Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Slayers Review: Slaying the Hearts of Millions

March 10, 2009


D3Publisher is quickly becoming one of my favorite companies in the games industry. When they aren’t releasing original games, they’re reaching out to some of the more unique releases in Japan, and bringing them Stateside, including hidden gems like “Earth Defense Force 2017,” “WTF,” and “Bangai-O Spirits.” “Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Slayers” is the latest in their line of Japanese imports, and it is easily the most… interesting one yet, as it includes everything in its title; bikinis, samurais, and slayers – with a few added zombies mixed in. It’s almost a perfect mix of things that gamers love, but, like many a mixed drink, this game won’t be for everybody.

Much like one of my favorite titles of 2007, “Earth Defense Force,” you can’t really judge “Onechanbara” on the same scale that you would judge a “Killzone” or a “Resident Evil,” because it’s simply just not the same kind of game. Both of these titles from D3 venture into a realm of gaming that few have gone before, B Games. They’re a lot like B Movies, just games. While it may still take a sizable staff, and an artistic vision to create all games, B-Games’ end product is a whole lot different than your “average” AAA-quality games, but that’s okay, they aren’t meant to take themselves too seriously, and “serious” would be the last word I would use to describe “Onechanbara.” [Read more]

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand Review: G-Unit Tours The Middle East

March 5, 2009

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

Go Go Go Go Shawty…

Yeah it’s Fiddy. Here we have a game that by any shape or form sounds like it should be bad. A lot of people are expecting it to be bad based on 50’s first game, “Bulletproof.” But hey, for some reason that game sold millions, so, like any blockbuster, you know it would get a “sequel.” After getting a chance to sit down with the man himself in our exclusive preview, and getting some hands on time with the game TrueGameHeadz came away feeling good about the project.

The full retail version does not disappoint. I must say that Swordfish Studios did their homework for “Blood on the Sand.” Developers of the little known sleeper title “Cold Winter” from back in the day, they nailed the big budget “blockbuster” feel of this game. Borrowing generously from the ideals seen in last year’s Sega release, “The Club,” and “Gears of War,” they developed a control scheme for “Get Rich” …er “Blood in the Sand” that feels polished and familiar. You will not find any problems with the control setup as you’ll feel in control when using the game’s many weapons, and the cover system works admirably. The Counter Kill system can be considered comparable to the chain saw kill in “Gears” where you run up to the enemy and hit the attack button, which launches a quick time event that shows you how bad war can be. [Read more]

Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection Review: Still Doing What Nintendon’t

March 2, 2009

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

Nostalgia is a funny thing, especially when it comes to video games. Some gamers think that retro games are classics, and should be appreciated as such, and others think that the games of the past should be left in the past. Fortunately for both groups, every now and then a compilation of classic titles is released to remind both groups fondly of the old days. The most recent of these compilations is Sega’s “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection” which revitalizes such Genesis classics as “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Golden Axe,” and “Phantasy Star” games in addition to some 40 other games, and it does it with class.

Maybe you can blame it on the fact that I never had a Genesis when I was a kid (it was Nintendo all the way in my house), or the fact that I’m really bitter that my Sega CDX died over the weekend, but I never really thought that Sega’s games were on the same level as their competitors back in the day. There was something about the quality of games that were released for the Genesis that just never appealed to me. Sure, there were classics that I loved to play at my friend’s houses; the “Sonic” games, “X-Men,” and even “Holyfield’s Boxing” but beyond that I didn’t think I was really missing out on much. “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection” showed me that apparently I was wrong. Even though I still remain a true SNES fan at heart, the “Ulitmate Genesis” collection has finally convinced me that there are some great titles that I’ve missed out on; “Comix Zone,” “Ristar,” and “Streets of Rage” just to name a few, and maybe it’s about time I went back and did some deeper digging into Sega’s back catalog. [Read more]

X-Blades Review: A Slashing Good Time

February 26, 2009


The formula Gaijin used for the design of SouthPeak’s latest hack-n-slash game “X-Blades” is almost mathematical: take one pretty girl (preferably a treasure hunter), add swords and/or guns (both in this case), some kind of mystical power, and a whole lot of att-i-tude, subtract clothing and bam, you’ve got a game dudes will buy. Even though this formula is pretty tried and true at this point, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got a good game on your hands. The final sum of “X-Blades”’ equation is a game that might not appeal to everyone, but it’s still pretty fun for what it is.

