Nintendo Wii price drop on May 15th, new bundle

On May 15th Nintendo will drop the official price of the Nintendo Wii to $150 and will be changing up the bundle a bit. Rather than receiving Wii Sports, new Wii owners will get a copy of Mario Kart and a Wii Wheel. To me that’s a better value as Wii Sports can be had for cheap and if anybody had any passing interest in it at this point, they probably already have tried it out.

For many consoles, the $150 and $99 price points are the magic triggers that cause a flurry of sales to pick up. We’ll have to see if this stirs up a new buying audience for the Wii or if saturation will continue to be an issue. The biggest problem right now is that there’s no big game out to coincide with the new price, but $150 is still a great deal for a console and a game.

If you haven’t picked up a Wii yet, it’s definitely time. Get one and get playing some of the gems in the library. Heck, Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 are worth the $150 console price tag by themselves…

2010 Game Awards and Overall Game of the Year

My list comes out a little later than others, mostly because I had some catching up to do on a few 2010 titles before I made my picks. A few games didn’t end up getting enough play for serious consideration, but I guess that’s just due to other games being engaging enough to keep me glued to them. I hesitated as to whether or not to do a top 10, and I’m still deciding, so for now enjoy the category-based awards. 2010 was a fantastic year for gaming, this wasn’t easy to put together!

Best Graphics of 2010

Winner – God of War III

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain

This was a tough pick, because one could argue that God of War III is just a really shiny and higher poly God of War II, but that would be ignoring the massive scale of the game and the rock solid framerate and overall fluidity of the visuals. Simply put, few games really have pushed a console so hard this generation as God of War III.

Best Audio of 2010

Winner – Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption

Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption challenged for the title based on the strength of their soundtracks, but it would be really hard to deny Bad Company 2 this year. The gunshots are incredible in this game, as are the booming explosions and crunchy sounds of vehicles rolling over debris and vegetation. Whether the sounds are close up or the muted sounds of a distant skirmish, Bad Company 2 really showed how a battle should sound.

Best Story of 2010

Winner – Red Dead Redemption

Runners Up – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Mass Effect 2

Both the method of delivering the story and the progression of the storyline were bright spots in the overall experience Red Dead Redemption offered. When you reach the end of the game (the true ending, not the first one), it’s a powerful moment and one that will pry a fist pump out of even the most unemotional gamer. Red Dead Redemption isn’t just a great story for a video game, it’s just great for any medium.

Best New Character of 2010

Winner – Bayonetta

Runners Up – John Marston, Legion

It was hard not to give this to John Marston, but as great as he was he sort of fell into the typical Rockstar main character trappings of being made to serve fate. Bayonetta was just something so insane and crazy that I had to give her the nod when she managed to pull it off. The hyper-sexualized heroine was something that is sure to spawn horrific fan art and cosplay costumes, but hopefully great sequels as well. In the end, Bayonetta will have the longer impact on the gaming industry than any other new characters of 2010.

Best Online Multiplayer of 2010

Winner – Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Runners Up: StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call me crazy, but Bad Company 2 easily provided the best online multiplayer for me this year. The way that the game rewards team play but also allows for lone wolves to do their thing is truly admirable. With the different classes, gamers can play how they want and still contribute to the team’s success. While it lacks the audience and stat tracking of Halo: Reach, Bad Company 2 is more accessible to newcomers and fosters a greater importance of teamwork. StarCraft 2 could have taken this award if it was more friendly to new players, but the game can be quite daunting even for those that put many hours into the campaign.

Best Sequel of 2010

Winner – Super Mario Galaxy 2

Runners Up – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Mass Effect 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Not an easy award to settle on with such a big year for sequels, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 took the award because Nintendo basically perfected the 3D platformer genre with this year’s effort. Galaxy 2 doesn’t just give us more of what we liked in Galaxy 1, but it does so with so much more imagination and polish than we could have expected. Mass Effect 2 could have taken this award if the game didn’t wrap up so quickly after assembling the team. It seems like as soon as you have everybody on board, it’s time to go up against that final boss, who was a pretty ridiculous boss if you really think about it.

