Posts Tagged ‘fighting’

UFC Undisputed 2010 (PSP)

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Playstation 3, PSP, XBOX 360
Tags: , , ,

UFC Undisputed 2010 on PSP is going to be an interesting case study. Here, you have a portable port of a big budget PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 game. The fighters, modes, and options you’d expect from those versions have been carried over to the PSP, and from a broad perspective the transition went smoothly. Still, this version is four months old and missing the polish that made the console games shine. Plus, in reality, if you were the world’s biggest UFC fan, chances are that you’ve already played this game in one of its other incarnations.

However, I can tell you that this game is good.

Sweep the leg!

If you’re just joining us, UFC Undisputed 2010 is THQ’s latest take on the sport that Dana White built. Pick up this UMD (there’s not a downloadable version at the moment) and you’re getting more than 100 fighters, a slew of stadiums, and a bunch of modes. You can square off in exhibition matches and even take on your friends via ad-hoc mode, guide a created fighter through a career, or relive/rewrite a classic UFC bout.

All of that’s great, but how does it play? You figure mixed martial arts is a complicated sport and UFC games have always packed a complicated control scheme to mimic that. The PSP version, of course, has to drop an analog stick and two shoulder buttons out of the console control scheme, and that could easily turn into a disaster. Luckily, it works. You strike and kick with the face buttons and modify those moves with the shoulder buttons while the analog nub clinches, grapples, and transitions you from one mount to another.

Of course, moving with the D-Pad and then having to drop your thumb to the analog nub for moves is a bit of a pain, but it doesn’t throw off the pacing of fights. The bouts seem balanced and I’ve actually been using the ground game and takedown system a lot more than I did in the console versions. This boiled down control scheme actually makes it easier to do more in the Octagon. I feel like I have a handle on the action — for the most part. I still find myself flicking the stick like a madman to try and get out of holds or regain control of the situation, but the game seems like it gives me a chance to figure everything out. It feels good.

Put in the work here so you don't get KO'd.

Once I got the hang of the controls, I started taking in the visuals of UFC Undisputed 2010 on the PSP. I was pleasantly surprised by the how good the game looks. UFC Undisputed 2010’s defining characteristic on the other platforms is how realistic it looks, and that visual love is carried over here as best it can be. Obviously, the PSP game isn’t as slick or detailed as the console counterparts, but the fighters do look good. They move realistically, bloody wounds will pop up, and you’ll have no trouble identifying your favorite fighter from a glance at the screen.

In motion, things can be a bit less impressive. Punches and grapples will occasionally clip through the opponent, and the presentation isn’t really up to snuff. The screen goes black and white when you’ve dazed a fighter, but the sound drops out and it becomes too quiet. The knockout post-round and post-match replays are super-quick flashes of ho-hum moments, and I’ve had matches end in flash KOs where the opponent didn’t fall down — I just hit him in the jaw and the bell rang.

What made the other versions of UFC rock was the TV-style presentation. Name bars and stats pop up on the PSP sporting the colors and fonts you know from the real show, but there’s no announcing and the fights feel a bit flat without Joe Rogan screaming in your ear. The crowd noise isn’t very reactive and it doesn’t sell the feel of the main event. On top of that, the loads are a bit long here. They’re not terrible, but hopping between matches and options screens will take some time — even with the optional install.

They look pretty good, right?

If you’re looking for features, you’re getting your fair share here inUFC Undisputed 2010 (they are all exactly the same as the stuff we saw in the other versions), but I find most of them too similar. Exhibition lets you pick a fighter and fight someone, ad-hoc lets you square off against a local friend, Title mode lets you chase a championship in a series of fights, and then Title Defense mode lets you defend the belt you just won. That’s all kind of the same, you know?

Shaking things up are Ultimate Fights Mode and Career Mode. Ultimate Fights gives you 15 classic bouts and asks you to relive them or rewrite them. You pick a competitor and get a series of objectives (recover from a knockdown, win by decision, etc.) that you need to complete in the upcoming fight. Pull them off and you get rewarded (there is plenty to unlock in this game in the way of clothes, trading cards, and so on); fail, and you get chastised by the sexy UFC Octagon girls. If you’re a fan, there’s some appeal to this mode, but if you don’t remember the matches it doesn’t bring much to the table.

