Hey guys it’s Sam, and welcome to the this long-overdue game review! You like my new layout? Of course you do, cuz if not I’ll have to suspend your subscription.
Sega is mainly famous for one series and one series only–Sonic the Hedgehog. Becoming the breakout series that popularized the Sega Genesis, Sonic’s fame on the Genesis in 1991 quickly propelled him into such fame that Sega humbly honored him as the company mascot. Over 20 years later, Sonic’s gotten his gloved hands on countless consoles, but recently he’s been struck with a curse. And any gamer that’s played any Sonic game from Sonic 2006 to now would easily see that curse. Y’see, when Sonic 2006 came out it was universally panned by critics. When Sonic Unleashed came out two years later, it received an average outlook with most critics siding against one another. The 2-part Sonic 4 series received equally mixed says from critics, but Sonic Colors seemed to very gradually balance the scales a bit more. And that, folks, is what lead us all the way up to this point in the curse. Can this game be enough to break Sonic’s curse, or will his future crumble faster than he can run?
As Sonic’s thirteenth console game (and his fifth within his curse), Sonic Generations had big shoes to fill. Not only did it have to balance the curse, it had to also stand out as an actually good game. And there’s one reason how Generations could just pull it off–it’s a game partially created to celebrate the Blue Blur’s twentieth anniver–sorry, “birthday”. And Sega’s decided to make that official by having Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, and more of Sonic’s comrades throw him a surprise birthday party complete with a cake decorated with Sonic’s trademark insignia. Needless to say, Sonic is touched and humbled by his friends’ work, but before he can celebrate with his buddies the party is crashed by the mysterious Time Eater. Not only does it butt in on the celebration, but it vacuums everyone of Sonic’s friends throw different “time holes” to scatter them through different time periods in Sonic history.
After getting knocked out cold by the Eater, Sonic awakens in the strange “White Space” dimension where colorless and lifeless time and space winds up. Sonic manages to rescue his closest ally Tails and as they journey to save the rest of their friends they suddenly discover the younger Genesis-era versions of themselves, known respectively as “Classic Sonic” and “Classic Tails”. As the two generations of Tails come to one term that the Time Eater is using his actions to hurt time and space itself, both generations of Sonic race through time to discover and save their friends. The game’s 20-year time cycle is split into three eras: the Classic era (Sonic, Sonic 2, Sonic & Knuckles), the Dreamcast era (Sonic Adventure 1-3), and the Modern era (Sonic Heroes, Sonic Colors, Sonic 2006). Classic Sonic plays his game in a 2D side-scroller perspective, but his Modern equivalent prefers a 3D Unleashed-like perspective with more space.
PRESENTATION: Now, Sonic Generations is indeed one of the most innovative and unique platformers I’ve played since New Super Mario Bros Wii–but that doesn’t make it the best. Sure, the game had lots of impressive virtues–its visual perspective between Classic and Modern Sonic was a piece of stellar eye candy, classic levels like Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant felt rejuvenated and redone, the soundtrack felt joyfully nostalgic, and it served as a great homage towards old-school Sonic gamers as well as a fresh and new installment for new-school Sonic gamers. Now, there were however lots of problems with the game that keep it just inches away from perfection. Modern Sonic’s gameplay was almost the selfsame of the good levels in Unleashed, and often the same Sonic’s 3D perspective would randomly change to 2D for no reason. The abstract, vibrant, and rather psychedelic feel of the game’s vibes felt unfamiliar and rather uncalled for. To add on, beating bosses weren’t very exhilarating and were rather monotonous experiences in my book, and several challenges aren’t even fun. Especially that one where Knuckles digs for coins. Off by a centimeter, and you get nothing. (8.5/10)
VISUALS: Sonic’s classic era is brought back into motion with picturesque visuals that capture the essence of old-school levels in both Classic perspective and Modern perspective. However, frame rate issues sometimes pop up unexpectedly–maybe the skill shop might freeze or whatnot–and the game’s abstract interface is disquieting and perturbing. (9/10)
SOUND: The game’s score is a three-disc romp of nostalgic remixes, and there’s great voice acting and spot-on sound effects. (10/10)
GAMEPLAY: Two Sonics are definitely better than one, which provides two equally immersive sides of Generations to dive into. The different perspectives totally shake up the playing field and make the game more interesting to play in. However, Modern Sonic gameplay is ripped straight from Unleashed, and perspectives often changed without warning. The arcade challenges are good ways to blow off steam, but can get really boring after a while. Especially that one where Knuckles digs for coins. Off by a centimeter and you get nothing. Also, the first boss fight I ever played–which was obviously against the Death Egg–felt generic and repetitive, and soon I was becoming bored and didn’t really care whether or not I won the fight. (8.5/10)
EXTRAS: When you aren’t playing levels or fighting bosses, you can unwind with arcade challenges or check out the Skill Shop. The shop is run by Omochao from Sonic Adventure, and it’s where you can purchase perks like extra lives and start boosts using points you receive after each level. It was a very helpful feat within the game, but felt rather awkward when you could suddenly unleash your goods on a level. Luckily, the game allows you to purchase the Genesis (and controller) so you can play the original Sonic! (8/10)
LASTING APPEAL: In the end, Sonic Generations is a blast in terms of visuals, gameplay, and potential, bringing back nostalgic memories with small but noticeable holes in them. This should be a great experience for Sonic diehards and newcomers alike. I think the Sonic curse has finally been broken, cuz this is the best game for the Blue Blur in a long time. (8.5/10)
FINAL SCORE: I give Sonic Generations 8 1/2 Classic Sonics out of 10, as well as my Sammwak Editor’s Choice Award. Since 8.5 divided by 10 is 85%, I also give Sonic Generations a B.
Well, that’s all for this week! Have a swagnificent summer and be sure to tune in for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!
Video of the Week: Think of every famous pop song from last year. Now mash them together into one epic medley. That’s pretty much how you describe Daniel Kim’s Pop Danthology 2012. It’s a combo of over fifty pop songs from 2012, using vocals from one song and instrumentals from another, all of these sounds mixing together. He put up the video last December and it has over 33 million hits! Luckily, Kim provided annotations for the vocals and instrumentals of each song, so you aren’t confused. Well, what are you waiting for? Listen to this eargasmic jam!
Hey guys it’s Sam, and this is Press Start, the only gaming blog segment where you get to hear news and reviews about games on the mainstream. Okay, that was a cocky intro, but still. Do you all remember 1st Person from last April? Yeah, this is 1st Person 2.0 with gaming news. You’re welcome. Anyway, let’s get into the action!
