In 2000, EA Sports Big was born to honor the unrealistic genre that is “extreme sports”, and to test it out they created the SSX (Snowboard Supercross) series, a saga of critically acclaimed extreme snowboarding games. The series debuted as a PS2 exclusive, but eventually grew to adapt to the original Xbox and the GameCube, among other consoles. SSX Tricky, the second in the series, was one of my all-time favorite PS2 games growing up. I was nothing less than ecstatic in 2010 when I found news about a new SSX in the works. My elation was replaced with horror when I realized that the series was taking an unexpected detour into an abyss shrouded with darkness and ambiguity. However, EA Sports brought the game back on track, and the final result is the new SSX, the most realistic game the series–maybe even the genre–has ever seen.
“Defy reality. Own the planet.”
Famous biker Zoe Payne, snowboarding legend Mac Fraser, and surfing icon Tane Mumea (he’s new) have co-founded Team SSX. Instead of Snowboard Supercross, the letters stand for Snowboarding, Surfing, and Motocross, birthed by the three best riders snow, sea, and dirt have ever known. They’ve searched the planet to make a team of the nine best riders on Earth. However, member Griff Simmons (from SSX 3) has ditched the team, and most of the team funds have followed. Turning to their fans for help, Team SSX plans to raise funds with the power of live-streaming by conquering the nine deadliest descents in the world! Unfortunately, Griff plans on defeating the descents first, sparking a race across the globe to see who will “own the planet” first. The game’s ravishing visuals make each descent much more lifelike and much more deadly. Here are the nine mountains you plan on defeating:
- Mount Robson, USA – The reason Robson represents America as a deadly descent is its merciless array of trees that have been strewn around the course. Well-timed jumps and maneuvers are key to making it to the bottom with as little damage as possible. Gear will be needed to take on this descent, as it gives you a layer of protection if you run into any trees.
- Fitz Roy, South America – The reason Fitz Roy represents Patagonia as a deadly descent is the enemy that is gravity. It will be impossible to clear a jump without a wingsuit, as it will be needed to give you some air before landing. However, your wingsuit isn’t too sturdy, so you have to make a quick landing before lining up your next jump.
- Mount Belukha East, Russia – The reason Belukha represents Siberia as a deadly descent is its endless supply of ice that can get up to six feet thick; it’s just as unforgiving as it sounds and looks, but luckily you’ll have a pair of ice axes to aid you on your path. You’ll also be iceboarding on the side of a cliff, so it’s best to stay as near to the mountainside as possible.
- Mount McKinley/Denali, USA – The reason McKinley (known in the game as Denali) also represents America as a deadly descent is its ever-so-exciting avalanche that you have to outrun all the way to the bottom of the course while avoiding crevasses and not sticking too close to the avalanche. Boost is key to outrunning the snowy beast, as it will give you a distance advantage as well as a time advantage.
- Mount Slaughter, Antarctica – According to the game, no snowboarding trip around the world would be complete without a stop at the coldest and most desolate place on Earth. Obviously, your main enemy is the piercing cold in an area where the sunshine is everyone’s best bud. Luckily, you will be equipped with a solar panel while also keeping an eye out for any light patches that can regenerate your health, because shade and tunnels are your worst enemy.
- Mount Everest, Himalayas – The tallest mountain on Earth is also one of the most dangerous descents you’ll be conquering. As in real life, up in the mountains thin air is a killer, so you’ll be provided with an oxygen tank consisting of the freshest gas your mates could find. Even then, you’re not very safe, as your oxygen is–wait for it–limited. You’ll have to get out there as quick as possible before you run out of oxygen. When you start to see blackness around the corners of your TV, that means you’re gonna black out in a couple of seconds–a perfect opportunity to use some of that good O2.
- Mount Blanco, Alps – No, not that small hill in Texas, an actual mountain where your one enemy is rocks. But not in avalanche form–just plain rocks. You can easily jump over the rocks and make small movements to avoid them, but don’t overdo it–you might run into the side of the canyon. I recommend you use armor to increase your survival chances, and around here speed literally kills, so I suggest taking it as slow as possible.
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – (Ah, Tanzania. My true non-American home.) “But, Sam! Kilimanjaro’s a volcano, not a mountain!” Exactly, my dear reader. You’re actually going to be riding inside the volcano, but don’t fear eruptions; I just hope you’re not afraid of the dark, because that is your main enemy for this descent. Luckily, you’ll be provided with a headlamp to provide some light, but don’t be planning on tricking a lot–where your head goes, the lamp goes. So if you’re in the middle of a gnarly tweak, you might not notice that menacing wall in front of you.
