Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

batman arkham asylum reviewWhy are super-hero games so hard to get right? You’ve got tailor made settings, abilities and bad guys that you can just lift straight off the funny pages. Seems like an easy sell, right? Well, if you’ve been paying attention to the number of below-average super-hero games this generation, this task seems like a trickier prospect to pull off than at first glance.

The problem with most super-heroes is that they’re just that: super. When you think about it, every comic book character is practically invincible. Superman only has kryptonite to fear, and Spider-Man has his astonishing reflexes to fall back on. Only one comic book crusader has the right amount of limitations to make a challenging video game: Batman.

He’s almost perfect for a developer to take a hold of. No super-strength, no bullet-proof skin. He’s only got his wits, his body, and a handy assortment of gadgets. Many studios have tried to make the lightning strike with Batman, and now it’s Rocksteady’s turn to put the Dark Knight through his paces.
Continue reading Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Final Fantasy XIII Combat Walkthrough

Are you eagerly awaiting Final Fantasy XIII but still aren’t too clear on its new combat system? Here’s a nice little video out of Gamescom that gives a short and sweet overview of the fighting mechanics of the next Final Fantasy. The English localization is still being worked on, but I’d imagine that this game is (finally) close to being done.

I’ve never actually played a Final Fantasy game, so I’m excited to give this a whirl. Who else is going to sink their time into some J-RPG goodness?

GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

batman-lolIt’s time for our monthly “what are you playing” quiz, so you all know what that means.

Right now, I’ve been working my way through a couple of games: Batman: Arkham Asylum and Shadow Complex. The interesting thing about those is not only are they two of the better games I’ve played all year, they are actually very similar in style. I know there was a big discussion about the cliche term “Metroid-vania” (or Castleroid if you’re feeling saucy), and these two titles definitely fit the bill.

They both function in the same way, letting you explore a large complex, gaining access to it more over time as you learn new abilities or find new weaponry. It’s actually very interesting to see the juxtaposition between them, as one is 3D and one 2D, and both equally as enjoyable.

So, have either of you guys gotten try these out yet? And what are you playing as of this weekend?

Sneak Peak: Modern Warfare 2 Gameplay

Christmas has come early for you Modern Warfare fans, as some considerate soul has put up a minute and a half of juicy single-player footage. It’s off-screen, unfortunately, and the music is placeholder, (it’s actually the track Scorponok from the Transformers film), but it’s a good indication of the changes from Call of Duty 4. Take a look:

The New PS3 Slim Does Everything

Is this “Sony does everything right month” or something? After a few years of bumps and bruises, the company that built the Playstation and Playstation 2, two of the greatest consoles of all time, finally seem to have gotten their act together. Not only have they dropped the PS3 to a nice and enticing $299 and have tons of awesome games on the horizon, but they’ve also released these terribly self-aware and hilarious ads about it. Nice to see that they can poke fun at themselves.


Gears of War 2: Game of the Year Edition Curbstomps Retailers September 1st

Bundled releases seem to be a growing trend this fall with Gears of War 2 joining the Metroid Prime Trilogy and Fallout 3 as an all-in-one package that includes the downloadable content (DLC) released for the “stop-and-pop” shooter since it first went on sale last year. This includes all the map packs as well as the cut level for the single-player game.

While I’ve heard mixed reviews about the cut level and the multiplayer continues to be spotty, I really can’t complain about the price tag, which is a nice reasonable $39.99. Considering that the game originally launched as a full priced title, and you’re getting all the DLC included (which ran at about ten bucks a piece), this is quite the sweet deal. If you’ve been on the fence about Gears 2, or you just haven’t gotten around to picking it up, September first is when this bad boy drops into stores.

I can’t quite seem to recall Gears 2 actually winning any Game of the Year awards, but I’m certain that it’s sold enough copies to warrant a bundled version. Who’s going to treat themselves to some Gears of War, and what do you guys think of re-releases that package DLC?