This was easily one of the most anticipated games of the year, as it was Naughty Dog’s big break to make a hit as big as (or even bigger than) Uncharted 3, which was one of 2011’s most critically acclaimed titles. The setup was simple: remember that fungal infection from Planet Earth that could turn ants into zombies? Well, what if that infection spread onto humans? That creates the apocalyptic scene of The Last of Us, which takes place twenty years after the fungal outbreak. The survivors of the apocalypse are in quarantined zones under the heel of the military. Within one of these zones is a black marketeer named Joel, who goes through an event that makes him vow to get a young teenager named Ellie to a resistance group called the Fireflies. They begin to trek through the fallen country while also avoiding the spreading disease and scavengers hungry for prey. It doesn’t stop there–the military won’t stop until they find and bring back Ellie.
The game was indeed a major success receiving universal acclaim, winning 25 awards after E3 ’12, a notable margin of them praising the game as the best title of the show and the most anticipated game of the show. It also received various perfect scores of 5 or 10:
- A British film magazine called Empire gave the game a perfect 5 score, lauding it as “an easy contender for the best game of this console generation”, “gaming’s Citizen Kane moment”, and “a masterpiece that will be looked back upon favorably for decades”.
- The official PlayStation mag also gave the game a perfect 10 score, calling it “a work of art” and “an emotionally draining, constantly compelling end of days adventure”.
- IGN also gave the game a solid 10, praising it as “a masterpiece, PlayStation 3’s best exclusive and an absolute must-play.”
- Destructoid also gave the game a 10 saying, “There is more to The Last of Us than just combat and ’emotional’ story tropes… The Last of Us had achieved everything it needed to achieve in order to provide me with everything [Jim Sterling] wanted.”
- It received a perfect five stars from Giant Bomb, Games Radar, and Joystiq.
- Eurogamer, VideoGamer.com, Edge, and Computer & Video Games gave the game a clean 10.
So, I guess all you post-apocalyptic gamers out there need to play this game! You guys are really missing out!
Animal Crossing was released in Japan during spring 2001 as one of the Nintendo 64’s final titles, but eventually was re-released in other countries during fall 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube. The game’s setup was simple: you move into a village full of talking animals, you can interact with them (and other players via memory card), and the console’s internal clock and calendar allowed real-time gameplay complete with changing seasons and holidays. It was more recognizable on the latter console as one of the best financial and critical successes the console ever had, and its fame increased as Wild World became a DS hit, and City Folk became a Wii bestseller despite a mixed critical say. Five years later, Animal Crossing: New Leaf released with tons of new changes. You lived in a tent rather than a house that could be expanded and upgraded, customization now allows pant modification, and you can swim in the lake at the village waterfront. Oh, and you’re also the mayor. Oh, and now there are hamsters and deer.
The game became a critical success and is now the series’ highest-rated game, with a Metacritic score of 88 and a GameRankings score of 86.96%. Critics were pleased with New Leaf‘s visuals as well as proper use of the 3DS’ stereoscopic effects (oh, did I forget to say that it was a 3DS exclusive?). The game’s environment, objects, and content were noted as a major step up from City Folk. The Japanese version of the game got a near-perfect score of 39 from Famitsu magazine, but won their Platinum Award. New Leaf became the first 3DS game to pass two million sold units in under two months (in Japan), and the game has sold nearly four million copies so far, making it a great financial success. So I guess people who have been faithful to the series (or at least have a 3DS) should get this one.
71 years into the future, Paris has become Neo-Paris and the Memorize corporation has made a new brain implant called the Sensation Engine that allows 99% of the population to upload and share their memories on the net. It’s like YouTube, but strictly for memories. They can also remove unhappy or unpleasant memories too, which is pretty awesome. However, what’s not as awesome is the SensEn gives Memorize lots of surveillance-like control over Neo-Paris, and a rebellion is rising. This rebellion comes in the form of “Errorists”, rebels who strive for nothing but to see Memorize destroyed and defeated. The invention of Memorize’s SensEn has created Leapers, people who have absorbed memories like drugs to the point where their SensEn has degraded and they mutate into subhuman beings that live in the sewers! In Remember Me, you play as an Errorist named Nilin who is one of the most crucial components of the rebellion. Why, you don’t know…yet. And neither does she, considering she’s having her memory wiped by Memorize. Nilin must free her fellow Neo-Parisians from tyrannical technology while piecing together her lost past.
Remember Me slipped by with a mixed to positive say from critics. IGN’s Daniel Krupa enjoyed the game’s promise, setting, story, and memory manipulation, but was disappointed by its unappealing combat, feeble platforming, and repetitive gameplay. Tom Bramwell from Eurogamer had almost the same problems with the game but noted a frail script. Kevin VanOrd from GameSpot enjoyed Nilin as a protagonist as well as the Memory Remixes, but noted flaws in the story, world design, and camera. GameTrailer’s Justin Speer praised the game’s general scope, but said it was “underdeveloped and underutilized”. GamesRadar’s Ryan Taljonick also liked the Memory Remixes and customizable combos, but disliked the game’s linearity. Official PlayStation Magazine didn’t have much different to say. So, you may or may not enjoy Remember Me, but it might leave a lasting memory! Get it? Cuz the game’s about mem–man, you guys never appreciate my gaming humor!
500 gigabytes of storage? 7.1 surround sound? More entertainment oriented? We all have to agree that last month’s revealing of the Xbox One was decently impressive. It seemed like it would expand upon the 360 like the 360 expanded upon the original Xbox. But several weeks later, the console’s abrasive side began to kick in:
- No backward compatibility (you can’t play any 360 games on it)
- The new Kinect is downright creepy (always watching, always listening)
- The new Kinect is a requirement to use the console (it must be on and connected nonstop)
- The console will use its region-locking skills to lock down games “geographically” (so a person across the globe can’t play some good ole Modern Warfare cuz it’s blocked in their country, kinda like a game filter)
- The Xbox One won’t allow game-loaning like a normal console (you either need to sign in under your buddy’s account or pay for the game full retail price)
- You’re gonna need an Internet connection (even to play single-player games offline!)
- The console seems to focus more on entertainment than actual games (then why does it have the honor of being a console?!)
