Beating down the cheesers in Super Street Fighter IV

So back when Street Fighter IV came out I was really excited. I hadn’t seriously played any Street Fighter games since Super Street Fighter II. Even with the Alpha series I barely touched them, and the SFIII family of games were just something I never got into even passively. I’ve always loved fighting games, so it’s weird that I went so long without playing. Anyway, I picked up SFIV and was really excited about it for about a week or two. I thought it was my return to playing Street Fighter regularly. It wasn’t. It’s not because I didn’t really like the game, I did, it was because I had no time to invest in learning the game and the new fighting engine. Eventually I sold it off, figuring I would pick it back up when SSFIV came out, if ever.

Well, I picked up SSFIV a little while back, modded my arcade stick to put authentic arcade parts (Sanwa stick with an octagonal restrictor plate and Seimitsu buttons), and sat down to play. This past weekend was the first weekend I went online to compete, and boy did it feel like old times when I’d walk down to the arcade with a pocket full of quarters to test my growing skills against the other kids and teens that were sucked into the game. Right from the get go I had success, winning my first 5 online ranked matches and earning a handful of achievements in the process. I noticed that the same sorts of players still exist–the special move spammer, the combo master, the rushdown aggressive type, the defensive player, the guy who keep jumping into your uppercuts, and that one guy that everybody hates…the cheeser.

A cheeser is a guy who basically knows 3-4 tough to defend moves and he relentlessly throws them at you. Typically this guy will just hold to this strategy, whether it’s successful or not. These guys will find out what move you’re not familiar with defending and it’s all they’ll do until the round ends. If you can’t figure out a good counter, you’ll lose.

I ran into a guy playing as Vega, and here was his strategy. Hold down and back to keep a move charged. If the other player approaches, quickly do an aerial special attack. If the player throws a projectile, he’d do a backflip to avoid it and return to his crouching charge state. It was all very annoying. After the first round where I got beat by a Super finish, I was already irritated. This was the first time I had faced Vega in SSFIV, so I was totally unfamiliar with which of my moves would take priority over his, and what counters were open to me. I reverted back to old standby strategies and made short work of him in round 2. It helped that he was being somewhat cocky and careless. In round 3 he came at me with his cheese tactics 100% again, so I had a tougher time. After a throw, he had me down to 0% on my health bar, just a sneeze would do me in. He had about 50% of his bar left, and he just let loose special move after special move. I got lucky and was either dodging or countering every single move. The round ended when he tried to unleash his Ultra 1 move, which I managed to jump over and hit him with a dragon punch to finish the round. The next 10 seconds were nothing but a stream of curses coming through his mic (I wasn’t wearing one, so it came through my TV speakers). Ahhh, it felt good. I saved that replay, and I’ll show it to my kid one day to demonstrate why his mom would choose to marry a guy like me.

A great way to punish a Blanka electric thunder spammer.

Throughout the weekend I ran into many more cheesers. They don’t seem to be as rampant as they did in the past, possibly due to the punishing Super and Ultra moves, but already I’m remembering how to deal with them. In round 1 it’s best to just play your game and see what they’re going to throw at you. If you can adjust in the first round, do it, but don’t worry if they best you at this point. In round 2 you have to start punishing those moves. Even if you win the round, they’ll stick to the moves into round 3. If you can get a lead, they’ll typically panic and start trying something else, this is when you hit them with everything you have, because they’ll be so flustered they’ll incorrectly block on cross-ups and it’ll be over quickly. After that, you’ll just have to grin and hold your tongue as they whine and cuss you out on the mic.

Ah yes, whine does go best with cheese.

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.

January in Review

January gave us a chance to play through all the goodies we picked up during the holiday rush or to catch up on backlog titles that have been waiting a long time to get some play in our rotation. Here are the games I completed in January, most of which were for the first time, others just for nostalgic reasons.

Bayonetta (Xbox 360) – This was a game I reviewed for Kombo and one I was beyond excited to get my hands on after getting a few short minutes with it back at E3 last year. The game turned out to be what I was hoping to be and I had an absolute blast with it from start to finish. With fluid controls, an excellent combat/combo system, and a wacky presentation, Bayonetta will more than likely be in my top games of 2010.

Assassin’s Creed (Xbox 360) – Yeah, it took me until early 2010 to finally finish Assassin’s Creed. Like many I became a bit fatigued by the repetitive nature of the missions, so when other releases started coming out that interested me I set the game aside. With the release of Assassin’s Creed 2, I needed to go back and wrap this one up for storyline continuity sake. In the end I enjoyed the game, but I’ll always be quick to point out that it has its fair share of issues.

Duck Tales (NES) – One of my favorite games ever made (look for an upcoming Best Game Ever feature on this), I will come back to this one for a few speed runs or high score challenges. Never do I put this game into my NES and feel like I’m only enjoying it for the nostalgia effect. This game is a timeless winner from Capcom and Disney.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) – Simply a fantastic game that deserved the many awards it picked up in all the game of the year voting for 2009. The action, story, presentation, and overall experience all combine to make Uncharted 2 a must play for all PS3 owners. The behind the scenes content on the disc is pretty fun to watch as well (you can also find the videos on YouTube).