Even though there is an “M for Mature” rating slapped on the front of the “X-Blades” box, the heroine’s barely covered bottom is going to alienate a few different groups that might have given the game a shot. First, the ladies; who may find the lead character Ayumi a little too sexy, and a little too perky for their tastes. Secondly, most self-respecting gentlemen may not be giving “X-Blades” a run, because they may find it to be a bit below them, in terms of intellectual stimulation, as well as overall entertainment value. Fortunately for “X-Blades” it’s a good thing that there aren’t a lot of gamers in either of those categories. Back in reality, there is one group of gamers that this game may turn off pretty quickly - the ones that don’t like anime. At its heart, “X-Blades”’s story is very inspired by anime, so, if you have any kind of aversion for Japanese cartoons this game might not be for you. However, anyone that’s looking to have a little bit of mindless fun slashing and shooting tons of baddies at once, just to finish them off with some kind of short cutscene prompted mystical spell, all while staring at a darling piece of eye-candy, then you might want to give “X-Blades” a chance. [Read more]

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Review: Expect More Than Traffic

January 20, 2009

Hollywood and 300

Needless to say, this review of “Midnight Club: Los Angeles” is long overdue; I have been writing it for a while, but a few issues had my opinion flip-flopping like politicians with pending indictments. So, finally, here are my complete and final thoughts on the game:

It’s roughly 10:30 P.M., and I’m driving around Los Angeles bumping The Game and feeling mighty nice. I need to make a right on Wilshire Blvd, so I get over in the far right lane. The moon is full and bright and I pass a few women who I assume are night club rejects; I prepare to brake and reach down for the turn signal and… After a couple of swipes at pure air, I get the hilariously shocking realization that I’m still just a North Carolina apartment dweller with a need for loud music, fast cars, and video games. Since my Suzuki isn’t getting me anywhere too swiftly and most of the other games in my collection don’t mesh too well with Hip-Hop, I’ve been spending a lot of time with “Midnight Club: Los Angeles.”

Needless to say, I am a big fan of driving games; I feel like I have a connection with them that I don’t have with many other games. It’s probably because I spend much more time driving in real life than I do sword fighting, casting flame spells, and popping off AK-47s. Even with that in mind, I still feel like this is a game for almost everyone over 13 years of age (Midnight Club: Los Angeles is rated Teen by the ESRB). [Read more]

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Review: Like Build-A-Bear, But Better

January 6, 2009

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

There were a number of reasons that I didn’t expect “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” to be pretty much the only Xbox 360 game I’ve played in the last month or so. Based on previews of the game, and the fact that my Xbox red-ringed the day I received the game, I had little to no intentions of playing the game outside of the average time I planned on spending with the game to write this review. Boy, was I wrong. “Banjo” just kept sucking me back in. Sure, it may have had something to do with my achievement addiction that I though I had under control (wrong about that too), but it’s one of those games that consumes you, and keeps you playing just a little bit longer… and then it’s 3 A.M. “Banjo” caught me off-guard, and kept me playing on, and on, and on. The last time that this exact same thing happened was with “Viva Pinata.” Damn you Rare.

I need to be completely honest to convey a good review to you my reader friends, and I have a confession – “Nuts & Bolts” is the first “Banjo-Kazooie” game I’ve ever played. Yes, that’s right, for various reasons I missed the N64 and various portable iterations of this little bears quest to take down that evil witch Gruntilda. I’ve missed out, I know, so I can neither confirm nor deny if “Nuts & Bolts” is on the same level of addictiveness as the previous titles – I can only speak from my experience, and it’s pretty addictive. I can neither confirm nor deny if “Nuts & Bolts” is even anything like the previous titles, and while I have a hunch that at least some of it is, I can only say that is incredibly unique, and one of the most satisfying games I’ve played all year. [Read more]

Left 4 Dead Review: Check your Fire!