Best New Franchise

Winner – Bayonetta

Runners Up: Angry Birds, Vanquish

Platinum Games had a great year. They gave us two franchises that I think have some solid staying power. Bayonetta, in its first effort, put Capcom and Team Ninja on notice. There have been some great action games this generation, but I feel that Bayonetta stands above them all; and that’s quite impressive for a first effort.

Best Xbox 360 Exclusive of 2010

Winner – Halo: Reach

Runner Up: Alan Wake

Halo: Reach was a fitting curtain call for Bungie under Microsoft care. While it might be feeling a bit familiar at this point, the game still stood out above all other exclusive releases on the Xbox 360. Alan Wake could have made a more serious threat to win the award, but the repetition and ho-hum combat held it back.

Best PlayStation 3 Exclusive of 2010

Winner – God of War III

Runner Up – Heavy Rain

This was an easy pick for me. God of War III is a fantastic first entry for the franchise and it offered up strong action, amazing graphics, and a varied experience that keeps you engaged from start to finish. Heavy Rain, while really disappointing from a story resolution standpoint, needs to be commended for its bold approach to both storytelling and gameplay techniques. The impact Heavy Rain will have going forward will be noticeable, but I can’t shake how unsatisfying the reveal of the villain ended up being.

Best Wii Exclusive of 2010

Winner – Super Mario Galaxy 2

Runner Up – Kirby’s Epic Yarn

It’s hard to top Mario when he’s on his game, and he really was in 2010. Kirby’s Epic Yarn might be the most imaginative effort from Nintendo for a while, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is no slouch in that regard and the gameplay is unmatched on the Wii for 2010. It remains to be seen if there will be a Galaxy 3 or if Mario will change up his formula once more, but I’d be happy for more spherical planetoids and funky gravity at some point.

Best PC Exclusive of 2010

Winner – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Runner Up – Civilization V

I probably spent more time on Civ V than any other game this year, but it didn’t quite provide the same balanced experience as StarCraft 2 did. Besides, how many other games foster such a large e-sports scene that is as much fun to watch as it is to take part in? Especially in the past few months, if I’m not playing StarCraft 2 at my PC, I’m probably watching match replays or reading up on emerging strategies. Few games were as exciting in 2010 as StarCraft 2 on a global level, and even fewer will remain as exciting going forward.

Best Multiplatform Game of 2010

Winner – Red Dead Redemption

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2

For its incredible story, delivery of plot, and cohesive and immersive world, it’s tough to deny Red Dead Redemption the top spot here. I’m a documented critic of Rockstar, and the Grand Theft Auto franchise in general, but I was blown away by their effort with Red Dead Redemption. My favorite story moment of 2010 was when the Red Dead Redemption title card flashed up as the game’s true ending took place. It was satisfying and true to the Western genre. Mass Effect 2 was no slouch, but the recycled plot, only with a less cool enemy force than ME1, was just enough to drop it down to runner up status.

Best Game of 2010

Winner – StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Runners Up – Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2

Honorable Mentions – Civilization V, Battlefield: Bad Company 2

This was one of the most hotly contested years in gaming history. 1998 is often pointed to as the best year in gaming, but 2010 wasn’t too far behind. In fact, 2010 might have provided a higher volume of quality titles, though it wasn’t as top heavy. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty leads the 2010 pack because of its strong showing on both the single player and multiplayer sides of things. The single player is fantastic for gamers of any skill, and multiplayer offers an amount strategic depth and balance of depth that’s nearly unmatched. Furthermore, the StarCraft 2 community is among the most healthy that any game in history has ever enjoyed, with heavy competition taking place around the world. If you haven’t looked into the emergence of e-sports, take a look at the competitive StarCraft 2 scene for an eye-opening look into the future of competitive gaming. For its overall impact on the industry, quality of experience, and longevity, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty wins 2010’s award for best game of the year.