I bet a year from now when the PS4 wins the eighth generation of video games, Microsoft will be scratching its head asking itself, “Where did we go wrong?” Anyway, the One’s list of upcoming titles seems to be a bit more promising than the One itself, so let’s take a look at some titles:
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag: Play as Connor Kenway’s grandpa Edward and embark on a swashbuckling pirate adventure! (10/29/13)
- Battlefield 4: Blood will splatter, bullets will fire, and guards will be let down in the gruesome adventures of US Special Forces squad member Recker. (10/29/13)
- Call of Duty: Ghosts: Because Modern Warfare 4 wasn’t good enough, this game stars a band of elite soldiers called “Ghosts” that wage a covert war after a global power balance apocalypse. (11/5/13)
- Destiny: After their big departure from Microsoft in 2010, Bungie teams up with Activision to create a post-apocalyptic world where you (among the final defenders of the human race) must fight aliens to prevent the obliteration of mankind. (Q3 or Q4 2013)
- Fantasia Music Evolved: In this interactive follow-up to Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, you are the apprentice of sorcerer Yen Sid and you must generate life in desolate levels by moving rhythmically to popular licensed songs from Fun., Bruno Mars, Queen, and more. (2014)
- FIFA 14: In this year’s FIFA instalment, new features have been added from “real ball physics” to “teammate intelligence” that might improve upon FIFA 13‘s skill games, and there’s a new global scouting network and modifications with career mode. (9/24/13)
- Need for Speed Rivals: In this gas-burning romp you’re either a racer or a cop, and it has the aesthetics of NFS Underground plus the features of Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted. (11/19/13 for PS3 & X360; PS4 & XOne TBA)
- Watch Dogs: This Ubisoft action-adventure/stealth game lets you play as an elite hacker that can either get and control info or destroy it wholly. You can hack phones to retrieve bank data, you can even hack traffic lights to cause crashes! (11/19/13 for PC, PS3, Wii U & X360; PS4 & XOne Q4 2013)
Alright, that is it for this week! Make sure to tune in next Friday at 1:00 PM EST for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!
Video of the Week: Have you heard of that new Daft Punk song with Pharrell Williams, uh, “Get Lucky”? Pfff, of course you have! Have you heard that old System of a Down song called, uh, “BYOB”? Pfff, of course you have…n’t. Anyway, here’s a brief summary of the band: they’re four Armenian-American guys from Glendale, California who play alternative metal and love to scream and yell a lot. Now, what if you put these two together? Since BYOB stands for “bring your own bombs”, this mashup is called “Bring Your Own Luck”. This was originally done by this guy called DJ Lobsterdust, and the sad part is this video hasn’t even broken 6,000 hits yet! Just listen to it and tell me if it should be viral by now.
Hey guys it’s Sam. To start off, I am super sorry about the delay on Monday. I got back from a weekend in Illinois and didn’t have anything scheduled for today, so I decided to postpone. I hope you’ll forgive me. Anyway, today marks the pilot of my brand new segment, Paranoid Android! What? …The heck you mean you don’t know what a paranoid android is? It’s a song by Radiohead, obviously! Haven’t you heard of OK Computer? Anyway, the meaning of the title not only is a blatant Radiohead reference, but it also ties in with the fact that these reviews come straight from an Android smart-phone. An LG Optimus Elite W powered by Virgin Mobile, to be exact. Consider this to be iNSiDE iPhone 2.0. If you don’t know what iNSiDE iPhone is, you clearly aren’t a long-time Sammwak fan. It was an old old old (like 2010 old) segment on Sammwak, one of my first, where I reviewed games I played on my brother’s fancy-schmancy iPhone. The segment was brimming with purposely awful grammar (i.e.: “rly”) and somewhat wise pro-tips, and survived a stunning eight episodes using a traditional Sammwak algorithm. Think of Paranoid Android as something short of a rebirth.
Anyway, today we’re reviewing a sequel to an old favorite of mine. An app that showed just how much the iPhone could do with its touch screen capabilities, more than Angry Birds could ever do.
When Om Nom is marveling over his candy, a time machine magically shows up and sucks in his companion of confectionery. When our little munchkin goes into the time machine, he meets several different versions of himself–his ancestors, I should say. When Om Nom and his fellow fathers get together and plot some strategic feeding techniques, Cut the Rope Time Travel is born. Now, this sequel expands greatly on the original CTR and Experiments. It does not require the reflexes of CTR, nor the intellectual mastery of Experiments–it uses a puree of the two. CTR Time Travel is such a unique entry into the series since it uses new elements that turn the tables on your side a bit. These include (but are surely not limited to) chains n’ blades, the freeze button (tap it to stop time), and rockets perfect for carrying candy and blades around. These new strategies totally change the game and make those three stars much more harder to acquire as you must feed both Om Nom and his ancestor. The game has six worlds for the six different ancestors of Om Nom:
- The Middle Ages – The new Om Nom in this world wears a viking helmet and a traditionally long ‘do. This level focuses primarily on the use of bubbles (candy encased in these automatically rise upward), the chain-blade algorithm, and timing. They are awfully easy to begin with, but get harder as they progress and really make you think about what ropes to cut. Overall, it’s still pretty easy–a nice way to kick off the game.
- The Renaissance – The Om Nom in this world wears a typical Italian mustache-goatee combo, and a good old feather hat. This level focuses primarily on the freeze button, as well as the occasional chain-blade and the brand-new physics of the stretched rope (you know it’s stretched when it turns red). This one is surprisingly tougher than the first world, as it requires almost nothing but sheer timing skills to get candy at the right point in frozen time and/or stop it from being shattered by spikes. No, but 2-15, the last level–that one’s a killer.
- Pirate Ship – This ancestor of Om Nom’s wears a fancy pirate hat and a traditional pirate ‘stache. This level deals a lot with not only the freeze button and bubbles, but also the new “mini bomb”. Whenever candy touches one of these, it automatically explodes and gives the candy some big air. Also, “bouncy platforms” were introduced to give candy a little spring in their steps. The trajectory physics of this world are absolutely astounding, wired down to the very last detail. Without the advantages of matter and energy, the levels really make you think and only pass with some trial and error. Trust me, I should know.
- Ancient Egypt – This ancestor wears nothing but a good old pharaoh hat. Anyway, this world introduces what I like to call “the flying snitch”–a candy with wings that goes wherever your regular candy goes. When a regular candy is eaten, the snitch loses its wings and its powers. If there’s one word I can use to describe this world, it has to be physics. The precise physics of this world can navigate the snitch through tricky and perilous situations–even a box outlined with spikes! This world also makes some good use of the stretched-rope physics as well, and this world also incorporates the methods of taking it slow. When flung too quickly, a snitch can easily get shattered in a line of spikes, but can make it through when navigated slowly enough.
- Ancient Greece – This ancestor wears a crown of leaves and what looks like a medal, as if he’s an Olympian. This is probably the best of the six I’ve played. Since it is a Greek world, stone platforms are incorporated to switch between the two Om Noms. And if you think it couldn’t get better, you’re wrong! This world introduces PORTALS! Drop a candy in one portal, it comes out the other. Simple physics. Oh, and these portals come in green and blue, so they correspond depending on their colors. Precise techniques and clever physics fun are abundant in world five, and this is probably the one I had the most trouble with. Yeah, to the point where I used online cheats. Hey, don’t arrest me! This just proves that the level really gets you thinking and can only be passed by true CTR prodigies as myself.