- Mount Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand – You’ve fought through trees, rocks, and darkness, but that’s just the tip of this game’s iceberg (sorry). Because this time your enemy is–the notorious whiteout. The granddaddy of all snowstorms and blizzards. You won’t be able to see your trembling hand in front of your terrified face without pulse goggles, but all they do is help you see through snow. They won’t help you differentiate safe terrain from lethal chasms, so keep an eye out for flares that will help you down the mountain and avoid taking bad jumps. (These flares can also give you some Tricky meter boost. Why they give you some boost, I don’t know.)
The game starts by automatically launching you into story mode, as you are unable to go anywhere else. You can either use the button controls or the right-stick controls, and both work quite well. A majority of Tricky‘s best mechanics return in this game: tweaking your tricks as well as the famous Tricky meter. Land tricks to boost your meter, and if you want to you can deplete it by using it as a speed boost. If you land enough tricks you are temporarily put into Tricky mode. Tricks get Über makeovers, are worth more points, and earn you letters once landed. Once you earn your Y you don’t receive infinite boost and the ability to perform as many Über tricks as you want–you get into Super Tricky mode, allowing you to perform even crazier tricks as well as the granddaddy of them all–the signature trick.
Old school gamers can change the controls to “classic” in the game settings, although I have no clue what difference it makes since it’s been years since I’ve played Tricky. When you get far enough in story mode, you can unlock two modes: one of them being Explore, where you can free-ride. While in that mode, you can buy people for 10,000 to 50,000 credits. Credits are the game’s currency, earned by competing in events–whether you win or lose, you’re still probably gonna walk away with a couple thousand. Speaking of which, you can also get geo-tags via completing select events or by buying them. You can place them in spots while rewinding, and they’re worth varying amounts of XP and credits. A player has exactly a day to obtain the geo-tag before its lifespan runs out.
At each descent, you compete in two events as descent training before the real deal: Race It (qualify in the top three to advance) and Trick It (try to earn more points than your opponents). Each mode delivers a new strategy to the tables; in races, you need to find the fastest routes, but you need to locate big air in trick runs. Then there’s Survive It, where it all comes down to. Each descent features a number of paths, hidden obstacles, and dangerous chasms, so elite precision is mandatory to getting the best scores on the more challenging descents–or you know, just surviving. But this game is only for people who know what they’re doing and what they’re up against; the AI is
punishing challenging, and death traps are just waiting for you to run into them.
The one other thing I hate about the game is its lack of traditional simultaneous multiplayer. Yes, SSX is a single-player experience, and that sucks! The closest thing to multiplayer in this game is Global Events, a challenge series open to every player across the globe, or just you and your friends. EA has challenges going nonstop, and you can just come to try and beat a high score or a time. While you’re racing, people may just show up alongside you and turn this into a simultaneous event. There are some custom events where you can invite just your friends, which is probably the closest Global Events get to “multiplayer.” Besides GE, RiderNet (SSX’s AutoLog) keeps track of your progress and informs you on what hijinks your buds are up to.
But what’s a sports game without a stellar soundtrack? (I’ve played FIFA for 4 years; I should know.) SSX‘s music includes Foster the People, The Naked and Famous, Flux Pavilion, Camo & Krooked, DJ Shadow, and the three bosses of dubstep: Nero, Noisia, and Skrillex. Too bad the only time your characters speak are if they’re in the middle of a gnarly trick or bailing.
Once you get far enough in story mode, you can unlock two modes, one of them being Explore. If you press a certain button to select the track you want to ride in Explore, you can go into free-ride mode, where you can simply cruise your way down without a Tricky meter to distract you. But you can still do Über tricks; a blue flash on the screen means you’ve hit Tricky, and an orange means you’ve hit Super. In the game, you can earn badges and achievements while ‘boarding a track, and you can use RiderNet to check out your goods and remember just how great you are at this game. If you’re not doing story mode, checking out Global Events or RiderNet, or exploring, you might be checking out the DLC.
Electronic Arts has announced DLC characters that are already on the market: real-life pro snowboarder Travis Rice, and our old pal Eddie! The bro with the ‘fro appears in his own DLC pack, Mt. Eddie, which also brings the exuberant and colorful feels of Tricky to the new SSX. If it didn’t feel nostalgic enough, classic skins have been added for characters like Elise and Moby! Could it get any better than that? Oh, but it doesn’t stop there: the pack features the return of 7 characters in their original appearances. To be specific, Elise, Eddie, Kaori, Mac, Moby, Psymon, and Zoe. As in Tricky, each ‘boarder comes with alternate outfits and their own board. For just $5.99, you can give your SSX experience a nostalgic retro makeover.