Career on the other hand brings a lot no matter your level of UFC knowledge. You’ll create a character (it’s basic but functional) and start off as an amateur fighter. Hone your skills, go pro, and soon you’ll accept an offer from Dana White and become part of the UFC. You’ll work your way up the ladder of success, but the real work is done in between bouts as you train (improving your strength, speed, and cardio), spar (improving your attributes), and accept camp invites (allowing you to learn new moves).

Stop! Stop! He's already dead.

The system’s complicated and deep — if you want a full breakdown, check out this 360 preview and imagine it’s on the PSP because it basically is — and it is cool to build a fighter from nothing to something that fits your specific play style. The trouble is, the mode is pretty repetitive. You’re going to get used to seeing those menu screens over and over again, and there isn’t much variation throughout the years of your career. You never look any older, you’re occasionally interrupted by new sponsors, and so on. (ign)

Published by: THQ
Developed by: Yuke’s Media Creations
Genre: Fighting
Number of Players: 1-2
Release Date: US: September 7, 2010
MSRP: $39.99
T for Teen: Blood, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
Also Available On: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Also known as: UFC 2010

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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)

Meow Meow Happy Fight PictureTwin-stick shooters are plentiful in the App Store, but few have the charm of Meow Meow Happy Fight, a ridiculous romp through the city streets of Japan. You pick a silly hero from a roster of goofs like a bowl of ramen or a six-legged cat ball, and then roll around arenas, blasting enemies for points and power-ups. It’s really not all that different from other twin stick shooters, such as the popular Minigore, but instead of throwing waves of monsters at you, you are mainly engaging in showdowns against just a handful at a time.

The twin sticks are well crafted and responsive. But what undermines Meow Meow’s otherwise inspiring theme and visuals, though, is its slow pace. At no point does Meow Meow raise the pulse. The shooting often comes down to basic duels where you just roll away from an enemy while lining up your own shot. And it takes far too many shots to eliminate an enemy. I’d happily trade in power-ups like invisibility and quad damage to have the screen exploding with flying bullets and fast-paced movement. Juice this thing up so normal speed is the same as the Super Speed power-up.

I have no complaints, though, about Meow Meow’s excellent art direction and personality. Really, how can any gamer not smile when a kitten explodes in sushi and capsule toys that replenish your health? The artwork is stylish and colorful, but I’m not exactly surprised because Meow Meow comes from the same folks that made the attractive Piyo Blocks.

Meow Meow lacks online multiplayer, which is too bad but by no means a disaster. It’s just one of those features that would be nice to have. Open Feint achievements and leaderboards are cool, though.

Release Date: US: August 5, 2010
MSRP: $0.99

Kung-Fu Live Preview

Posted: August 18, 2010 in Playstation 3, XBOX 360
Tags: , , ,

Earlier this year, Nintendo released Photo Dojo on DSi. The $2 game lets you take a few photos of yourself, record a couple sound effects, and insert your body and voice into a rudimentary little side-scrolling brawler. It was a great laugh, but pretty limited. This fall, Kung-Fu Live will take this idea to the next level on PlayStation Network. Using the PlayStation Eye you can drop yourself into the fighting game and have full control of your badass self. You appear onscreen and can punch, kick, and karate chop your way through waves of enemies and giant bosses. We played it on the show floor here at Gamescom today, broke a sweat, and came away impressed. This is a hands-free Kinect-style game for the PS3.

The PlayStation Eye scans your body and creates “hit boxes” for each limb. That means any part of your body that comes into contact with an enemy will do damage. The bad guys fight back, of course, so you’ll need to be quick on your feet and avoid being hit. Stay in front of your screen, though, so the camera can get a good look at you. All of your moves are exaggerated, so when you punch you’ll surge towards the enemy. By nudging your elbows to either side you can shuffle back and forth. It takes a little getting used to, but when you’re right up close to an enemy it’s great fun seeing how many different ways you can deal damage. Head butts, butt slams, and knees to the groin are all fair game.

As you progress through the game you’ll encounter more and more enemies at once, the AI will start to learn your techniques and exploit your weaknesses, and there is a loose comic book-style story to experience. Nothing too serious, as this is meant to be a very lighthearted party game. We got to see a pretty cool boss fight against a giant that occurs about halfway through the game. Your avatar is maybe a quarter of the screen tall, but the gigantic boss towers over you taking up most of the screen’s height. There are rock columns you can hop up to give the giant a kick in the face, which will bring him to his knees. Then you can stand under his face and hop up a few times to punch him in the nose. Is Kung-Fu Live silly? Very. But it’s also quite amusing.