- The Stone Age – This ancestor is a plump caveman with a bone in his hair and a single buck tooth. The sixth and as of now final world in CTR Time Travel (because every CTR promises “new levels coming soon”) tests you the most, seeing if you’ve really picked up anything from the past five worlds. This one pulls out all the stops, incorporating rockets (used for transporting candy and blades out and about), the freeze button, portals, and the brand-new sun dial, used for adjusting things to their correct spots from portals to candies. This world is not only fun and creative, but very logical and advanced. Only true CTR masters hold the title of defeating this world, and it quite literally isn’t rocket science. Of course, I can’t say much, since I’m–er–still working on the level…
CTR Time Travel is an innovative doozy that shines Om Nom in a new light and changes his game forever, using stellar physics and unique gaming techniques that are ultimately worth checking out. However, the game does have some downside–it has an annoying tendency to freeze at the loading screen, which not only slows down the game pace but often prohibits you from playing any longer until you reboot the phone, which we all know is no fun. Also, I find it cantankerous how once a candy leaves the screen, one of the 2 Om Noms stares at you with that awfully cute sad-look instead of enjoying their candy. It also grinds my gears that whenever I play the first world, it shows me that little intro every time. Luckily, that’s why ZeptoLab created the ability to skip with a single tap.
I give Cut the Rope Time Travel 9 Om Noms out of 10. Well, thanks for joining me on Paranoid Android. Now if you’ll excuse me, I got another post to make.
Stay classy America,
P.S. Oh, did-ja-hear? Sammwak has its own official Google+ page! Follow it to get up-to-date breaking news about Sammwak and a special hint about the next episode! Follow us here:
Video of the Week: Alright, let’s just leave it at one this time. Two is too chaotic. This one got put up by our good friend Toby Turner back on Tuesday. In the third edition of his “Trapped in an Ad” series, Toby wakes up super-late at 1 PM and rushes against the clock while being persuaded by the voice that’s narrating his bad afternoon to eat two flavors of Limited Edition Hot Pockets: Spicy Beef Nacho and Cuban Style. If you’re a seasoned veteran, you know that Toby actually put up his own hilarious Hot Pockets “ad” which was used to advertise Hot Pockets via Facebook. How could you not, I even put it up that one time! Anyway, enjoy this video.
I’ve been a diehard for Cartoon Network as long as I can remember, ever since it introduced one of the biggest pieces of my brain’s nostalgia center–Tom & Jerry. When I don’t have anything to catch up with, or I do but I’m just kinda procrastinating, I usually spend my time playing their site’s games. You already know that I have some major beef with the Adventure Time games (excluding Jumping Finn, which is actually good), strong faith with the Reg Show games, and keen interests in the Gumball games. Well, take these three shows and a whole lot more, convert them to 3D, and cram them into one game. What do you get? No, not Formula Cartoon. You get this.
FusionFall Heroes is the sequel to the well-renowned FusionFall Universe which Cartoon Network introduced back in 2009. Instead of an open-world experience where you could interact with some of your favorite characters, this is a nonstop action RPG very similar to DOTA. In FFH, you play characters such as Finn and Mordecai, and you get automatically sent into a level. Each level is different–you could be fighting the Tech Queen, while your friend could be fighting the Graveworm. Before you fight the levels’ bosses, you must go through about four waves of smaller enemies. I’ve classified my enemies into two categories:
- The enemies that die with one hit, also known as the petite enemies
- The enemies that take a round of hits to die, also known as the buff enemies
Anyway, if you’re not a very skilled fighter and you get major health blows, you’re in luck. At your side are medical chests (marked with red crosses) that have health boosters in the forms of breakfast foods like jellied toast, cereal, and pancakes. Also, at your side are very special chests (marked with the infinity sign) that offer special powers once opened. I call it Infinity Power since I really don’t know what the official name is. Once you consume the IP, a five-bar gauge next to your health fills. Once at least one bar is full, you can right-click to perform a special attack that takes away -266 of the enemy’s damage. If you die, you don’t need to restart your fight–you respawn automatically, which saves me a lot of stress and fury. Furthermore, there are these red barrels that explode a few seconds after being hit, which is an easy way to wipe out a pack of petites.
Right now I’m kicking butt as Finn, and my gamer alias is “Major Zelda”. So if you see that name anywhere while you’re playing FFH, think of me. Anyway, I got hooked onto the game a few weeks ago, the first time I played it. I was bored out of my mind and probably killed an hour or so playing Heroes. What made me so addicted to the game, kept me going back for more, was that it so easy to master. A simple click of the mouse equals a swing of the sword, and that’s probably all you need to know besides that special attack. I love how something new pops up every time I play, and they always have the greatest and most unique boss fights. Albeit they’re not very hard boss fights (I mowed through two in my first sitting), they always relate to the environment you’re fighting in. For example, if you’re fighting monsters made out of auto parts in a junkyard, you’re gonna get a monster made out of cars. Most specifically, the Truckosaurus Rex. Furthermore, if you’re fighting monsters made of electronic parts in a fancy lab, you’re gonna get a giant electronic monster made of enough energy to run a parking lot of Nissan Leaves. Most specifically, the Tech Queen. I also appreciate the 3D techniques that were transcribed from Formula Cartoon.
However, its tendency to repeat levels is very annoying, and the first time I played I thought it was because I hadn’t saved. Then I realized you couldn’t save. Anyway, if I defeat the Tech Queen once, I’m not interested in defeating her five more times. Also, the game’s excitement does quickly wear off, and you find yourself very bored instead of very thrilled. Also, the game does lag sometime on me, which is no fun for an RPGamer. The game’s solo content does get a bit rusty after awhile, but it does offers a
party co-op mode that I haven’t tried yet, since I have no friends to co-op with.
Well, let’s not tell sob stories and get to our chart.
- Immersive gameplay
- Gorgeous 3D environments ala Formula Cartoon
- No-brainer controls
- Medical and Infinity Chests serve as helpful aid kits
- Ingenious boss fights
- Gets tedious and boring after a while
- Cantankerous tendency to repeat fights
- Annoying lags that slow down battle paces
- Offers a middling amount of content in solo mode
FINAL CONSENSUS: FusionFall Heroes is very addictive and unparalleled for a Cartoon Network title, but for any ordinary browser-based RPG it has very insipid flaws such as fight repeats, lags, and conspicuous tedium. However, the game does offer enough to have you coming back for more, which says something.
FINAL SCORE: 8.3/10 (great)
Well, with all that aside, make sure to subscribe if you’re new, and don’t forget–press the like button. Come back next Monday for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!