Source: Destructoid

Review: Shadow Complex

0890bb2779david.jpgAlright, first things first: this is a review of the game itself. If you have anything political to say, please reserve those comments for Eddy’s thread from earlier this week.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to the details, shall we? Shadow Complex is an Xbox Live Arcade game created by Chair Entertainment and released August 19th, 2009. It retails for for $15, whatever that translates to in Microsoft magic money. I’m sure most folks have at least heard of it by now. Per Major Nelson’s site, it was the top selling game on XBLA this past week as well as the #8 most played game on Live. That’s pretty impressive. I suppose this review is for those of you still on the fence about buying it.

Continue reading Review: Shadow Complex

Halo 3: ODST Welcomes You to the Front

Still sceptical about Halo 3: ODST? Well, let all-around bad-ass and ten time consecutive winner of the Aliens Character Look-Alike contest Sergeant Major A.J. Johnson walk you through FireFight, ODST’s new co-operative mode. The thought of Halo having a Horde-like mode appeals to me greatly, as I’ve always found the enemy designs in Halo to be fantastic; just one look into the crowd of enemies lets you know your chances of survival. Seeing the hulking silhouettes of two Hunters ambling through the bushels of Grunts is clear indication that now would be a good time to panic.

I’ve been sold on the ODST expansion since it was announced at the Tokyo Game Show last year, but I know that some people aren’t as stoked about this as I am. After seeing the dearth of information about this game, who’s had their mind changed, and who’s sticking to their guns?

StarCraft 2 Map Editor Can Raise the Dead

Well, this is a fine how-do-you-do. Looks like Blizzard’s plan to charge for custom maps is starting to make a bit more sense. This beast of a map editor was unveiled at BlizzCon, and is probably the most powerful editing tool ever released alongside a game.

Besides being able to make your vanilla strategy maps, the map editor demo given at the Starcraft 2 panel displayed its robust abilities by showing off an Action-RPG and a Galaga-type shooter. StarCraft: Ghost was even brought back to haunt the audience thanks to the fact that the main character’s model is included in the editor.

This is really exciting news in my opinion, but what do you guys think? Are you willing to pay money for some LittleBig StarCraft action, or do you think that maps made by the community should be doled out for free?

Source: Destructoid

GamerSushi Asks: Shadow Complex Boycott?

shadow-complexShadow Complex is a fun game. It is probably one of the best games I’ve played this year so far. Considering that it’s an Xbox Live Arcade game that only cost $15, that’s quite impressive. It plays in the sidescrolling style of Metroid or Castlevania, but sports some incredible graphics a la the Unreal Engine. It’s open, fun and full of secrets. They simply don’t make games like this anymore, and I’m loving it.

However, not all gamers feel the same way. You see, there’s actually a discussion going on in some circles about whether or not gamers should boycott the game, due to Orson Scott Card, the author whose world the game takes place in (note: he actually had little to do with the creation of the game) being a perceived homophobe and a political campaigner against gay rights such as marriage. This is actually a pretty complicated issue, and one that I’m simply not understanding in its entirety.
Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Shadow Complex Boycott?

Borderlands Gameplay Montage

One game that’s really slipped under my radar until the past few weeks is Borderlands. A post-apocalyptic title from Gearbox, Borderlands is a 4 player “role-playing shooter” that allows you and 3 other friends to explore dungeons and collect loot together. One of the sweet things about the game is that all of the loots are randomized, making for literally millions upon millions of possible gun combinations in the game. I must say that some of this footage and the prospect of 4 player dungeoneering is really calling to me. What about you guys?

Champions Online Beta Impressions

I’m a big fan of MMOs. I played Star Wars Galaxies almost every day until Revenge of the Sith came out, and brought with it the Trials of Obi-Wan Expansion, which totally ruined the game with dumbed down controls and even more powerful bugs than before. After that, I started playing World of Warcraft, making first a Mage, then a Paladin, and finally a Death Knight. With Star Wars: The Old Republic and the newly announced World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, looming in the distance, I took it upon myself to try out one of the smaller MMOs on the market.

