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WipEout HD Review (Updated)

Every now and then a sequel like WipEOut comes along forcing its way through the demonic denizes of gamedom to shine far above the idea of an upgrade. WipEout HD, if anything, is an upgrade and a damn good one. 

Whether it was the first incarnation of the series, the PS version, or the newer PSP versions, everyone has a soft spot for this title.  In my eyes, HD takes the best of Pure and Pulse, and amps up everything (minus a few tracks here and there).

Visually this game speaks for itself.  Only one other title comes close to the level of presentation on the PS3. That title is Ridge Racer.  The title employs an interesting technique called Frame rate Buffering to handle those intense fire fights that occur these days in the series.  Colors are lively, strong, punchy, and always crisp and clear. So what? This technique makes it possible for the game to run at 1080p 60 frames per second … all the time off-line and online.

This makes work put in by artist like Rita Linsley shine even more. She was responsible for putting together the most amazing race stages ever seen by these eyes.  Her approach to the Zone Mode races cannot be appreciated in any image posted on the internet.  Nicely done.

The UI in WipeOut has always been clean, and carried that uber techno feel that no other title can do well.  One complaint I have about the interface is that it’s hard to read at first; especially when you go online for the first time. Several times I created my Phantom class room and even though the UI tells you the class, stage, and details for the room, it seems to be down right hard to read (especially for New Comers).  People kept coming into my room and promptly left after they experienced the amazing speed of Phantom on Sol 2. HUD wise, the new version is not bad but for those of us were picky about that during the demo version, SCEE went in an added some of the classic HUDs from previous series.

The default soundtrack for the title is made up of a select few of those titles that appeared in the Pure and Pulse series.  Fans knew ahead of time what was going to happen; there favorite tracks would probably be left out and in some cases weren’t included to begin with.  Who’s to blame you if you think that Young Jezzy should be played with WipEout; heck I run Elephant Man, Capleton, Thievery Corporation, and several others with mines.  The ability to select your own music is a thing that all games should have.  Gamers enjoy the effort that music directors put into game OSTs but sometimes a complete track list customized by yours truly fits the bill even better.

In addition to the music, all the weapons, clicks, beeps, weeps, and meeps are timed great. I’ll never get tired of hearing Caroline Bersteins’ or Nicholas Jones voices.  That little reminder of a perfect lap, or the “gold medal awarded” announcement never gets old.  These two should be made the defactor voiceover team for the series. 

If there was one thing I was concerned about was the online component.  With the past announcement that only 8 players would make it for online bouts, you couldn’t help but wonder if the lag whore would show her ugly face. Fear not, the game runs just as smooth online as it does off.  However, a few users here and there with exceedingly large friends lists (over 100) seem to be experiencing crashes during online play.  No word on the friends list being the direct cause of the problem though.  Since day one, I have not experienced any problems. 

Some gamers are torn between getting this title and Burnout Paradise.  My opinion, get both.  Both of these titles are very good at what they do. The only thing that is missing from WipEout at this time is Downloadable Content; a staple of the PSP series given to gamers for FREE.  However, at the rate at which this title is selling on PSN, I’m sure Buckley and crew would visit the scene a few more times for a price. Additions like the camera mode are great and the $19.99 price tag almost seem unfair … to SCEE.

Guinness World Records The Videogame Video Preview

We all know the book and now we’ll get to know the videogame! I had a chance to check out Guinness World Records The Videogame at a recent showing in New York. Needless to say, the game is a compilation of mini-games (which the Wii is now famous for), but this time around the games are actually good and fun. Guinness, as one would expect, uses the Wii-mote and nunchuck in a variety of different ways to try and replicate as close as possible some of the actions used to set the world records all of the min-games are based off of. The presentation of the game shows a lot of polish and one of the huge selling points I think people will dig is the online ranking for all the games. What’s actually pretty cool is the fact that at the end of the year, if you hold the top record in the game, you will be entered in the Guinness Book of Records. That’s a hell of a way to be forever immortalized in print! Check out the video for a look at would could possibly give Carnival Games a run for it’s money as the best selling mini-game collection on Wii.