Stay classy America,
Video of the Week: Pogo already gave us not one but two Videos of the Week last time (“Living Island” and “Roarcraft“), so it shouldn’t be a surprise I found something really good this week. This video was the third one Pogo ever released, and it was actually put up back in May 2008. It’s not really a remix of anything–it’s Bertke’s first original song. It’s called “SplurgenShitter”, and if you have any questions about the name, don’t ask me because I don’t know. Don’t ask Bertke, because he won’t tell you. Besides, it got paired up with footage of Nick dancing around wearing a Darth Vader mask and it has 1.1 million hits. Quality Internet video!
(You could also find a 4-minute version of the song on Weave and Wish, an EP Bertke released in 2009.)
Our Bonus Video of the Week is a Pogo remix of Lord of the Rings (the Frodo era, not the Bilbo era) that came out in March 2011 and has 1.9 million hits. Someone actually had the nerve to role-play as Frodo, comment on the video, and 3 weeks later it got 187 likes. A true quality Internet video.
I’ve already reviewed the first two novels in James Patterson’s bestselling Middle School series starring young troublemaker Rafe Khatchadorian. Now for some “I-don’t-mean-to-brag-but” fun facts. For his work, Patterson became the 2010 Children’s Choice Book Awards Author of the Year, and he received more than than 15,000 votes in a category shared with fellow middle-grade authors like Carl Hiaasen and Rick Riordan. His Witch & Wizard series was introduced to the biggest launch of a young-reader series in history, surpassing sales of the first Twilight, the first Wimpy Kid, and The Lightning Thief. Last year JP sold more books than Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Dan Brown, and John Grisham combined. He’s grossed over $3 billion in global sales, which is higher than the theatrical gross of Avatar–and that’s the highest-grossing movie ever! But Patterson stayed humble with his achievements, and last December–a mere two weeks before Christmas Eve 2012–he decided to shake things up. He released a brand new realistic fiction story that didn’t star Rafe. Yep, he incorporated an entirely new universe and one of the most unique plots I’ve ever seen. JP’s new book is totally funny–in fact, it’s so funny it even has it in the name.
What I consider to be the spiritual successor to JP’s Middle School series, I Funny is a unique story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, who he also worked with for Armageddon, a novel in JP’s Daniel X series. This book centers on Jamie Grimm, a young lad about Rafe’s age who lives in Long Island, CA–more specifically, at Long Beach. He is an aspiring stand-up comic who’s been studying the techniques of classic comedians from Homer Simpson to George Carlin and probably every comic in between. His uncle Frankie runs a local diner (kind of like Swifty’s Diner, the place Rafe’s mom works), and he has a few pals at school–Pierce, Gaynor, Gilda, and Suzie (aka “Cool Girl”). But however, just like Rafe’s relationship with Miller the Killer, Jamie’s got a big bully on his back–Stevie Kosgrov, Long Beach’s bully of the year 3 years straight. However, what’s worse about Stevie is that he’s–er, for the sake of spoilers, I’ll just skip that one.
Anyway, Jamie lives with his adoptive family which he dubbed “the Smileys”–ironically, they haven’t cracked a grin in who knows how long. This is a perfect audience for Jamie’s jokes, because if he can get them to laugh, he can get anyone to. In fact, he tries out his jokes on everyone from his classmates to the customers at Frankie’s diner! Jamie has hopes of entering and maybe even winning the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic contest. But when he goes up in front of an audience for the first time, the following events change his life forever–the most essential being meeting the girl of his dreams. Also, what makes Jamie such a character to root for is that he can’t walk, and takes his wheelchair everywhere he goes. Now, who can’t feel sympathy for that?
PRESENTATION: I Funny delivers an ingenious balance of humor and drama, the same mix that made Rafe’s first adventure a real home run. However, what makes this mix a bit more unique is that the humor and drama come in bundles, the humor is more genuine and easy to “get” (although some readers who are familiar with the comics may know some of the jokes). The drama is raw and emotional, and a few times in the story my inner self actually cried. Rarely in a book do I cry while reading it. Albeit Laura Park, JP’s long-time illustrator, draws the detailed pictures of the story, she gives I Funny its own special something, making pictures look more polished and realistic. (10/10)
STORY: Jamie tells his story with realism and cracks some jokes or introduces some scenic situations that actually make a story a bit “mushy”, just like Rafe would. However, aside from humor and drama, Jamie tells a very down-to-earth story that incorporates real-life things like bullying, friendship, a first love, and broken hearts. Jamie is a character most readers would root for, especially after all you see him go through in the book. Connections between characters are strong as well. However, there’s one thing that won’t make me give I Funny a perfect score in this category–Jamie uses Rafe’s same “fake reality” techniques to try and zest up the story. In this case, Jamie believes that most of the Long Beach community is made up of zombies, but they are shown to be more funny than freaky. The book feels a lot like Rafe had helped Jamie write it–for better and for worse. (9/10)
FUN: It’s entertaining to watch Jamie spin his tale in a way that tons of authors have done, but it’s still nonetheless very unique. It’s intriguing to picture the events that occur in the book from the factual to the fictional, and the vivid imagery–if you saw my last JGB 2.0, you’d know that was almost the exact same stanza I used for Rafe’s second adventure. I Funny and Get Me Out of Here share lots of the same jokes, sequences, and connections, which says something if JP wanted this book to stand out more. However, this book does lots of media referencing–comics like Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin, Yakov Smirnoff, Steve Martin, Steven Wright, and Kevin James. Speaking of Kevin James, Jamie also references his star role in Paul Blart: Mall Cop several times. References to KGB, acme (a staple in 20th century comedy like Looney Tunes), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Penn Station, The Brady Bunch, Harry Potter, and much more. Hey–I think all that referencing just won this book its half of a point back. (10/10)
STYLE: Time for some restating. The humor and drama come in bundles, the humor is more genuine and easy to “get” (although some readers who are familiar with the comics may know some of the jokes). The drama is raw and emotional, and a few times in the story my inner self actually cried. Rarely in a book do I cry while reading it. Albeit Laura Park, JP’s long-time illustrator, draws the detailed pictures of the story, she gives I Funny its own special something, making pictures look more polished and realistic. (10/10)
QUANTITY/QUALITY: I Funny has a great story to tell, and it took 69 chapters to tell it! In fact, the book begins with Jamie choking onstage (forgetting his setups and such), and then it flashes back a while. JP managed to tell enough story and pack in enough element, characterization and such, to meet up to that point in the book, which actually doesn’t come until very late. It’s great how you get to know people like Pierce, Gaynor, Gilda, and Cool Girl, and how they interact with Jamie. How their relationship with him changes as the book progresses and you begin to relate to Jamie more. This is the kind of feeling that I got when I reached the dramatic climax of Middle School, Worst Years of My Life where everything kinda reached its summit. (10/10)
FINAL VERDICT: I Funny packs the same wallops of humor and drama that Rafe would, but the humor is more authentic and the drama is more raw and tearjerking–never has Patterson told such a dynamic story that has the powerful plot lines that really make this the third hit of JP’s threepeat. (10/10)
FINAL SCORE: 59 out of 60 –> 98% –> A+
Check out some vids from JP’s official YouTube channel!