For PS3 players, Mount Fuji is automatically installed into the game, allowing you to snow-surf down another mountain. I wouldn’t look at it as a descent, though. Luckily, Xbox 360 users won’t be left out in the cold (sorry again)–Mt. Fuji comes in the Mt. Fuji & Friends DLC pack, which comes with Eddie and Travis, as well character-specific Ultimate level snowboards that’ll make that high score more visible with perks for Eddie, Zoe, Mac, Kaori, and Elise. There’s also a bonus Geo-Tag. Xbox.com describes the pack as a “mountain of content”, and why not buy it? It’s absolutely free!
In the end, SSX is an extraordinary and over-the-top snowboarding game that brings some new and some old to the table, using its gorgeous visuals and challenging gameplay as a great filter.
FINAL SCORE: ★★★★
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(What do you want to see from me, I’m not a big snowboarding gamer!)
Well, that was quite the doozy! Be sure to tune in next Friday at 1:00 PM ET for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak! Oh, and have a rad summer while it lasts!
Video of the Week: “Honest Commercials” by nigahiga. It’s been out for just nine days and it’s already passed 1.5 million hits and been featured on the Smosh Pit. Tune in and see what you’ve been missing.
Hey guys it’s Sam, and welcome to another episode of Game Face! Now take Street Fighter IV, MK 2011, MK vs DCU, and all of the DC Universe characters you can think of, and puree it all in the most pretentious blender you can find at your local supermarket. Pour it in the most posh glass you can find in your house and garnish with a curly straw, and you have Injustice Gods Among Us. This fighting game from the makers of the latest Mortal Kombat game pits the heroes and villains of the DC Universe against one another, but it goes far beyond just over-the-top action.
The game’s plot is the size of a doorstop, and there’s a lot to be understood to fully grasp the meaning of the game. Heck, the entire thing takes place in a parallel universe! It all starts when Joker dastardly and maliciously deceives Superman into believing his wife Lois Lane is a villain named Doomsday, causing him to kill both her and her unborn son who she was apparently preggers with. Not only that, but Kal-El ends up destroying the rest of Metropolis in a single nuclear boom! (Apparently the nuclear bomb was connected with Lois’ heartbeat. What.) Overcome with guilt and fueled by rage, Superman does the one thing Batman wouldn’t–straight up murder Joker in cold blood!
But the Man of Steel will never forgive himself for what Joker made him do, so he seizes the control of several planets across the globe, establishing a new world order as the High Councilor for the lone goal of world peace. Sounds corny, doesn’t it? But if you aren’t with Superman, you sure as heck are against him. The heroes of the earth, from Aquaman to Wonder Woman, are faced with a choice between Superman’s Regime or Batman’s Insurgency. War ends up breaking out between the forces, one that’ll threaten the survival of all of mankind.
I mean, seriously, a bomb linked with a human’s heartbeat? Injustice‘s story really starts to cave in on itself just to find reasons why a pair of heroes should be beating the crap out of each other.
The best way to begin playing the game is to check out its tutorial, which shows you pretty much everything you need to know about the game, from special moves to bounce cancels. Now once you put that to use, you’ll see the same fighting style of Mortal Kombat 2011–well, actually, they’re the exact same controls. Heck, there are even some moves straight out of X-Ray Mode! However, what makes the game the most unique from MK 2011 is its interactive fighting style; “the world is your weapon,” says the back of the game case. And indeed it is; for example, in the Batcave someone can send you hurtling into the Bat Computer, or press a nearby button to blast you with rockets. Or in Atlantis, someone can turn a valve and blast you with an unblockable burst of water. However, many of the game’s heavier-built players can destroy these helpful objects almost effortlessly. A stone tablet that Batman can use as a jumping pad, Superman will simply crush. This will definitely be the birth of many Injustice trolls.
Injustice also has “level transitions”, which you can perform on characters by doing a select attack near one of a level’s ends. Your opponent will be painfully sent to the lower level, and if you choose you can painfully send them back to the upper level. However, while the game’s transitions can be over-the-top, the game’s laws of physics are very lenient and unrealistic (but still over-the-top). You can take a good long fall through several building floors, get hurtled into space, be inside a crashing helicopter, and more. And you’ll surely survive through all of it like it’s nothing.