November 24, 2008

Valve has done it again. “Left 4 Dead” for the XBOX360 and PC brings multiplayer gamers together in, what can only be deemed the best zombie-film-to-game adaptations ever. But wait… it’s not a film, but the chapters are films? … I’m confused!

“Left 4 Dead” wisely chose to go with the “Unbelievably Fast Swarming Infected” zombies of movies like 28 Days and 28 Weeks Later, instead of the plodding, slow-footed zombies of the Night of the Living Dead fame. I believe this is hinted at in the game, as the enemies are referred to as “infected,” rather than zombies. That’s where Valve added the challenge into the game, since it would have been much too easy to beat if you had four human controlled characters up against a mob of the slow moving undead, ala “Dead Rising.” [Read more]

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe Review: Bloody Fun

November 18, 2008

At first glance, “Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe” seems like it should have come out around 1998, to go head-to-head with the wildly popular “Marvel vs. Capcom” series, but, for whatever reason, it didn’t. Fast forward to today, and, through some wild twist of fate, or, possibly the will of the Elder Gods, 10 years after the game should have been released, gamers finally have the chance to kick Scorpion’s ass with Batman. On the plus side, waiting may have paid off; after a string of less-than-awesome “MK” games “MK vs. DC” may put the franchise back on track.

“Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe” isn’t the best “MK” game ever released (that honor goes to “Mortal Kombat 2”), but there are some redeeming factors that might make fans that soured on the series years ago think twice about this iteration. A good deal of the game has been revamped, since “Armageddon” was released, taking full advantage of this generation of consoles. The controls, gameplay, graphics, and characters were all treated to a much-needed upgrade, and the improvements show over the course of the game. [Read more]

Fallout 3 Review: Boom Goes The Nuclear Blast

November 13, 2008

“Oblivion” with guns; those three words have been repeated across the vast ocean of the internet ever since Bethesda announced “Fallout 3.” After beating the game, and working through my second play through, I am going to have to agree with those three words. The quick traveling, interface, and even the way you sleep are all elements borrowed from “Oblivion.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the game is bad; on its’ own, it’s jammed with content that places heavy emphasis on exploration and morale decisions. It’s just too bad that while the ideas of “Fallout 3” sound good on paper, a lot of it falls apart in the end due to bugs, and shoddy execution.

“Fallout 3” starts out with your 21-year-old character on the verge of escaping Vault 101, where he has lived for his entire life. He was born and raised in Vault 101, got his Pip-Boy at age 10, took his G.O.A.T test at age 18, and, at age 21, his old man escapes the Vault. The Overseer (the guy who runs this particular Vault) gets pissed off, and begins searching for you. Don’t worry though; his daughter wakes you up in your room to and informs you of the ordeal. After nabbing a pistol, some medical supplies, and a baseball bat, you’re on your merry way to follow in your Papa’s footsteps and escape the Vault - by beating up some highly trained security officers, as a level 1 character. [Read more]

Gears of War 2 Review: Well Whaddaya Know?

November 12, 2008

It’s that time of year again. Gamers are among a slew of high quality games as the holiday season approaches.  We’re infected with sequelitis around this time of the year; which is no different than last year, and the game at the top of most 360 owners must play list is the sequel to 2006’s epic release, “Gears of War 2.” The first “Gears” game really put the Xbox 360 on the map, and cemented its reputation as the console of choice for action/shooter games, but can the sequel follow it up with the same intensity?