Ah, what a day. Well, make sure to tune in next week for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!
Stay classy America,
Videos of the Week: Check out these mind-blowing Nick mixes from my ole buddy Nick Bertke, aka “Pogo”. For y’all who don’t know who he is, he is literally the greatest mashup artist on Earth. He’s made groundbreaking remixes of Harry Potter, Dexter, Up, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Mary Poppins, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the list goes on folks. Tragically, last Thursday Nick put up a 3-minute video explaining how and why he is no longer allowed to enter the USA for the next decade. I mean, the poor lad got sent to the big house for 3 weeks! Never would I think of Pogo as an inmate. Anyway, here’s the video…
…and to cheer you up, here are two amazing Pogo mixes you can jam to. The first one is an iCarly remix, made in honor of the series ending after five years of being one of Nick’s greatest hits. The music in the mix ranges from all of the show’s seasons, and you may be able to pick out some episodes. The second one is a SpongeBob remix, which also ranges from all of the show’s seasons, and you may also be able to pick out some episodes. ENJOY!
As you can tell, this is no longer the Jolly Good Bookie I’ve been using for a few years–this is JGB 2.0. I got rid of that annoying Common Sense chart and replaced it with a more simplistic chart designed after IGN’s. Also, all reviewed books will get graded on a scale from E to A+. Anyway, on a completely different note, back in December I reviewed Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, a novel by James Patterson who is famous for writing Witch & Wizard and Maximum Ride. Here are some of my most acclaiming snippets from the post:
“…one of the greatest school stories I’ve ever read…”
“…thorough, fleshed comedy with sincere, heart melting drama…”
“Patterson is clearly a unique writer as he actually manages to give us those pangs that make us feel like we’re on the verge of tears…”
“…makes a joke out of middle school in a way that is rare for most favored kids’ authors…”
“…a book that you can’t find around the corner.”
Now, three months later, I’ve read the sequel to this book and now hold the answer to this burning question: “Will Rafe’s second adventure build upon the first, build alongside the first, or build away from the first?”
Released last May, almost a year after the original bestseller, Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! is Rafe Khatchadorian’s second middle school adventure written by the well-renowned James Patterson and the not-nearly-as-popular Chris Tebbetts, alongside the book’s illustrator Laura Park. Anyway, if you read Rafe’s first novel, you’d know that his story isn’t as stereotypical and cheesy as most school stories are–his is deeper, more realistic, better to relate to. This sequel doesn’t pick up where Worst Years of My Life left off–it travels forward in time to the seventh grade. Now, for the sake of non-spoilers, let’s just say Rafe doesn’t hold a very great status at Hills Valley anymore. Now, after the fiery death of Swifty’s Diner, he’s moved on to a new life in a new city, now having been accepted to a fancy art school known as Cathedral Academy. But Rafe’s plans of living a worry-free life are down the drain–he has to keep his grades afloat, or else he won’t get accepted back into Cathedral for eighth grade. For Rafe’s first art project, he needs to turn his life into a work of art to show who he is. Instead of doing that, he teams up with his good pal Leo the Silent and creates his second mission, Operation: Get A Life. From playing poker to visiting an art museum, Rafe’s gonna have to learn the art of trying something new. But when Get A Life unravels secrets about the side of the Khatchadorians Rafe’s never known, his life takes a big detour…
PRESENTATION: Just like its predecessor, Get Me Out of Here is realistic and down-to-earth, with Rafe’s incredibly descriptive and always hilarious drawings put in alongside the story. Nothing has really changed since the original, which is kinda bad since the book needs to have some uniqueness. (9/10)
STORY: Rafe tells his story clearly and deeply, although he has high tendencies to exaggerate story elements like turning his teachers into monsters or going hang-gliding with Leo the Silent. This was kind of like in the original Dork Diaries when Nikki had an excruciatingly high tendency to say things in her head. This is a very annoying flaw, but otherwise the book’s storytelling ability is proficient. (8.5/10)
FUN: It’s entertaining to watch Rafe spin his tale in a way that tons of authors have done, but it’s still nonetheless very unique. It’s intriguing to picture the events that occur in the book from the factual to the fictional, and the vivid imagery makes the book feel less like something an artificial intelligence like Siri would cough up. (Not that I’m saying Siri would ever cough up such a thing.) (10/10)
STYLE: Rafe’s detailed pictures go great with his bubbly storyli–okay, now I think I’m just restating the same main idea. (10/10)
QUANTITY/QUALITY: This category just asks a book, “How much story do you have, and is all that story told well?” In this case, the story is abundant and told extremely well, although it’s almost as immersive as it could’ve been whatsoever. But hey–I’ve said too much good about the book to start getting bad. But speaking of which, the book kinda does get confusing with all these new elements added to Rafe’s persona, and I was wondering if James Patterson wrote the right story a few chapters in. But as soon as I saw Rafe pull an unsuccessful prank, I knew I was back in business. Thank gosh. (9/10)
FINAL VERDICT: Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! may be an unexpected new leaf for some old fans of Rafe, but they’ll appreciate the same deep storyline and playful imagery that was incorporated in Rafe’s first adventure. It’s an ingenious novel that will keep readers hooked and have them hungry for the next installment in Rafe’s middle school adventures. (9.5/10)
FINAL SCORE: 56 out of 60, which equals a 93% score which gets this book an A.
But the post doesn’t end there. Check out some juicy news about James Patterson’s plans for the future!
As you can see here, Mr. Patterson has already gotten the next two Middle School novels up for release later this year. The first book, My Brother Is A Big Fat Liar, tells the story from Georgia’s perspective instead of Rafe’s! Georgia plans to excel at all the spots Rafe failed at HVMS, and she makes a bet with Rafe that she’ll become just as famous as him. However, G may have bitten off more than she can chew–Rafe’s troublesome acts at the school left a big impression on the school, and no one’s even bothering to give G a second glance. However, things go from bad to worse when Rafe furtively signs up his band to play at the school dance! (Since when was Rafe in a band like Big Nate?) G refuses to make an ignominious impression on her crush as well as the school’s clique, but she’s determined to win her bet and prove Rafe wrong at all costs, even if it means putting her HVMS rep on the line. Will she succeed, or will Rafe win? Check out My Brother Is A Big Fat Liar to find out when it hits stores next Monday.