A SHMUP brush up

With the release of Sin & Punishment: Star Successor for the Wii and Deathsmiles (impressions for both coming soon) for the Xbox 360, I figured I’d give a brief overview of the shoot ‘em up (shmup) genre and point out some of my favorites. The genre itself is about as old as gaming, and it’s one that has managed to survive despite their very distinct and niche attributes. I think the genre survives because it really boils down gaming into its most basic elements: shoot, dodge, advance, repeat to perfection.

As a subgenre of the shooter genre, the shoot ‘em up name applies to many types of experiences. There are fixed shooters, scrolling shooters, multi-directional shooters, on-rails shooters, manic shooters, run and gun, and a few oddball types. Let’s take a look at each one and point out some notable games.

Fixed Shooters

Fixed shooters are one  of the earliest variations on the shmup genre. Games like Space Invaders, Galaxian, or Galaga have the player at a fixed point on the Y-axis at the bottom of the screen and the player must move along the X-axis to attack enemies that move across both axes. The screen doesn’t scroll, but there might be multiple levels where variations of enemy types or objects on the screen appear. There aren’t a lot of these shooters being released today, but they do still make appearances from time to time, such as Space Invaders Extreme.

Some fixed shooters allow the player to move along the X-axis or even on both axes, but the screen doesn’t scroll nor does the player shoot in more than one direction (always shoots up or across the screen). Games like Yars’ Revenge allow for both Y and X axis movement, but the player is only able to shoot horizontally.

A Few Notable Fixed Shooter Franchises: Space Invaders, Galaxian, Galaga, Pleaids, Phoenix, Centipede, Demon Attack, Pooyan, Atlantis

Scrolling Shooters

Scrolling shooters are the type of shoot ‘em ups that are most familiar to the average gamer. They come in a few variations, including vertical, horizontal, and isometric. The scrolling shooter is nearly 3o years old, and Defender is credited with ushering in this style back in 1981. In this type of shooter, the screen will scroll either automatically (forced) or by advancing forward or backward through the level. Some of the biggest franchises in the shmup genre fall within this type of shooter. Many shooter fans consider the scrolling shooters to be the most “pure” style of shooters.

This and multi-directional shooters are the most popular forms of the genre left a live today. There is some overlap between the styles, but for the most part they’re easily differentiated.

A Few Notable Scrolling Shooter Franchises: Defender, Gradius, R-Type, 1942, Blazing Star, Mars Matrix, Legendary Wings, Scramble, DoDonPachi, Star Soldier, Espgaluda, Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun, Guwange, Gunbird 2, Spy Hunter, and many, many, many more.

Multi-Directional Shooters

Multi-directional shooters are still quite popular today, and they are actually the oldest sub-genre in the shoot ‘em up family and as old as video games themselves. Spacewar! kicked off the genre back in 1962. It featured two ships that flew around a fixed screen and attempted to shoot at each other. This style is called multi-directional because you can travel and shoot in any direction rather than on fixed angles. Games like Asteroids and Smash TV really propelled the multi-directional shooter genre forward and they were a massive hit in arcades. This style of shooter really took off again recently with the re-emergence of twin stick and touch screen controls. Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 have several games available that fit into this sub-genre.

A Few Notable Multi-Directional Shooter Franchises: Asteroids, Computer Space, Smash TV, Geometry Wars, Bangai-O, Berzerk, Super Stardust, Star Control, Time Pilot, Sinistar, Robotron: 2084

On-Rails Shooters

On-rail shooters are similar to scrolling shooters, but the player movement is limited to a pre-defined path through the environment, and in many cases so is the camera viewing angle. Many on-rails shooters give the illusion of a larger world, but the player is guided down a fairly specific tunnel. Space Harrier and After Burner are a couple of on-rails shooters that really gave the genre its start. Enemies in this style of shooter tend to be larger, take more damage to defeat, and will often remain on screen for longer amounts of time.

A Few Notable On-Rails Shooter Franchises: Space Harrier, After Burner, Panzer Dragoon, Star Fox, Rez, Sin & Punishment, and several Star Wars titles.

