisis. The enemies still stand there like douchebags while players mow them down. There are still insane bosses in giant machinery. And I still shoot civilians in the face and lose one of my lives every couple minutes. But it’s fun. People came by and wanted to do co-op with me while I was playing because Time Crisis is like an instant party. That doesn’t speak to its quality, per say, but it’s a fun series that has been consistently entertaining.

There’s also a story mode in Razing Storm which is interesting because it turns Time Crisis into a sort of FPS game. Now at first I was screaming angrily because I’m of the mindset that Time Crisis is just fine as an arcade rail shooter. But the game does do some cool stuff that keeps it feeling like Time Crisis. Players can run freely around the level, though it’s a very linear setup from what we’ve seen. Thoughout the level there are spots to take cover behind. When players get to cover spots they can hide behind them, and the game then operates exactly like Time Crisis. Players can lean out from behind the cover, shoot enemies, then retreat back to reload. What made it cool was that I could, at any time, just walk out from behind it to take out a hard to reach enemy, move to another cover spot, or grab a dropped weapon, so it adds a new dynamic to the Time Crisis formula.

It’s a cool concept, but I actually found myself having trouble snapping into the cover spots. It required tilting the Move wand up when the game prompted me, but half the time it didn’t work right away. Oh, and the game also requires that Sub Controller, or for players to hold onto their DualShock in their free hand, which isn’t an ideal set up.

Razing Storm comes with two additional games: Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates. Personally I’m pretty excited about the bonuses. Time Crisis 4 is the one I played more than any other (mostly because I worked in an arcade during its release).

Time Crisis: Razing Storm ScreenshotDeadstorm Pirates is particularly cool because it only came out in arcades this year. Most of you have probably never heard of it because finding new arcade games is like looking for Bigfoot. It’s an arcade shooter starring two pirates as they take down waves of zombie pirates, sea monsters, and other ships.

The arcade cabinet was cool because it had seats on hydraulics that moved and shook as the ship did. And it had a big ship wheel for the steering portions. The Move version will have players wave their wand in a circle to mimic those portions of the game.Three arcade shooters on one disc is reason enough for me to check out Razing Storm when it hits stores. And honestly I will be using Time Crisis to convince my friends to play Move more than I’ll use any of the family friendly party games. I’m not sure how fun this story mode will end up being, but I’ll keep you posted. (ign)

  • Published by: Namco Bandai
  • Genre: Shooter
  • Number of Players: 1-8
  • Release Date: US: September 2010 , Japan: September 2010
  • MSRP: $59.99
  • RP-T+ for Rating Pending
  • Also Available On: Arcade, PS 3

Capcom has a new batch of costumes on the way for Super Street Fighter IV players. Today, the game’s Japanese official blog was updated with a first look.Here’s a glimpse at Ryu, Chun-Li, Fei-Long, Juri and Cammy:

Hoping for in-game shots? You’re going to have to wait until next week. Capcom will be making some announcements regarding the console Super SFIV at the Tokyo Game Show. Included in the announcements will be details on the new costumes and a first in-game look. (ign)

  • Published by: Capcom
  • Developed by: Capcom
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Release Date: US: April 27, 2010 , Japan: Q1 2010
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • E10+ for Everyone 10+: Alcohol Reference, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
  • Also Available On: Arcade, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3

Samurai Shodown III

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Arcade
Tags: , , , ,

Go, fire claw!

Samurai Shodown III: Blades of Blood first appeared in American arcades back in 1995, when interest in the fighting craze most characterized by the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat franchises was beginning to wane. SNK’s Samurai Shodown series had found its own following in that era, though, thanks to its unique focus on weapons combat instead of bare-handed brawling – so there were certainly several Shodown devotees looking forward to this third installment.

They might have been a bit put off. Because Samurai Shodown III made several changes to the fighting formula from the first two games, and, now, 15 years later, the legacy of those changes hasn’t been too kind.

The first frustration is the shuffling character roster. Though some intriguing newcomers like the enormous Gaira arrived on the select screen for the first time here, they came at the expense of several old favorites. Charlotte, Jubei and the massive and iconic sickle-wielding Earthquake got the axe, along with most of Samurai Shodown II’s newcomers too. Fans expect to be able to keep playing their favorites throughout a series, for the most part. Some shuffling is to be expected, but this shake-up – which left III with fewer total playable characters than II, was hard to swallow.

The game is also not quite as crisp as before, feeling less fluid in the flow of its fighting (if that makes sense.) There was a certain degree of precision in Shodown I and II that this one lacks. Almost like it was meant to get one more pass of polish before being released, but it never did and went out anyway.

And then there’s the new dodge technique. As with any long-running fighting series, Samurai Shodown experimented with different mechanics and balance tweaks over its evolution – III’s side-stepping dodge was a bit controversial, especially in the frequency of its use. It still feels that way today, too – that the dodge maneuver, combined with the altered blocking and attack combinations, just makes things a bit too manic and inelegant compared to the earlier games.

But it’s not all bad. For any frustrations you’ll find here in Samurai Shodown III, there are some novel new additions that feel fresh and fun. I’m especially a fan of the game’s “alignment” system, which allows you to choose whether your character will be good or evil. Called Slash and Bust, picking either will alter your fighter’s moveset. It’s not extremely different. It’s not like you’re getting an entirely different character. But it is unique, and points to one of the greatest strengths I think the Shodown series has always had – incredible depth in its individual characters. The total roster might be fickle and the amenities around the core gameplay can shift from game to game, but exploring the depth and variety of skills in any given Shodown character is always satisfying to do. (ign)