“Gears of War 2″ brings us right back into the thick of things with Marcus Fenix and his trusted partner Dom. We quickly find out that the events from the first game hadn’t turned out quite like the humans had hoped, and they are now forced into a corner by the ever ferocious locusts. Humanity must now go on the offensive, if they don’t want to end up extinct. [Read more]

Tom Clancy’s EndWar Review: Voices Of The Battlefield

November 4, 2008

Once in a while, a game comes along that changes people minds’ about an entire genre of gaming, and, when that happens, it really speaks to the quality of the game. Few titles in the past have been so expertly crafted, with such a broad appeal, that they have actually convinced gamers to make the jump into unknown territory. In recent memory; “Advance Wars” showed gamers that turn-based strategy games were as addictive as they were complex, and “Guitar Hero” proved that rhythm games can be more than just dancing on a mat. Over the last few years, these games have not only defined their respective genres, but they’ve refined gaming as a whole. There’s now another title worthy of adding to that list, “Tom Clancy’s EndWar.”

“EndWar” takes the normally very complex, very niche genre of real-time strategy games and actually makes it accessible for your standard gamer – make that standard console games. Fortunately, Ubisoft Shanghai’s definition of accessible doesn’t mean dumbing the game down, or making it easier just to sell more copies. Their way of making the game accessible actually makes the concept, gameplay, and controls of the game less intimidating, while still retaining the crux of the RTS experience. In other words, “EndWar”’s appeal is unique enough that it should cross the line and appeal to gamers that have never before tried an RTS game, as well as longtime fans of the genre.

[Read more]

Dead Space Review: The Final Frontier

November 3, 2008

What’s going on peoples? DaveDaGamer here giving you a little dirt on “Dead Space.”

First and foremost I want to say, EA glad you are back, we’ve dearly missed you. You may or not know this, but back in the last gen, EA put out an impressive list of quality titles that had graphics and ambiance that were far above and beyond what other studios offered. I’m not talking about the EA Sports brand either, there have been such gems as “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potters,” some of the “James Bond” games, “Medal of Honor,” et al.

But along the way they began to buy out a lot of smaller developers and started putting out crap. (”Catwoman” need I say more?) Fortunately, it looks like they might have gotten their act together with “Dead Space.” [Read more]

Saints Row 2 Review: Headin’ Back To The ‘Hood

October 29, 2008

“Saints Row 2.” The very words will automatically make the inevitable comparison to the sandbox genre’s father, “Grand Theft Auto.” It’s not really a surprise though, as both games deal with the criminal lifestyle, offer a wide variety of activities in a metropolitan environment, and involve hijacking vehicles.

Fortunately, the comparisons end there. “Grand Theft Auto 4” showed the world that Rockstar wants a Hollywood contract, whereas “Saints Row 2” shoved players down into an alternative universe filled with shit spraying trucks, chainsaw wielding cop impersonators, and purple ninjas. So how does this game pan out with all the lowbrow humor and novelty? Surprisingly enough, it’s still a good game beneath all the glitter.

The storyline starts off several years after the events of the first “Saints Row.” You were involved in a Yacht explosion in a political assassination attempt. But since you are equipped with plot armor, you survive the ordeal, and are in major surgery inside a prison. Your character in the first “Saints Row” was forced to be a guy, but you’re allowed to pick your gender in the sequel. After picking a gender, you’re off to get yourself out of prison and rebuild your gang to take over Stillwater while facing off against three other gangs. [Read more]

Rock Band 2 Review: Keep On A Rockin’

October 23, 2008

“Rock Band” may have not been the most innovative rhythm game on the market, since it basically was just a combination of three other games, but, the end product was truly something special. Once the game was released, one of the questions that was on a lot of gamers’ minds was whether or not there was going to be a sequel, since the game was described as a “platform.” Well, with the release of “Rock Band 2” there’s little doubt about how the series will be continuing on, but a very different question remains - is “RB2” a worthy successor, or will we be rocking out to a sophomore slump?

A quick look at “Rock Band 2” will reveal that not a whole lot has changed. The basic gameplay, graphics, and music styles, are all pretty much the same. However, when you dig a little deeper, you see that there are a lot of changes that needed to happen, as well as, and more importantly, changes that fans wanted to see happen. Fortunately, the team up at Harmonix listened very closely to their audience (they had to after all that loud music and little ear protection) and put the polish on “Rock Band 2″ that it deserved. [Read more]

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