Manic Shooters

Manic shooters, or bullet hell shooters, really are just scrolling shooters, but they have a distinct look and feel to them that many people classify them differently. Above I mentioned several manic shooters in the notable scrolling shooter list, as I tend to prefer to conflate the types under one umbrella. But in all fairness, manic shooters do offer a different experience. The biggest difference between a manic shooter and a more traditional scrolling shooter is the sheer number of projectiles that are thrown at the player. Rather than reasonable levels of enemies coming at you, manic shooters flood the screen with both enemies and bullets. The player’s ship (or character) usually has a fairly small hit box, allowing the player to dodge and weave through the non-stop onslaught of bullets. Memorizing attack patterns is essential to surviving bullet hell games.

This style of shmup is definitely the most challenging, and as a result, it’s also the most niche. Gamers that prefer this style of shooter thrive on the constant edge of your seat gameplay and the extreme concentration it takes to survive. Many of these games will offer alternate endings, bonus levels, or other hidden gems for completing the game under certain circumstances, such as no deaths or not using any special weapons. Cave is the current king and by most accounts the pioneer of manic shooter developers; but many will argue that Treasure has a better touch for the genre.

A Few Notable Manic Shooter Franchises: Ikaruga, DonPachi, Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga, Guwange, Mars Matrix, Strikers 1945, Castle of Shikigami, Espgaluda, Touhou

Run and Gun Shooters

Run and Gun shooters can also fit within some of the other categories, depending on their execution, but the one characteristic that sets these apart from the rest is that they’re typically games where the player controls a character or vehicle that is on the ground. These shooters can incorporate on-rails gameplay, vertical or horizontal scrolling, multi-directional controls, and even elements of bullet hell gameplay. The run and gun style of shooter is also one that’s been around for a long time. The games may have small bits of platforming mixed in with the shooting, but it’s the shooting that is the main focus in these games, by far. Arcades and home consoles in the 8-bit and 16-bit era saw practically endless releases of run and gun shooters. Today there are still releases in this style of shooter, but they’re nowhere near as common as they used to be.

A Few Notable Run and Gun Shooter Franchises: Contra, Gunstar Heroes, Metal Slug, PN.03, Alien Soldier, Rush’n Attack, Gun.Smoke

Oddball Shooters – The rest of the genre

There are so many sub-genres within the shooter genre that it would take many pages of text to cover them all, so I’ll just lump what’s left under “oddball shooters”. It’s not that these are particularly weird, it’s just that they’re not as prominent as the other types. In addition to the types mentioned above, you also have Tube Shooters, such as Tempest. Tube shooters are rarely seen, but they offer some nice action. Cute ‘em Up shooters are even more niche, and are typically a style of manic shooters; with the main difference being in the style and aesthetic. Cute ‘em Ups are generally extremely colorful, incorporate a heavy amount of cutesy art and sound, and will often times be full of innuendo. It’s rare to see a game of this nature come to the West, but they’re widely available on PC for imports for those interested. There are even more types than these, but they’re quite niche or outright experimental.

Shoot ‘em ups are not nearly as prominent as they were back in the ’80s and ’90s, but they’re still all part of a relevant genre in gaming. It’s not very likely that a shmup is going to be topping the NPD charts or sweeping the game of the year awards any time soon, but many of the games that do owe their existence to many of the roots laid down by the shoot ‘em up genre. Early first person perspective games like Atari’s Star Wars were the first logical step that eventually lead to games such as Wolfenstein 3D, a pioneer in first person shooters. Games like Robotron: 2084 were inspiration for not only modern day twin stick shooters, but also other frantic experiences such as Dead Rising.

If you’re interested in getting your feet we with shoot ‘em ups, it’s usually best to start with the old classics and work your way up to the more current offerings. Games like 1942, R-Type, Gradius, Robotron:2084, and Contra are all amazing games to see how likely you are to enjoy the genre.

