Review: Steel Diver

Steel Diver has been kicking around at Nintendo for quite some time. The first time I played this game, it was a tech demo for the original DS at E3 back in 2004. It didn’t look quite as nice, and it wasn’t as refined, obviously, but the game was there in a very limited form. After the better part of a decade, Nintendo decided to dust the project off and give it a development team and a slot in the Nintendo 3DS launch lineup.

Much like Yoshi Touch & Go for the DS, Steel Diver feels sort of like an introductory title for the 3DS. The game ignores depth in favor of accessibility and simplicity, while attempting to provide some quick thrills that revolves around gameplay that begs for mastery. The missions in the game are fairly simple: get from point A to point B as quickly as possibly and either avoid or take out as many enemies as possible as you go. You’re scored based on how quickly you can pass the mission, how little damage you can take, and how much damage you deal out along the way. Until you really know the levels well, you’ll often have to choose between speed and battle efficiency.

Mixed in with the missions, and also available as its own mode, you engage in periscope battles. This mode uses the  gyroscope in the 3DS and you hold the handheld out in front of you, and rotate around to locate ships on the horizon. The goal is obviously to take down the destroyers quickly and before they can sink you. It’s neat, it’s novel, but it does limit where you can play the game. Trying to take down ships with the periscope is near impossible on an airplane or bus.

The level design is pretty good. Steel Diver does a good job throwing tight passages, mines, enemy destroyers and subs, and obstacles at you while you’re trying to hurry through the stages. It takes lots of tweaking of the knobs and dials on the touch screen to keep your sub going in the direction you want and firing at the right angles during combat. Again, like Yoshi Touch & Go, the real challenge is replaying missions to improve upon scores.

A mode not often talked about is the Steel Commander mode, where you play a tactical game with destroyers and subs. Moving around on a grid, you need to position yourself to be able to destroy your enemy’s supply ships while protecting your own. You can attack and hide at different depths, making for a fun cat and mouse type of experience. With different maps to play on, this mode is seriously a great time sink if you have a friend with their own 3DS to play against.

The visuals and sounds found in Steel Diver are fairly basic, especially when compared to other 3DS games, but they look nice and sound clean overall. The 3D effect is layered well it provides one of the more comfortable launch games to play with the 3D effect cranked up to full. It would have been nice to see just a few more passes of graphical polish or some additional effects added in, especially given that there’s not really a ton going on at any given time on the screen.

Steel Diver is going to be a divisive title. If you don’t mind replaying the same missions for better scores, and if you have a friend that will play the Steel Commander mode with you, Steel Diver is an appealing title. For the types of people that generally pass a mission, move on, and don’t care to chase high scores, Steel Diver will provide a pretty short experience and will probably seem fairly shallow. I fall in with the former group, but unfortunately many might fall into the latter. I’d still recommend the game, but with some reservations due to its length and simplicity.

Overall Score: 3 out of 5


Review: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

When the 3DS was first picking up steam based on the strength of the first batch of games announced for it, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition (SSFIV 3D) was one of those title that really got me most excited. As the release date for the 3DS neared, I kept my eye on SSFIV 3D and quietly hoped that it would be as good as it looked like it was shaping up to be. After many hours making my way through the various modes of the game, I can safely say that Super Street Fighter IV: 3d Edition is definitely living up to the hype.

While Capcom crammed enough modes into the game to make use of pretty much every feature the 3DS hardware offers (aside from the cameras), the real core of the game plays out in the Arcade and Versus modes. Playing through the Arcade mode has you fighting your way through the single player experience as you work up to a final match with the game’s final boss. The game’s story mode plays out differently for each character and certain unlocks are tied to completing Arcade mode with different characters, so there’s lots of good reasons to come back and play through the mode multiple times.

Super Street Fighter 4 3DS

With the Versus mode you can play either locally or online. Online play works quite well and it actually has provided a smoother experience than I’ve had with my Xbox 360. Pretty impressive for a handheld, especially for the game’s first online-enabled game. Getting into fights online is a quick enough process and after each match you can choose to rematch your opponent or head off to find someone else to spar with. SSFIV 3D doesn’t sport the most robust of feature sets for online play, but it’s simple and easy to use, which is perfect for the handheld experience. This mode will keep the game relevant for years to come.