Cryptic Studio’s Champions Online, based on the pen-and-paper RPG, launched an open beta last week for those of us who had either pre-ordered the game or have a FilePlanet subscription. Not exactly “open” in every sense of the word, but at least it gives people an opportunity to try out the game before they lock into a monthly subscription. (And only for the low, low price of $49.95!)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cryptic Studios, these are the people behind City of Heroes/Villains and the forthcoming Star Trek Online. They have the pedigree of a successful MMO crafter behind them, but does Champions Online have the hooks necessary to combat Blizzard’s juggernaut? Continue reading Champions Online Beta Impressions

Phantasy Star Game Blog Part VII: Rock the Casba Dragon

ps_preso3Picking up where we last left off, I head to Bortevo and use the Polymeteral to uncover Hapsby, who agrees to fly the space ship for me. What? You mean, no giant quest to find Hapsby’s nephew, Wall-E? He doesn’t need a new set of circuits or anything like that? This game must be getting tired or something. I head back to Dr. Luveno who gives me my ship! I will call it Squishy and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy.

Hapsby gives me a choice of 3 places to go, one of them being the very town we are standing in, which seems kind of sad that such an advanced invention has no sense of being, but hey, least that means he is not about to become Skynet or something. I choose Uzo, which is on the desert planet of Motavia. I heard there were Motavians there or something. Once I arrive, someone tells me that Casba is a town to the south and there is a dragon who has an Amber Eye there. In its head! I am going to carve that sucker out, I tell you. I find a good armor for Noah and his frail ass needs all the help he can, so I buy that.

Some guy in town asks if I need a soothing flute? Once again…how does this crap come up? He reveals that he buried one in the outskirts of Gothic, but it’s a secret. Pal, nothing is a secret in this game, ok? Someone also tells me that the Land Rover can get past Ant Lions. Wonder if that was a secret, too? Holy crap! The store here has light sabers! I’ll take a dozen please! Or maybe just one for Odin and one for Alis. Geez, the locals won’t shut up! There is an awesome shield in a village surrounded by mist, but there is poison gas in the sea to the west, so I will need protection. TROJAN MAN! Oh guess what they have for sell here? A land rover! Time to do donuts over all those Ant Lions blocking my way! But first…

Inside the Casba cave, I descend deeper and deeper until I come up on the foul beast: a black dragon. Ok, time out. Is this considered a hate crime if I kill a black dragon? Earlier, I killed a red one, so I think it’s pretty clear I don’t discriminate against dragons based on color. In fact, I think it’s obvious that I hate all dragons I come across. Killing said dragon earns me one shiny Amber Eye.

antlionUsing my trusty new land rover, I drive over the Ant Lions for a few hours (it seems) and then head back to Gothic and retrieve that secret flute. Kinda shocked I was able to get there first since that chucklehead was blabbing his little secret to anyone with a set of working ears. Guess what else? Someone here tells me of a hovercraft that is hidden in the forest at the edge of town. I got vehicles coming out of my ass! I feel like GI Joe now. I have a spaceship, a hovercraft for travesing the sea and a land rover. I think I am set.

Well that is enough for now. Later this week, I will have another post and trust me, we are getting near the end. I hope to have this done in 10 parts total, with maybe one more post summing up my feelings about the game.  Check back later for Part VIII: Going, going, Gorgon!

Battlefield 1943 Looking at PC Delay

Battlefield 1943You’ve probably seen me commenting around the site, but here’s an intro anyways. I’m Mitch, Canadian blogger extraordinaire, and I’m going to be contributing posts to GamerSushi a few times a week. I hope you’ll like what I have to contribute, and I’m looking forward to bringing you guys my views on our crazy hobby.

If you’re like me, you’ve been playing Battlefield 1943 on either the PlayStation 3 or the X-Box 360 and enjoying the hell out of it. If you’re waiting for the PC version to drop in September, you might be out of luck. Gordon Van Dyke has let it be known that in order to make 1943 a true PC product, DICE is going to have to delay the release into 2010. To make up for the prolonged wait, though, DICE is adding all the neat features that PC gamers take for granted, such as higher player count in matches, Direct X 9 and 10, and joystick support.

I can’t really fault DICE for wanting to give due attention to the PC, but this puts the release dangerously close to Bad Company 2, which might over-shadow its little brother. What do you guys think? Is it worth the wait, or will 1943 get left behind in the early 2010 rush?