The next book, How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill, is indeed the third Middle School novel first foreshadowed by Rafe himself at the end of Get Me Out of Here. Rafe is stoked for a fun 3-month stay at summer camp–until he realizes that it’s a summer school camp. Luckily, Rafe manages to befriend his cabinmates and bunkmate, as well as a boy nicknamed Booger Eater. Rafe soon finds out that there’s more to BE than meets the eye, and maybe he’s just the guy you want to know when the Cool Cabin kids attack. Wow, this plot is very similar to Fred 3: Camp Fred, with the whole “good camp vs. lame camp” concept. This book will take a longer wait–it won’t come out until June, which is rather convenient.
We all know that James Patterson’s revered sci-fi adventure saga, Maximum Ride, came to an end when Nevermore came out last year. However, besides the manga series being still alive, Patterson knows the canon is not yet dead. And he’s deciding to honor one of his greatest hits with one of the biggest blowouts an author can produce–a Maximum Ride movie. That’s right, the flock, the Erasers, and the School are all coming to the big screen. News about a Max Ride movie began spreading as far back as fall 2007, and James Patterson would be the movie’s executive producer. Steven Paul is also a producer alongside Avi Arad, who has worked on films like Spider-Man and X-Men. Apparently, Arad got so full of himself he planned out a second movie as well. (If you’ve seen Anthony Horowitz’s scrapped plans for an Alex Rider film series, you know that pride like this is dangerous.)
Columbia Pictures bought screen rights to the movie in 2008, and the film was expected to release 2 years later. Twilight‘s director Catherine Hardwicke had planned to direct, and in 2010 she had requested that the movie script be rewritten to include more action. (Oh, gosh.) This delayed the movie’s release to this year. In February 2011, Maximum Ride‘s Facebook page asked fans who they’d want to play Max, and also stated that the movie would be released in 3D. Unfortunately, by last year Hardwicke dropped out, and Patterson said he was “very hopeful as opposed to mildly depressed.” Sadly, the movie is as of now cancelled, but we can only hope that by 2014 Patterson can get his chin back up.
Ah, so much info, my brain is hurting! Well, as my cerebellum cools down, let’s call it a week. But make sure to stay tuned for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak! Stay tuned for more James Patterson books, too!
Stay classy America,
Videos of the Week: The channel of the week award goes to TomSka for his latest episode of his gut-busting asdfmovie series. “asdfmovie5” back from May was kind of a letdown in my book–all of the skits were new, and not once did the I Like Trains Kid appear! Anyway, this new video is hilarious, and it’s really put Tom’s random humor skills to work. Hey–at least Mine Turtle shows up again and makes me realize that Tom has found a new running gag for his videos.
WARNING: This game review is made for the best use and comprehension of all Xbox owners, as that is the version I had played of this game. If you own the PS3 or PS Vita port of this game, you will likely not find much pro-tips in this.
Hey guys it’s Sam, and y’all know what this is–the first Sammwak post of the 2013 season! Let’s start things off right and make this a post that we’ll never forget, eh?
Define the term “crossover“; according to my Google Dictionary, it is “a point or place of crossing from one side to the other”. A notorious type of crossover is the intercompany crossover, where comic characters published from one company meet characters published by another. This has been done frequently by companies like Marvel and DC Universe, but this is the true epitome of those crossovers: a crossover game series. The Marvel vs. Capcom saga first debuted in 1996-’98 (it was first released for arcades in ’96, then the Sega Saturn in ’97, and finally the PlayStation in ’98) with X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and the rest is core history. But don’t you remember how Super Street Fighter IV amazingly rebalanced Street Fighter IV–after having already blown the fighting genre out of the water? Well, MvC‘s decided to follow in its footsteps–but is it for better or for worse?
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a crossover brawler released just 3/4 of the year after the original MvC 3, and is its standalone update. I say “standalone” because all this was actually planned to be MvC 3 DLC, but after the events of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake-tsunami, scheduling was disrupted and it eventually turned out as its own game. It rebalances the title much like SSF4 did for its original: it gave off new characters, new stages, and a bit of tweaking. The game works largely similar to the original: you fight against an opponent (CPU or human) surrounded with goofy comic book effects upon every painful impact. You may actually see sound effects printed onto the screen, like “THWOKK!!” and “SLAM”. When the face of death rears its ugly head, you can always jump out and be replaced by another “assist” fighter–y’see, you fight in teams of three. When a fighter is killed, they are deemed “down” and the first assist on the list is sent out. When a second fighter is down, the last man standing is sent on a long haul–this is where your X Factor really comes in handy. The Factor is a technique that increases speed and damage, which gains more power if one or both of your assists are down. This is respectively known as a Level 2 or 3 X Factor. There is also a power bar that your character has; this is your Hyper Combo bar. Successfully landed hits fill the bar, and eventually you will fill the bar entirely and level up. This keeps going until you hit the “maximum” at level 5. Once you reach Level 1-3, you can perform those levels’ Hyper Combos. They are named after the amount of bars it takes to perform the move, with Level 3 Combos being the biggest and baddest of the bunch. They’re basically like the Ultra Combos of U MvC 3.
There are also specific in-game modes that you can indulge in:
- Arcade Mode – The game’s story mode, to say the least. You fight against five CPU trios until you get to the final boss: Galactus. The thing about Galactus is–he makes you look like a fly.
I mean, the guy’s hard to beat, but it’s not impossible. A few quick one-twos, proper methods and strategy, and a whole lot of hope are the three keys that will unlock Galactus’ ultimate defeat. But there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders; in the Olympics, you’d fight for your country. In this, you’d fight for your world. Yep–if you fail your mission you will be “world KO’ed” and you get to witness Galactus smash the Earth like a swatter against a housefly. (Awkwardly, after that point the game asks whether or not you want to continue.) But luckily, you can actually see how it’s like to be the final boss in the arcade’s Galactus Mode! (For Xbox owners, when selecting Arcade, press LB + Back + A all at the same time to unlock G Mode.) Once you defeat those five trios, you will destroy the world (which is ironically a good thing in this case) and unlock Galactus’ ending if you did this for the first time. Here are all the Xbox controls for this mode (I dubbed some of the moves myself, so at least try to imagine how painful they’d feel):
- X = Hand Dust
- Y = Palm Smash
- A or RT = One Finger Snap Back
- B = Mini Planet Destroyer
- Down + Any Attack = Fist Smash
- Forward + Any Attack = Sweeper Punch
- Up + Any Attack = Finger Laser
- Back + Any Attack = Eye Lasers
- Roll Back + Any Attack = Grab
- LT or Roll Forward + RT = Multi Finger Laser
- Roll Back + RT = Full Screen Finger/Eye Lasers
- Roll Forward + A = Ultimate Planet Destroyer (this will automatically KO the active opponent, although it takes several seconds to charge up)
- Heroes & Heralds – The first thing you need to worry about in H&H is whether or not you’re going to be a hero or a herald. If you’re a hero, you will fight to save the Earth. If you’re a herald, you will fight to attack the Earth. Y’see, all heralds are official property of Galactus. Now it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Anyway, you will fight across a number of stages starting at 0%. Beat someone, and the percentage goes up. Get to 100%, unlock a bonus level. Beat the bonus level, win a valuable ability card. Ability cards show off abilities that prove to be very useful, and these include: turning invisible while dashing, getting health back upon landing a 30-hit combo, stuff like that. But if you get beat, you actually lose percentage. So make sure you end up on the winner’s side. Oh, and I almost forgot–heralds get to be completely chrome! No, not Google Chrome. They have, like, silver bodies.