Castlevania (NES) – Another game I commonly go back to for a quick play, Castlevania is a challenging title that tests my ability to stay sharp when it comes to retro gaming. Much like Ninja Gaiden on the  NES, these old action games really keep the enemies coming nonstop and have very basic but solid level designs. This is definitely not the last time I’ll be playing through Castlevania.

King’s Quest VI (PC) – Ah, the Sierra On-Line classic. I was a big fan of the King’s Quest, Space Quest, Quest for Glory, and Police Quest games and I tend to play through one or two of them every couple of months. They’re great to have on your laptop to play on the go or to casually experience while watching TV. King’s Quest VI was probably my favorite in the KQ series, though they’re all pretty fantastic if you don’t recognize King’s Quest VIII (it NEVER happened).

So here’s what I’m working on in February so far, and I’m hoping to get to Dragon Age: Origins, BioShock 2, and Mass Effect (yeah, the first one) by the end of the month.

Assassin’s Creed 2 (Xbox 360) – Wow, what an improvement over the first iteration in the series. I put this disc in almost immediately after finishing the first game and right away I could tell they had upgraded the graphical engine. The first game looked nice, this one looks fantastic. The free running feels more accurate and the mission variety is way better. More importantly, the game really does a great job at urging you to explore the landscape, but there are also plenty of helps to make it an easy going experience rather than a frustrating one.

Retro Game Challenge (DS) – A funky little game that came out a few months ago, this is one I’m glad I didn’t pass on. It’s hard to explain this one in a few words, but basically you’re playing retro style games to meet specific challenges laid out for you such as a high score to beat or to achieve a number of kills in a certain manner or time period. The game has tons of nods to classic games, magazines, and industry professionals. It’s just a great package overall.

Star Control II (PC) – I come back to this game a lot. A lot.

I demand an apology, Bungie

I’ve always been critical of Bungie’s shameless attempts to artificially lengthen their games by putting either ridiculously repetitive (The Library) or go one way, come back again (1/2 of all Halo games) levels. I feel that these levels have always been a cheap tactic to make the games feel longer or to inflate the time needed to complete the game. For the most part, however, these sections at least provided some sort of enemy resistance…until now.

In Halo 3: ODST there is a hub world between levels. You’re out on the streets of New Mombasa and you’re looking for your squad mates, intel, and a way to get to the next level. These sections are incredibly long, rarely provide any action at all, and are repetitive to the point where you consider quitting every time you’re forced to play through them. In co-op mode this is particularly painful as you and three friends are removed from the game’s action to wander around a lifeless zone. Let’s call it like it is, this section is purely to expand the length of the game and stretch out the total time needed to complete the game. When Microsoft decided that Bungie needed to turn ODST into a full retail package, this was their way of justifying the length of the game. You might have a few diehards who don’t mind humping every inch of the hub to find audio drops and such, but for those that just want to move the story along or stay in the action, nothing could be more painful than this hub area.

Yeah, I gave Microsoft my $60, but now I’m feeling a little gypped. It seems to me that this really would have been an excellent value at $30 with a shorter overall experience. I would have urged everybody to get it at that price, but now I just feel like I would have been better off renting the thing. It’s a very fun game when you’re in the action, but the hub areas just bring everything to a screeching halt a little too often.

Tighten up those boot straps, it's a long walk, team.

“Tighten up those boot straps, it’s a long walk, team.”

If you’re not interested in ODST, but you do want to know what the hub world is like, I have a suggestion for you. Call up a few friends that all live about 2-3 miles from each other. Have each friend get something you love and put it inside their house. Step out your front door and walk (no running!) to friend #1’s house. Enjoy the object they laid out for you, and then walk (again, no running!) to the next friend’s house. Keep doing this until the walking between each house feels like the worst thing ever. You did it, you now understand the New Mombasa street sections of Halo 3: ODST.

And don’t get me started on that ridiculous VISR…

First 21 games for Xbox 360 On Demand service revealed

Joystiq ran a list of the first 21 games that will be out for Xbox 360’s On Demand gaming service. Basically it’s just a digital download, kind of like the Xbox Originals, but it now included 360 games. I’m kind of confused by some of the first games made available, but I’m sure they have their reasons. Here’s the list.

  • Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft)
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (LucasArts)
  • Rainbow Six Vegas (Ubisoft)
  • BioShock (2K Games)
  • Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Ridge Racer 6 (Namco)
  • Burnout Paradise (EA)
  • Meet The Robinsons (Disney)
  • Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis (Rockstar Games)
  • Call of Duty® 2 (Activision)
  • MX vs. ATV Untamed (THQ)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SEGA)
  • Viva Piñata 2: Trouble in Paradise (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Need for Speed Carbon (EA)
  • Test Drive: Unlimited (Atari)
  • Fight Night Round 3 (EA)
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA)
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Prey (2K Games)
  • Viva Piñata (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Karaoke Revolution American Idol Encore (Konami)
  • Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Dance Dance Revolution Universe (Konami)

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/