The price of motion control for PS3 and 360 owners

Ever since the Wii became a runaway success, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft and Sony would join the game. I didn’t think it would take this long for them to enter the ring and duke it out with their own motion control systems, but E3 2010 showed that both companies are taking this fight quite seriously. The funny thing about motion controls is that they’re aimed at the casual market; a market that takes cost into consideration as a very high determining factor. So, both Sony and Microsoft have laid out their battle plans. If they are to make strides into the casual market, price is a big deal. Comparing the two is interesting, so let’s take a look.

Microsoft Kinect Options

If you already own an Xbox 360 system

  • Kinect – $149.99 (free unannounced game included)

If you are buying an Xbox 360 for Kinect

  • Xbox Elite 250GB System  + Kinect – $449.99
  • Xbox 360 Arcade System + Kinect – $299.99

The real advantage Microsoft has is that for multiplayer you only need one Kinect peripheral, and you won’t need to buy multiple controllers or attachments. The base price is the same price for one person or a whole family to get playing. Gamestop has confirmed that Kinect will include a free game, but they haven’t said what game that is at this point. It’s highly likely that the bundled game will be something very simple, so most buyers are going to want to pick up something such as Kinect Sports, Kinectimals, or Child of Eden to really get started with the Kinect experience.

Sony PlayStation Move Options

If you already own a PS3 and a PlayStation Eye camera

  • PlayStation Move Controller + Navigation Controller + Game – $119.99

If you already own a PS3 but no PlayStation Eye camera

  • PlayStation Move Starter Bundle + Navigation Controller – $129.99

If you are buying  PlayStation 3 for Move

  • PlayStation Move Console Bundle + Navigation Controller – $429.99

Prices of Move Accessories

  • PlayStation Move Controller – $49.99
  • PlayStation Move Navigation Controller – $29.99

Now there’s something important to point out here. Some Move games will require two Move controllers to be used to fully experience the game, so really you’d want to buy a second controller if you’re serious about playing the full library properly. In essence, you should add an additional $49.99 to each bundle above. I added in the price for a Navigation controller even though Sony says it’s possible to use a regular PS3 controller. It will be less than ideal to try to grip a PS3 controller with one hand, however, and I don’t see many people opting for that. Like the Wii, to get more players in the game, you’ll need additional controllers. Some games could require up to 8 Move controllers for 4 players, but at minimum 4. For a full 4-player experience, it could cost as much as $279.99 to get playing, even if you already own a PS3. I would wager that most 4-player games will not require two Move controllers per player, however.

When you price things up, the Kinect price tag seems higher, but for new console owners the PS3 cost of entry is significantly more, especially when you start adding in multiple players. For those that own consoles, the same is the truth unless you’re planning on playing solo.

What I gather from pouring over the numbers is that despite price of the 360 and PS3 systems getting into more family friendly realms, neither one can realistically compete with what the Wii offers. Right now the is $199.99, which includes the system and two games. Obviously adding in the additional controllers to get up to 4 players brings up the price, but you’ll still come out significantly ahead by going the Nintendo route. With the economy how it is, Sony and Microsoft have a huge uphill battle to make the public see their offerings as a good value.

PSA: Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is out this weekend

One of my favorite demos from E3 2009 was Treasure’s Sin & Punishment: Star Successor for the Nintendo Wii. Always a fan of shooters and high action games, Star Successor delivered both in spades. The demo was just a single level, and you could choose either of the two playable characters (each with their own different styles of play). The game will make use of online leaderboards, a great stat tracking system, and will offer tons of replay value for those that look to aim for perfection.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is out on Sunday at retail, so shipments should be arriving by mail Monday or Tuesday. With all the big games that were recently released and with the ones coming up, I really hope Star Successor doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. For people who complain that there aren’t enough hardcore experiences on the Wii, they need to take a look at this game. It really doesn’t get much more hardcore than this.

This would make a great Under the Radar game…

My top ten games of E3 2009

I published my top ten games of E3 2009 over at Kombo, but I figured I’d share them here with a little bit more info on each one. They are presented in no particular order, except for my game of the show (which is obviously number 1). Here we go.