- Missions – The game also has a training mode that allows you to hone your skills in several missions with every single character. Obviously, the fighters are divided into their respective sides of Marvel or Capcom. With each fighter, you will likely see a row of faded icons. Those are missions you have yet to complete; completed missions will bring the icon to full resolution. Stumped on one mission? You can always skip to the next. Tongue-tied over controls? You can always check the mission objective. What happens if you complete all the missions?–then don’t consider visiting me for a match!
- Training Mode – Like with any game, UMvC3 comes with a training mode that allows you to fight against a “training dummy” of your choice in a surrounding of your choice. But the biggest diversity of this mode is that you can actually tinker with the settings. Change the placing of the lifebars. Give yourself infinite X Factor. Even take out health regeneration to make this into a “real fight”. Whatever floats your boat or tickles your peach, bro.
Now, Ultimate MvC3 has the fast-paced action, the cutting-edge visuals, the razor-sharp controls, the unlimited opportunities, and some sprinkles of laughs that most fighting games need. Like with titles including Street Fighter, you can alter the language settings to make every word a character utters in Japanese. This is just an example of the lack of limits the game thrives in–unfortunately, as comical as it is, it does take its powers a bit too far. There’s not much differentiation between game modes, and–like with the original–replays are still non-included. Missions are honestly kind of lackluster in the key tools that will make or break the talent of a player, and will likely just lead to some frustration with missions. Maybe some hair-pulling, but mostly frustration. It’s also not your most squeaky-clean fighting game–like in literally any fighter, females are decked up in skimpy outfits, with the exception of one character that is literally butt-naked on screen. Some unexpected swearing levels occur, and all the game’s bangs and pows can lead to action that can cover the entire screen, which is both a blessing and a curse. The missions also seem well-nigh impossible in later stages, jumping difficulties way faster than we can comprehend them. Much like in gameplay like, what, Diddy Kong Racing, the premises of the game can get quickly old. It’s really the humor, characters, and styling that forms the soft, gooey center of the game. Everything else–well, I hope you haven’t broken your sweet teeth.
1 out of 5 – Positive role models – Some of the femme fatales talk about maintaining “strong womanhood” and refusing to let male characters discount them due to their gender–but then again, have you seen what these people are wearing?
2 out of 5 – Ease of play – The controls are easy to grasp–if they just made the learning curve a bit less steep. In Street Fighter, you were treated to easy controls like “roll-forward/back” motions, or “Z” or “circle” motions. In this world, they break literally everything down. You might be taught how to do a Hadoken by it saying (down, down-at-a-right-angle, forward), but you realize you’re just rolling forward when you do the move! And how about those people who have literally way too many moves? Moves branching from other moves that themselves branched from other moves, it’s all just a big mind game. Sometimes, specific combos must be performed through an arduous series of button-pressing.
3 out of 5 – Violence – As this is a fighting game, yes it does carry a lot of pows and ows. But this game specializes in weaponry-of-choice like guns, blades, explosives, and fireballs, but not a single drop of blood is spilled. And it might be a bit worse considering these battles are 3-on-3. Even worse than “a bit worse”, all three fighters on a team can combine for one “Crossover Combination” on this one unlucky victim. As I’ve said, the action can get so out of hand that you can even lose track of the characters. But it doesn’t really leave as much marks as series like Mortal Kombat did–instead, defeated players are deemed “down”, not dead. Even more violence is depicted, shown, and foreshadowed in characters’ endings.
3 3/4 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Females wear some of the skimpiest in-game clothing you’ll find around, and you might see a lot of cleavage. But there’s one character known as Felicia (from Darkstalkers) that is practically the reason behind the game’s “partial nudity” label. If you were to see her, you would see that she was literally in the buff–except for some white skintight material that keeps only her most sensitive parts covered. But despite this most of her “junk in the trunk” is visible. And get this–she’s forty years old in human years! Also, a female character named Morrigan is shown pole-dancing for Wolverine in his ending.
2 3/4 out of 5 – Language – Definitely more crass than your typical fighter. “Damn”, “hell”, “b*tch”, and “a*s” are the four most commonly uttered words you’ll find in the “trash talking” that occurs before the fight. Some characters continue to utter these words in situations like a missed throw.
4 out of 5 – Product Placement – This game is a Marvel-Capcom crossover with tons of characters, some you may not have even known existed. If you were to learn about them in their bios, you’d actually be able to see their origins of comics or games.
Play-Again Ratio: A (4 points)
Smarts: C+ (2.5 points)
Fun: A- (4 points)
Style: B (3 points)
Humor: A (4 points)
Entertainment: A (4 points)
FINAL SCORE: 21.5 out of 30 (Well Done), 3.5 stars out of 5, 79% out of 100%
CONSENSUS: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has the roster, the action, the controls, and the excitement that any standard fighter would, but the biggest problems with the game is that it plays dirty and it plays hooky with the typical rulebook–which differentiates it from the rest both for better and for worse.
Well, I guess that’s for the kickoff of season ’13 here on Sammwak. Comment me any games that got you putting your game face on, and you could be responsible for our next review! If you prefer putting in more nostalgic and old-school games, I suggest you hop on over to 2S2M for that–we already just kicked off our new old-school game reviewing series, Insert Coin! Check out our series premiere here where I review one of history’s most timeless games–Ocarina of Time!
Stay button-pressing America,
Video of the Week: I don’t know if any of you have heard about this, but there’s a new show on Cartoon Network that’s gonna be hitting the primetime in exactly three weeks. It’s called Nick Cannon’s Incredible Crew, or just Incredible Crew for short. If you missed the one-hour series preview back on the 31st –aka “Incredible Crew Year’s Eve”–you’re not out of luck. I got a special treat for you that wasn’t in the preview at all, and it’s directly from the official cartoonnetwork channel. It stars Crew member Jeremy Shada–who’s also done work on the Network as the voice of Adventure Time‘s Finn–in a sweet 2-minute music video about his after-school trip with his mom to run errands at the bank, salon, and to pick up his little sister at ballet. All this is interpreted in a sweet rap that is catchy, innovative, and vibrant. And you ain’t seen nothing yet from Incredible Crew, so check out the series premiere on January 24th at 8/7c–only on Cartoon Network!