Source: Kotaku

Final Fantasy XIII and the Disc Debate

ff13Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix’s long-awaited entry into the Final Fantasy series that has been approximately two decades in the making (not really) will finally be coming to both the PS3 and XBox 360 next year. Not only is it cool to know that this game is right around the corner, but it’s even cooler to know that the game is going to take between 40-50 hours to complete, according to recent reports.

However, there’s been some cause of debate about the game between those lovely fanboys. For years, we’ve heard that one of the PS3’s big advantages over the XBox 360 is the storage capacity of Blu-ray. However, it hasn’t really been an issue for many games in this generation until now. It seems that Final Fantasy XIII is going to take “about” three discs for the XBox 360 version as opposed to the PS3 version.

This is causing massive fanboy flame bombs, as you can imagine. Especially considering that Rage developer id software hinted this week that the XBox 360 version of the game could require a separate disc for multiplayer.

So, what do you guys think about switching discs for the XBox 360 version? Will it deter you from a purchase of the game, or is it really not that big of a deal and do you view it as a huge limitation? Personally, I’ll be getting FFXIII for the PS3, but I think it’s an interesting debate nonetheless.

Source- Kotaku

GamerSushi Asks: Best So Far?

re5-1The future-sounding year of 2009 is rapidly drawing to a close. I mean, seriously, can anyone else believe that it’s almost September? While we haven’t gotten to the incredi-blast of games yet, there have been some titles for everyone to enjoy over the course of the year so far.

For me, if I were to have to pick a game of the year right now, before the holiday releases, I’d pick Resident Evil 5 hands down. There was simply so much game for the value there that it really took me by surprise, and the co-op action just adds to it all the more. On top of that, Capcom completely succeeded at giving the game tons of replayability. Besides that, I’d also have to say that Battlefield 1943 and Wolverine would be in the running.

What about you guys? What is the best game you’ve played this year? It doesn’t have to have come out this year, even. Go!

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Trailer Has Style

In case you hadn’t heard, the new Castlevania: Lords of Shadow game is being made by Kojima Productions. I think it’s definitely good to let them tackle something that is not Metal Gear for a change, and so far the results are looking pretty cool. The Lords of Shadow trailer definitely has some cool style to it, and count me pumped for Patrick Stewart’s voice, which instantly makes everything exponentially more awesome. What do you guys think?

PS3 Slim Due First Week of September, Price Dropped to $299.99

ps3_prints_moneyWell, after months of speculation, it’s happened. Sony dropped the PS3’s price to $299.99 and announced a 120 GB PS3 Slim. Does this change anything for any of you guys? Do you think this will allow Sony to surge past the 360? Or are they destined for 3rd place for this cycle?

GamerSushi Asks: Life in the Sandbox?

prototypeI’ve been playing through some of Prototype this week, and as with most sandbox games, it seems to do a few things really well, but a bunch of other ones in a largely mediocre way. Traversing the city is perhaps the best part of the game. Skyscraper running is so addicting I almost can’t believe it, so moving back and forth between objectives is actually more fun than even doing them.

But it falls short in other ways. I’m not even very far into the game, and the story is a mess. Likewise, all the objectives are already repetitive, and I’m only a few hours in. On top of that, the draw distances and the graphics are pretty laughable, and the city doesn’t feel like a living, breathing world.

It makes me wonder why sandbox games seem to be so hit-or-miss in all of these other areas. To me, to have a good sandbox game, you need a fun way to travel the world, unique diversions, non-repetitive missions and a fully functioning world to make as your playground. In the last couple of years, I feel like Saint’s Row 2 is the closest I’ve gotten to playing something that meets all of those.

What about you guys? What’s your favorite sandbox game, and what do you think is the most important aspect of the genre? Go!

Griefing Table Manners

campingGriefing. It is perhaps the biggest bane of an online gamer’s existence. No matter what system or game that you choose to leap into the online mega-verse with, you can not escape its pull. Whether the griefing takes place in the form of an obnoxious brat screaming obscenities or even team-killing, you know that you are going to run into it in some way, shape or form on any given night. But what happens when you are the one accused of griefing? And are all griefing sins really so equal? Let’s discuss.
Continue reading Griefing Table Manners