By landing punches and kicks you fill up your Chi meter which allows you to pull off special attacks. If you thrust both arms toward your enemy you will rush to them for a super punch. Leap into the air and thrust your fist downwards for a ground pound. Spread your arms in the air and you can back flip away from an enemy. Then there is a yoga-like pose you can strike to fire a burst of lightning at the enemy.

Impressively, Kung-Fu Live also lets you bring weapons into the game. Have a baseball bat, wrench, or tire iron lying around? If you hold it in your hand the camera will simply extend the hit box of your arm so you can use it to bash the bad guys.

Only one player can insert themselves into the game at a time, but friends can pick up a controller and control…the bad guys! Up to four can join the dark side and take on player one, making Kung-Fu Live a four-on-one fighting game.

Playing Kung-Fu Live is definitely a good workout. I was pretty wet after beating the crap out of a few fools. Expect it out around Halloween for no more than $15.

(ign)

What do you do when you are a major Japanese video game maker who faces a shrinking home market and sees the social games sector virtually explode at the same time? You make the jump, just like Capcom, the brand behind such hit games like Street Fighter, Resident Evil, or Mega Man. According to Japanese business daily The Nikkei, the Osaka-based company will start offering games for Facebook as early as next month.

Capcom’s US subsidiary (LA-based Capcom Interactive, Inc.) will bring yet to be named titles currently available for the iPhone to Facebook, with The Nikkei hinting that more games are to follow thereafter. At the moment, Capcom is offering just a handful of iPhone apps, for example Street Fighter IV or Resident Evil IV.

The Nikkei says Capcom plans to offer the Facebook games for free but will earn money by selling virtual items, as a lot of other game providers on social networks do. As a start, the Japanese company aims at attracting one million Facebook users from the US and Europe. In Japan, Capcom saw the domestic market for video games shrink for the second straight year in 2009 (minus 6.9% to $6.3 billion).

Capcom president Haruhiro Tsujimoto first announced his company’s move into the social gaming business back in May this year. Expect more Japanese video game companies to follow Capcom soon.

(crunchgear)

We’ve been covering EA Sports MMA for some time now. Well, it seems that this long, hard road is about to come to an end when the game finally ships later this year. I’m excited to see what the finished product will hold for fight fans, but before the game hits stores, EA Sports has seen fit to hand us some new details on what its online multiplayer feature set will bring.

If you followed IGN’s E3 coverage and you’re a fan of MMA, chances are you’ve already read about the exciting Live Broadcast feature that allows you to create a custom-made hype video for your fighter that the world can see and then hop into the ring in a Pay-Per-View style event. I think the coolest aspect of the Live Broadcast is the ability to send out a link that your friends can click to watch your fight as it happens. EA Sports also told me that a professional commentary team will provide live dialogue to go along with the action. There’s no question that EA Sports is pushing the multiplayer envelope with Live Broadcast, but fight fans will be happy to know that they aren’t stopping there.

Belt Race is a mode that is essentially EA Sports MMA’s answer to the typical Ranked Match options that other sports games present. Rather than just watching your name climb and fall on a simple leaderboard, Belt Race puts you in contention for a belt as soon as you hop onto Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. There are 45 levels when you first start the game, each of which has a belt that must be earned to ascend to the next level. It’s designed to give you a quick sense of accomplishment as well as letting you find your sweet spot in terms of level of difficulty online. If, by chance, you’re some incredibly gifted EA Sports MMA player and you sail through the first 45 levels, there are another 45 “Master” levels that will pit you against the best of the best.

Fight Card is another feature that I’m excited to see release into the wild come this fall. Basically it lets you craft your own batch of up to four fights per card, each of which will be populated by your friends. It works similarly to Live Broadcast in that users can show each other their hype videos pre-fight, but Fight Card lets anyone get in on the action so you’re not waiting around for EA Sports to notice your considerable (or not-so-considerable) talents. What’s even cooler is that up to 10 people can be connected to your Fight Card, and if you’re watching a fight as it’s happening you can provide your commentary for the two combatants to enjoy. The idea sounds very similar to Create-a-Pay-Per-View in that you can name your night of fights, set different rules for the bouts and share the results with your pals.