Other modes in the game include Training and Mission modes where you can learn to become a better player and how to better master each character. There’s also support for the 3DS Street Pass functionality where your team of assembled fighters will do battle with the team of anybody you cross paths with while your 3DS is in sleep mode. Again, it’s a simple thing, but it encourages you to keep mindful of the game and it adds value to an already great package.

Coming from consoles to the handheld environment, the game wasn’t scaled back too much. Some background animations and details were pared down, as well as some of the overall polygon counts on the fighters, but it’s still a beautiful game. The controls are obviously a little more compact, but the 3DS is comfortable to use even for longer play sessions.

Super Street Fighter 4 3DS

As cliche as it sounds to say, fighting genre fans are really going to want to pick this one up along with their 3DS purchase. While it is a version of a game that’s been out for a while, the game really doesn’t lose much in the translation from console to handheld. Unless you own an arcade stick, the 3DS button layout really isn’t even much of a compromise in regards to controls.

When it comes down to it, there’s not much to nitpick about with SSFIV 3D. It’s easily the best handheld Street Fighter title out there, and quite possibly the best handheld fighting game I’ve ever seen. For me, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is not only the best game available in the 3DS launch lineup, it’s one of the better games released in 2011 so far. I recommend this game without reservation.

Overall Score: 5 out 5


Greetings, Gamer Theory!

Hello everyone!

My name is Zach and I have been selected to be a writer for Gamer Theory (which I have been told isn’t too far away from launching!).

This is an exciting new venture for me so I hope you guys can bear through any potential growing pains as I become adjusted. There are fun, new things in store for Gamer Theory, so I hope you’re looking forward to its launch as much as we are.

Personally, I’m hoping to bring my own personality to the table to help create a great atmosphere for video game fans and deliver various news, reviews, and features that will be interesting enough to make Gamer Theory a stop in your daily Internet commute.

Here’s to what’s to come!

Even More Gamer Tattoos That You Never Asked to See

We had some fun looking at some gamer tattoos a while back and the post ended up being the top commented post of any other on the blog. I figured it might be time to take a look at a few more gamer tattoos, including some that are cringe worthy beyond compare. And just to be clear once more, all my comments here are in good fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, ok? So, let’s see what we have.

Between the gauged ear and the ridiculous hair you wouldn’t think that a tattoo could make things much worse, but holy Capcom, this pair of tattoos lowers the bar to new lows. With the binary code on the back of his head and Ryu’s fireball firmly within his hairline, he can fortunately cover this up by letting his hair grow out. But hey, with such awesome tats, why would you, right?

What is wrong with Sonic’s hands and feet?! His fingers look more tangled than a politician’s lies. The white from his eyes is bleeding onto his face, and he’s just looking a little distorted from top to bottom. Sonic’s strength has always been speed, so I’m guessing this tattoo was laid down rather quickly.

There’s no way she’ll ever regret this decision. Nintendo Zappers with crooked barrels, some mushrooms, stars, and a Pac-Man cherry just for good measure. It’s like a buffet of bad decisions. At least we know she won’t be one of those gross 60 year old ladies trying to rock the bikini, shame will dictate that.

Guitar Hero will always be popular and cool, right?

Tattoo Artist: Now let me just double check, you said you wanted half of the controller on each hand?

Tattoo Dude: Yeah, man. I often walk around with my hands like this because I have to beg for food since I’m not smart enough to hold a job. Seeing this will remind me of how awesome the PS3 is.

Not all of these look terrible. I just have to wonder how long she’s going to love Kirby. Many tattoos are done under the folly of shortsightedness, but Kirby seems like one of those things that you’ll stop having a deep love for as you age. The artist did do a pretty good job, however.

Most parents despise their kids playing video games. I really hope that this girl’s mom had a love for the SNES, or that’s just disrespect for the deceased right there. It’s kind of like if you put the date your dad died on your arm along with an image of you leaving the lights on and the water running in the sink.

I’m guessing she’ll be happy this is on her back so that she doesn’t have to see it every time she’s getting undressed. This is a prime example of why you don’t let your 4 year old nephew draw up your tattoo for you.