  • Metroid: Other M – When Nintendo rolled the trailer for this I was pretty surprised. Before the conference I had Tweeted that I expected a New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and I had been telling friends that I also expected a new Metroid, but Other M still managed to surprise me with how it looked and with the fact that it’s co-developed by Team Ninja. I really can’t wait to see how this plays out.
  • Modern Warfare 2 – I feel that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the best console FPS of all time, so it’s only natural that I’d be hyped up for the sequel. I thought that the game looked great at the show, and I’m very interested in seeing more as the game gets nearer to release.
  • Heavy Rain - While there are still a lot of questions surrounding this game, there’s no denying that it looks fantastic. I’m hoping that due to all the branching storyline paths that this game will be very replayable.
  • The Beatles: Rock Band - When it was first announced I figured that this was basically Rock Band with a Beatles skin, but after having played the game at E3 and watching it for a while, I’ve come to see that it is indeed a new experience. With support for thee-part harmonies and some gorgeous art, this looks like it’s going to be well worth the price of entry.
  • Uncharted 2 - Few games at E3 so thoroughly wowed the audience as Uncharted 2 managed to do. The game looks absolutely stunning and it seems to have received a significant gameplay and AI upgrade. The first Uncharted was awesome, so there’s no doubt in my mind that this one deserves a big old hype train.
  • God of War III - The God of War series is really, really, good. If you’re not a Sony guy, it’s possible that you’ve passed on this series, and that’s tood bad. God of War III looked amazing at E3, and the demo was a blast to play. Somehow they manage to take the action and carnage to a higher level with each release, and God of War III is no exception.
  • Sin and Punishment 2 - Seeing this playable on the show floor was a little surprising, as the game is not due out until 2010. After playing through it a few times it was safe to say that Sin and Punishment 2 was one of my favorite demos at the show. The game controlled well, had nice flow, and was full of that classic Treasure style. The game should be a big hit with fans of the original, myself included.
  • Alan Wake - Of all the games that Microsoft had to show at their conference, I fell that Alan Wake was the most impressive. The game has been a long time coming, but it’s looking like it’s been well worth the wait. As expected, the game looked incredible. It differentiated itself well from Heavy Rain and proved to be the more action-orientated title between the two.
  • New Super Mario Bros. - I called it! Heh, this game was a blast to play on the show floor in a 4-player setting, but I’m quite sure that the single player experience will be great fun too. It’s hard not to get excited about a new and playable Mario game at E3.
  • Scribblenauts - In the end, my game of the show was Scribblenauts for the DS. Here’s a direct quote from my writeup at Kombo on the game: In a year when all three major consoles really came out and had excellent showings, it took me by surprise that I ended up singling out a handheld title for my top pick of E3. Handled correctly, Scribblenauts could be the next runaway sensation on the DS. The game’s approach to problem solving is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before and it should keep all types of gamers interested in seeing just how many different ways they can manage to meet their goal. Each time I walked away from the demo station it was all I could do not to turn right back and try one more thing out on the game.

Honorable Mentions

The games listed here are pretty much as good as the top ten, but they either didn’t have the same surprising impact behind them, maybe they weren’t playable, or maybe they just ended up here because I could only pick ten games and I sadly had to relegate a few to the outer edges. Here are the other games I was big on at E3 2009.

  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Wii Sports Resort
  • Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  • Brutal Legend
  • FIFA 10
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
  • Borderlands
  • Mafia II
  • Shadow Complex
  • A Boy and His Blob
  • Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story
  • Assassin’s Creed 2
  • The Last Guardian

E3 link dump, photo slideshow, and general awesomeness

Below you’ll find a slideshow of some of the pics I took at E3. I might be adding more as time goes on, so if you care, check back and watch the slide show again to see anything new. After that, I have links to some of my hands-on articles that I wrote for Kombo.com. I’m still going to do that E3 wrapup podcast and will also reveal my top picks for the show soon. I imagine your hype for said things must be through the roof. You can view a full screen version of the photo slideshow by hitting that little button with the four arrows on the bottom of the image window.

