Archive for June 11th, 2012

, | Game diaries

Marvel vs Capcom 2 was a big part of my life in high school. I grew up in a town with a vibrant arcade culture, and as a gaming and comic nerd, I’d followed Marvel’s versus series since X-men: Children of the Atom. So when the 3rd installment of the series was announced, I was understandably excited. But it’s been over 10 years since the last game came out, and probably 6 years since I last put away my Dreamcast and my well-worn copy of MvC2. So, I’m understandably a different person now. In that time, I graduated from college, got married, pursued careers in 2 different industries, and have a real, grown up job at a real, grown up company. So, I figured I’d pick it up for a little multi-player with friends for old time’s sake, and that it’d quickly settle down next to Rock Band in my pile of games that only get pulled out for company.

After the jump: Why does that match count say 792-1242? Continue reading →

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, | Game reviews

Inversion developer Saber Interactive did a great job with a shooter called Timeshift. The formula was simple: take a regular ol’ shooter, add a cool gimmick, and let it roll down its designated corridors. Timeshift’s time powers tweaked the usual gunplay and gave it a sense of identity. It made what would have been an otherwise forgettable shooter memorable. See also the recent Darkness II and Fear 3. So what went wrong with Inversion?

Inversion’s gimmick is mostly that biotic power from Mass Effect. You remember the one, right? Bloop out a blue blop of power during a firefight, and bad guys float up in the air so you can more easily shoot them. Later Inversion gives you a shockwave attack and a gravity gun to pick up and throw stuff. Sometimes you pass through zero-G areas where you can float between grabbable ledges as the level designers see fit. But instead of letting the gimmicks drive the action, Inversion all too often lets the level designers drive the action. The concept of a world where gravity has gone rogue doesn’t work so well when going rogue only means carefully scripted pockets. And the blue anti-gravity blops are based on an ammo concept instead of a cooldown bar, which works wonders at making it feel only as useful as the blop ammo put on the map.

Otherwise, Inversion drinks deeply from the Gears of War well, including the same basic combat model, the same generic space marines, and the same overwrought investment in its own bad story. But there’s none of Gears’ heft or kick. Instead, Inversion has that lightweight feel usually reserved for the first level of a game before you get the useful weapons.

Inversion’s two-player co-op is online only. Do you even know anyone else who has this game? Probably not. So the two-player co-op means an indestructible computer player tags along, playing part of the game for you. The multiplayer, which includes a horde mode, is only multiplayer if you can find someone else playing. Prospects don’t look good when you can’t find a match the Saturday afternoon after the game’s release. Leaving you with just another cover-based, checkpoint-driven forgettable shooter with a thin gimmick.

1 star
Xbox 360

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, | Games

Good news! This week’s wallet threat level plummets with the release of Lollipop Chainsaw. I can’t post the review until midnight tonight, but suffice to say your wallet can sleep safe and sound. Wait a second! The red phone is ringing! Hold on.

Oh dear, it seems the wallet threat level has elevated substantially with the release of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. Since its release, this epic sci-fi RTS has gotten cool add-ons that fold in new bits of gameplay. But Rebellion remixes the entire experience for the better. One of the best RTSs you can play just got better.

Krater is an oddduck from Fatshark. Based on the beta, I’m not convinced it works as a direct competitor to Diablo III and Torchlight 2, the games it most closely resembles. But I’m intrigued by its touch of real time strategy, party-based RPGing, and characters who can actually die. It goes live tonight, so stand by for more detailed impressions this week.

Sony releases a new game for the PSP Veeta called Gravity Rush. I did my term of service with gravity rushing in last week’s stinker, Inversion. Which I didn’t have to play on a $300 handheld boondoggle. Furthermore, Konami ports a few old Metal Gear Solids to the Vida. Meanwhile, Atlus shows some love for the PSP Regular with a nifty tactical RPG called Gungnir. From playing a few levels, I can plainly see the same colorful charm and exhaustive detail of Jean d’Arc, Tactics Ogre, and Disgaea.

Finally, Dirt: Showdown is out. And by out, I mean it’s out on the platform of preference for those of us who take our arcade racing in the living room.

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, | Movie podcasts

Ridley Scott’s eagerly awaited sci-fi saga, Prometheus, is here at last. Boy, is it here. It really showed up. It was released like you wouldn’t believe. And we saw the heck out of it and talk about it for exactly an hour. Then we do a 3×3 of awesome nighttime scenes in movies.

Next week: Snow White and the Hunstman, plus a side helping of John Carter

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