EA Sports MMA Picture

Last but not least are Fight Replays, which are being designed to allow players to scout the talents of their upcoming opposition. See, players can designate certain pieces of video to be displayed as highlights for their fighter. These highlights can be accessed via the EA Sports website as well as in-game leaderboards. The only disappointing element to remember is that not all of your fights are saved to be viewed later. Instead, only those fights that you play in the Live Broadcast mode are saved. It’s a strange decision when you consider that a very small percentage of players are going to be selected for a live broadcast. Maybe the bandwidth requirements to save every fight were too heavy? Your guess is as good as mine.

With Photo GameFace and Live Broadcast already on board, these latest additions to the stable of online features only help to bolster the impressive multiplayer package. I think Belt Race is the most exciting on paper, but the ability to make your own fight card could be great if the community latches on. We’ll have more on EA Sports MMA as its fall release date on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 draws closer.

  • Published by: Electronic Arts
  • Developed by: Tiburon
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Release Date: US: October 19, 2010
  • MSRP: $59.95
  • RP-T+ for Rating Pending
  • Also Available On: iPhone, PS 3, Xbox 360
  • Also known as: MMA

(ign)

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game ScreenshotScott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Screenshot

Scott Pilgrim has given his 8-bit heart to Ramona Flowers. Only problem is that in order to be with Ramona, Scott must defeat her seven evil exes. Guess he didn’t read eHarmony’s fine print. No problem for Scott though, as he and a group of friends are all set to kick, punch, throw, pummel, and explode anyone who stands in their way.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World harkens back to old-school side-scrolling beat-em-ups such as River City Ransom and Streets of Rage, but with a few fun twists that make for one of the coolest downloadable games around.

Note that I said one of the coolest, not one of the best. For all the fun you’ll have with Scott Pilgrim, it has two unforgivable omissions: No online gameplay and no instant drop-in/drop-out co-op play. That means you and three friends must sit on a couch together, share the same air (yech), and start from the main menu together. Come on, even Streets of Rage had drop-in co-op.

Outside of this, Scott Pilgrim is a real pleasure to play. It has the look and the humor of the comics, but with a ton of 8- and 16-bit flair that adds this killer mix of new game smell with old-school nostalgia.

There are seven levels to plunge through, each accessible from a cool 8-bit-styled hub world. And each has its own distinct look. Often times, when you think it just couldn’t get wackier — it does! Giant flying piggy banks, brain-nomming zombies, paparazzi, and much more wait for Scott and friends.

All of this goes down while listening to a brand-spanking new soundtrack from chiptune band Anamanaguchi. The music alone is worth the price — seriously, this has got to be one of the best game soundtracks I’ve ever heard. It fits so perfectly, but stands strong on its own. You’ll love it. And if you don’t, frankly, you don’t deserve this game.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Screenshot
Some new twists to the old-school style include RPG elements like unlocking new moves as you level up your character and spending sweet coin on upgrades to turn you from unassuming layabout to defender of all humanity — or something along those lines. And you will most definitely need to collect coin for upgrades, because Scotty P. Vs. The World can be incredibly challenging at times. If you don’t up your strength and defense, then you will be snuffed out quickly (turning into a ghost to haunt the screen as you drain life from your friends to resurrect yourself).

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is clearly meant to be played with other people, because it sometimes feels impossible when going it alone. I had to grind — replaying levels multiple times to power up — in order to beat the game solo. And there’s really very little difference in the difficulty settings once you’ve powered up, so “easy” is almost as tough as hard. Sometimes, I just felt overwhelmed and other times I cursed cheap shots that felt impossible to avoid. Yet, I couldn’t stop playing. That’s a testament to Scott Pilgrim’s charm and its genius soundtrack.

  • Published by: Ubisoft
  • Developed by: Ubisoft MontrealUbisoft Chengdu
  • Genre: Fighting Action
  • Number of Players: 1-4
  • Release Date: US: August 10, 2010
  • MSRP: $10.00
  • T for Teen: Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
  • Also Available On: Xbox 360, PS 3
  • Also known as: Scott Pilgrim

(via ign)