Neverland Card Battles Preview: It Doesn’t Get Much Nerdier Than This

I never thought I would enjoy “Bejewelled,” ever, under any circumstances… but then “Puzzle Quest” came along. I never thought I would enjoy a trading card game, and then “Neverland Card Battles” for the PSP came along. Blending familiar elements of trading card based games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic the Gathering with traditional RPG elements seems like an unholy union of nerdiness, but it’s actually a fun, well put together combination of two unlikely bedfellows. “NeverLand” is presented in a manner that isn’t overly complicated, where it borrows from both of the contributing genres just enough to feel familiar to fans of both, while presenting a fresh, new layer of gameplay to newcomers. And, best of all, the game allows you to play a traditionally multiplayer card based battle game solo, which offers a whole new level of appeal to someone, like myself, who wouldn’t dear openly admit that he was that nerdy to another human being.

“Neverland Card Battles” is an import-port of a Japanese-only title that was released back in 2003 for the PS2 called “Cardinal Arc.” You play as Galahad, and you have been summoned by the tomb keeper, Egma, to help save the world from the evil god Hellgaia who is trying to break out of his tomb and wreak havoc on Neverland. The reason you, and a handful of other characters – The Dominators – have been summoned is because you posses a mystical deck of Spectral Cards that were given to you by your Uncle, and they will allow you to do battle with Hellgaia’s minions.

I warned you it was going to be nerdy. [Continue Reading]

Preview: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia – Going After Dracula, Again

I was surprised to hear that people were calling “Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia” “the best Castlevania game since ‘Symphony of the Night.’” It’s not because “Ecclesia” is a bad game, but because it is the biggest departure from the traditions of the Castlevania series since, well… “Castlevania Judgment.” While “Order of Ecclesia” has the makings of a great game, it seems odd to have it bear the name “Castlevania” because it is so different than previous games, and that includes the 2D games that it most closely resembles. Again, what I played of the game wasn’t bad by any means… just different.

First of all, the game stars a female protagonist. While I’m all for empowering the ladies of video games, the lead character’s first name is Shoanoa, and her last name isn’t Belmont. This is not the first time that a Castlevania title hasn’t stared a someone from the Belmont lineage, but coupled with the fact that the series so rarely even has a women in the game, it feels like a bit of a stretch. I repeat, I’m not against a women staring in a game, it just feels a little off for a Castlevania title. [Continue Reading]

First 9 Minutes Of Disaster: Day Of Crisis…*UPDATE*

Just like the title said, here is the first 9 minutes of the game which was recently released in Japan this month. Enjoy! And if you want to know more about the game, check out our previous story.

Flood gameplay footage:

Who Knew…The Frag Dolls Can Dance!

Ahhhh…. the Frag Dolls. Admit it guys, you know you like them. Now representing Ubisoft, the Frag Dolls were on hand to demonstrate some moves to all us rhythm less gamers out there for the upcoming third entry in the Raving Rabbids franchise. Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party marks the return of those twisted yet lovable Rabbids who seem to have a knack for self inducing pain and a hatred towards Rayman himself. Aside from the them Rabbids being sick in the head, the game this time makes use of the Wii balance for a set of mini-games as well as full use of both the wii-mote and nunchuck for some highly involved dance moves more so than the previous games. The video shows such dance moves as so demonstrated by the Dolls themselves. It looks fun for sure and even better with the Dolls playing. Just crank your speakers up and peep the video and see if you can keep up with the rhythm. Hey Frag Dolls, do ya’ll offer private dance lessons?

Preview: Whipping Some Ass With Castlevania Judgment


It was funny hearing that “Castlevania: Judgment” shouldn’t be called a “fighting” game, even though it could very easily pass for one. In case you’re looking to categorically correct, Koji Igarashi, and the team at Konami are calling “Judgment” a “3D versus action game” and so should you. In their defense, it isn’t your typical fighter, but not calling it a fighter is like saying sky blue isn’t really a shade of blue. Attempting to call it anything other than what it is might take away from the the overall goal in the newest “Castlevania” which is, like all other fighting games, to beat the snot out of your opponent.