I can’t imagine how much easier it is to get a job when you walk in, sit down, and answer questions from your potential employer while you both try to act like that huge facial tattoo isn’t there.

Some people put the name of their wife or girlfriend on their arm. This dude put his gamertag there. I think that says more about him than I ever could.

I’m actually really sorry for this. I’m kind of left speechless on this one.

Another two that actually look pretty good, but I question their size and whether or not these girls really want to have these there permanently. They do look like well done tattoos, however.

Pretty dumb, man. Pretty dumb. Of course, if you’re such an elite hacker, I’m sure you can get this post taken down.

The fad of making tattoos look like skin peels is getting played out, so why not combine it with what’s probably the most overused gaming tattoo image? Sweet, man.

I have more that have been sent in, and more that I found myself doing a quick check around, but I’ll need to stop here for now. After a while you just start feeling a bit depressed by the poor decisions that other gamers are making. With that said, I’m sure I’ll be coming out with a third of these posts soon. If you want to see the first gamer tattoo post, check it out here: http://stupidgamer.com/2008/03/31/because-nobody-asked-for-itbad-gamer-tattoos/

Hacker takes control of Stepto’s Live account, posts video

For those that aren’t familiar with Stepto, he’s head of the Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement Team. Basically his team is responsible for banning cheaters, hackers, or suspicious accounts. The hacker, known as PredatorSik, recorded himself toying around with Stepto’s account after he was able to gain access. PredatorSik then threw the video up on YouTube and sort of nerded out and cussed his way through a string of words of disbelief. We’ll see if the video remains up on YouTube, as I’m sure this kid will be running from Microsoft’s lawyers in the coming days. Check out the video.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ryfZv_qq7Uk

BeadShot turns screenshots into bead art

An artist and avid gamer is creating some pretty cool art in a medium we rarely see: beads. At BeadShot.com you can see some examples of the artist’s work, where he’s taken popular characters from video games and movies and has recreated their likeness and poses with beads. Once the beads are arranged and the work is complete, the beads are melted together to create a single piece. You can even see a full recreation of the first level of Donkey Kong hanging on what appears to be the artist’s wall. Overall the outcome is quite cool and worth hitting the link to check out his work.

Link: www.beadshot.com

Join our Facebook Page and Win Free Games!

We often give away games and prizes on our podcast and forums, but we’ve started giving out stuff on our Facebook page as well. So why do we do this? Well, we appreciate the support you guys give us by listening to our show, posting in our forums, reading the blog, and most of all, clicking on our ads. We don’t keep our ad money, it’s usually used to fund these contests, pay for our hosting, or buy equipment for our shows and video productions.

Right now we have a contest going on to win a free copy of Super Mario All Stars for the Wii. All you need to do is post which is your favorite Mario game and you’re entered. The contest closes on Sunday, March 27, and our winner will be notified on Monday. Soon after we’ll have a contest for Alan Wake, and all you need to do to be entered into that one is just like our Facebook page.

Also, keep an eye on the forums for more contests and listen to the podcast. Below are some helpful links to get into the contests.

Best Game Ever: Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

The Force is strong with this one.

There used to be a time when having a PC for games meant that you played with more than just a mouse/keyboard or joystick. Back in the ’90s, it was almost a necessity to own some sort of flight stick. While it didn’t require a flight stick, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was easily the best reason to own one. I personally had the Flightstick Pro, and I probably logged enough hours on TIE Fighter to become a certified pilot.

Released in the summer of 1994, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was the much anticipated sequel to Star Wars: X-Wing. Bringing to the table a better flight engine, improved graphics, and better effects, TIE Fighter provided the ultimate flight combat experience in its time. The missions were laid out with both primary and secondary objectives, the story was interesting, and the game really forced you to use strategy and well timed attack runs in order to be successful.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter and its expansion Defender of the Empire are easily one of the best PC gaming experiences ever created. For all the Star Wars games that have been released, none have done so great of a job of bringing such a strong sense of immersion. If you’ve never played TIE Fighter and you can drum up the means to do so, definitely get right on it ASAP. Also make sure to check out Star Wars: X-Wing (and its expansions) and X-Wing vs TIE Fighter as well.

For these reasons and more not stated, Star Wars: TIE Fighter is the best game ever.