Links to hands-on articles (I will be adding to this as more stories go live):

E3 2009: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Multiplayer
E3 2009: Mafia II Impressions
E3 2009: A Boy and His Blob
E3 2009: New Super Mario Bros.
E3 2009: The Beatles: Rock Band
E3 2009: Sin and Punishment 2
E3 2009: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
E3 2009: Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
E3 2009: Real Heroes: Firefighter

New Madden 10 details have me unsure

Joystiq has some new details on Madden 10, straight from EA Tiburon themselves. Below is a quote from their article, and there’s a video you can view over at the site as well (link at the end of the post):

One of the biggest improvements to the game is the Pro-Tak feature, which provides more dynamic tackling on the defense, better evasion maneuvers for the Quarterback, and allows players to fight for fumbles at the bottom of the pile. Defenders can even gang up on an offensive player, allowing up to 9-man gang tackles. 

There will also be a new way for you to decrease the length of a game through the Madden NFL Your Way feature. This is a customizable version of the game that will support a new, revamped play calling system, along with faster clocks, and streamlined presentation.

New features are good and all, but upping the cheese factor of quarterbacks sounds dangerous to me. If anything, quarterbacks need to go down easier in NFL games, because too many people abuse the rollout plays with mobile quarterbacks. Besides, it’s not like I’m going to running anywhere with Pennington no matter how many jukes they give him. I hope that fumble fighting deal is super transparent as well. I don’t want to see issues where like six players from one team jump on a fumble only to have the opposing team’s kicker hop on top of the pile only to emerge with the ball. I never realized that there were issues with the fumble recovery system, but whatever.

I really hope that EA Sports isn’t going to sweat out the stuff that nobody really ever has cared about. I’d be very happy if we just got a fun to play game that isn’t plagued by glaring issues in the  passing or running games. But wait, if our fumble scrums are accurate I guess it would be all dandy, right?!

Source: http://www.joystiq.com/2009/04/29/madden-nfl-10-to-feature-new-pro-tak-mode-faster-ways-to-play/

Three new Madden 10 screens

Every year I get hopeful for Madden, and every year I feel a little deflated by the product. But hey, this year they’re showing off my favorite team in the new screens, so it’s about time I start getting suckered in. As long as they refrain from images of that evil team out in Foxboro, the love fest I’m currently having with Madden 10 can continue.

madden10

madden10_21

madden10_3

Look at Ronnie Brown running that Wildcat offense. It’s a thing of outright beauty! I really hope that the Wildcat works well in Madden 10. I mean, I want it to be effective, but not so overpowered and broken that it becomes taboo to use online. I imagine it can’t be the easiest thing to integrate into an NFL game, as it’s a pretty strange twist. I also hope that Tom Brady’s terribly unhealed knee is accurately represented in the game.

Ghostbusters Ultra Spendy Collector’s Insane Edition

One of my most anticipated games is Ghostbusters, if only for the awesome franchise that it’s based on. Ok, so the game actually does look like a lot of fun, but buying the limited collector’s edition that Amazon is offering is going to set you back a quite a bit. While it does come with some cool little collectibles, there is no way that they’re worth doubling the price of the game. Here’s what you get, directly quoted from Amazon’s product listing:

  • An exclusive 10″ Slimer bust designed and created by the original movie sculptor, Steve Johnson. Comes complete with a certificate of authenticity signed by the sculptor himself.
  • Exclusive Ghostbusters Minimates. Only be available with the Slimer Edition.
  • Exclusive Ghostbusters Gamer Graffix Console Skins.
  • Exclusive Ecto 1 Key Chain with lights and sound.

Oh, and of course you’ll also get the game. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will run you $129.99, and the Wii version will run $109.99. For the serious Ghostbusters collector, I guess it’s a no-brainer, but for the casual fan, the price is probably a bit much.

Link to purchase : Ghostbusters: The Video Game