At a recent demo, I was told by one of Konami’s product managers that the upcoming title for the Wii was created to be a pick-up-and-play, multiplayer game. In other words, the controls are supposed to be easy to learn (which they are) but not very precise (and they are not), in hopes that this re-imagining of the classic franchise might appeal to the Wii’s broader audience. So much so that, one of the goals of “Judgment” was to take advantage of the Wii’s motion controls, but within reason, and not force players to over exert themselves.

“Castlevania: Judgment” doesn’t appear to be anything but a fighting game from the outset, partially because it’s hard to shake that label when you have two characters beating each other up under the confines of their enviornment and the match’s time limit. However, both of those confines are what really help define this new game in their own unique way. [Continue Reading]

Metal Gear Solid + The Day After Tomorrow= Disaster: Day Of Crisis

Trailer:

Gameplay Overview:

Ever since Nintendo bought up developers Monolith Studio(of Xenosaga fame), they have been all too quiet in the lab. Well now their latest project will be hitting the Wii in Japan during the month of October. The story follows a former military ops specialist who is now a disater relief worker who is called back into active duty after a terrorist group known as “Storm” steals a nuclear warhead and kidnaps a woman who looks very important. Disaster: Day Of Crisis looks to combine elements from all types of genres into one game. From the trailer you can see driving, shooting and rescuing type elements in the gameplay. This all new territory for Monolith for sure as their background is mostly in the rpg department. But I am pretty confident they’ll come through with a solid experience especially in the story and characters as Xenosaga had a pretty deep plot and twist to it’s characters. People complain of not having enough “mature” titles on the Wii so hopefully this will fill that genre for you when the game drops in November in the U.S. In the meantime, peep the trailer at what looks to be a Metal Gear Solid with a mix of the movie The Day After Tomorrow!


Nintendo of Europe official game description:

Taking on the bad guys is one thing, but facing off against the full force of nature is a whole new kind of challenge. In Disaster: Day of Crisis for Wii you’ll have to tackle both as you guide former U.S. Marine Raymond Bryce through an action-packed mission where everything that can go wrong, does.

Disaster: Day of Crisis will have you driving, swimming, running and shooting your way through 23 tense stages as the environment around you is laid to ruin by volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tsunamis. And if nature wasn’t a force enough to be reckoned with, there’s a shadowy terrorist cell, named SURGE, that must be stopped at all costs.

With a military background and experience in the International Rescue Team, Ray is as well equipped as any man can be for the drama that awaits him. It’ll be up to you to guide him through the worst day of his life. You’ll use the unique capabilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to evade the forces of nature, disarm bombs and much more.

As you go, you’ll have to keep an eye on Ray’s health status – finding clear air to breathe if his lungs fill up with smoke or food to replenish his falling stamina. You’ll also need to perform daring rescue operations to save citizens who might be trapped under rubble or in danger of drowning and even administer life-saving first aid.

With intense cinematics, a raft of unlockable content and relentless action, Disaster: Day of Crisis guarantees thrills and spills that would leave the bravest of action heroes quaking in their boots.

* Guide former marine Ray as he tackles the terrorist cell SURGE and battles against the forces of nature.
* Use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in a diverse range of ways to overcome your environment, rescue citizens and take out your enemies.
* Enjoy the movie-like storyline that unfolds.

Must See! New 007 Movie Trailer, Quantum Of Solace

007 is back! In this new trailer for the upcoming Bond sequel, we’re once again reminded of how badass Daniel Craig is as the new younger 00 agent. I remember when he was first announced to replace the excellent bond Peirce Bronson, the internet fanboys were up in an uproar. But once Casino Royal was released and everyone saw it , the fans and others were blown away. I personally reserved judgment until seeing the finished flix and knew he would deliver and that he did. And with this latest bond flix it looks to be a repeat performance. And for the first time in bond films, this movie is a direct sequel to the previous bond film, Casino Royal. It literally takes place one hour after the events in the last film! November 14 can’t come fast enough. My ass is there day one on release! Check out the trailer below.
Unit out…

The Sky Crawlers New Trailers…

Those fine folks of the Project Aces team over at Namco looks to be bringing their Ace Combat goodness intact to the Wii. Based of the popular novels and recently released anime of the same name, Skycrawlers puts you in the cockpit of highly maneuverable fighter planes set in an alternate universe. You can read up on our previous story on the game, but in the meantime you can check out these two recently released trailers!

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