The game is also unique for its Character Powers: whether it’s flight, healing, or just a temporary strength boost, these Powers are exclusive to each character. Another new part of the game is the Clashes: it can immediately interrupt a combo, allowing both players to secretly gamble some or all of their super meter (which can be saved up to perform a Super Move). It is only available when its starter has at least half of their meter full, and is only available once. There are also no rounds in Injustice–just two health bars. If one player has both of their bars emptied, the match automatically ends and the other player is declared the winner. The matches are also timed, and I’m not a fan of timed matches. I like Super Street Fighter IV, where you can set match times to infinite.
But hey, at least Injustice gives you a quick reference of your special moves whenever you pause.
Winning matches will increase your XP, and enough XP allows you to level up, unlocking content from music to concept art. And if you aren’t fighting, you could take a visit to STAR Labs to do character-specific missions that I have yet to unearth. If that wasn’t enough, you could waste a couple of minutes customizing your “hero card” and your “portrait” that comes with your Injustice in-game account. Besides that there are some half-decent mini games: shoot arrows from Green Arrow’s POV, use your eye lasers to destroy entire cars as Superman, the list goes on. However, I don’t enjoy how Superman is willingly incinerating vehicles with people inside. I mean, whatever happened to defending the world?
Oh, and also, if you consider a spinoff comic series as an extra, I should note the Injustice comic by Tom Taylor and Jheremy Raapack, as well as the Injustice action figure line.
In the end, Injustice Gods Among Us is a shockingly derivative fighting game that doubles as a big love letter to the fan base of the DC Universe, fueled by enjoyable over-the-top action and a thin story that most people will give no heed. (And it should stay that way.)
FINAL SCORE: ★★★
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(Click on the pictures to be transported to their GameStop articles!)
Well, that was fun! Be sure to tune in next Friday for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak! Oh, and have a radical summer!
Video of the Week: “About Pogo (Nick Bertke)” by Fagottron aka Pogo. You’ve seen some of his amazing videos since they’ve been past Videos of the Week, but learn the story of Pogo in just 9 minutes!
“I love making music. I think it’s the ultimate way to express myself. I can’t imagine how else I would connect with myself and the world around me.” (Poetry.)
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!
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.
Get Ur Game Face On was kinda cheesy, so I decided to make it Game Face instead. Anyway, last month was my birthday (insert applause) and my good friend ND gave me a video game for a present for the 2nd year in a row. Last year he gave me De Blob 2 (which I made a review for), and this year he gave me something that totally outshines that game. Something I’ve been interested in ever since it was announced. Something so epic, it changed my entire concept of how I look at fighting games. Actually, it wasn’t that epic, but it was pretty awesome. Anyway, this game is a true pioneer for its genre in terms of content, providing a unique gaming experience that kept my brother and I playing for hours. To awkwardly change the subject, Capcom is no stranger to crossovers. They’ve buddied up with Namco, SNK, and Marvel over the past few years, and now they’re going where no series has gone before.
The second partnership between Namco and Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken (aka SFXTK) made its public debut in 2010 as an upcoming Darkstalkers game, but was woven into a crossover between two of the fighting genre’s biggest progenitors. Street Fighter made huge waves in the industry for Capcom and Nintendo in 1991 when Street Fighter II became one of the Super Nintendo’s biggest hits. 3 years later, Tekken made its debut for the arcade and original PlayStation, becoming Namco’s biggest streak of fame since Pac-Man. The game’s playing field is very similar to Street Fighter IV with some several notable modifications made, the biggest being that the game allows players to pick teams of two for a tag team match with a tag-in-tag-out style. As a result of this, the game also incorporates a Cross Gauge which works similarly to the EX Gauge of SFIV and allows teams to do “Cross Arts”, basically the game’s Ultra Combos. For the first time since Street Fighter III, Super Arts appear in the game as the replacement for both Super and Ultra Combos, requiring two Cross Gauge bars to pull off (or you can Super Charge certain moves). Speaking of pulling things off, this game has a staggeringly deep storyline that even I wouldn’t have expected.
One of the biggest motifs within SFXTK is Pandora. Pandora is a celestial, cubical object that fell from space into Antarctica like the Russian meteor. The object is an object of no known origin and has left even the wisest of researchers baffled over its purpose. The only thing Pandora is capable of is releasing energy whenever two people come into conflict over the object, giving them more power. Due to the object’s tendencies to evoke human conflict, it was named “Pandora”. But the story doesn’t stop there. Two organizations, one from each series, wants to get their hands on Pandora and its powers: Street Fighter‘s Shadaloo and Tekken‘s Mishima Zaibatsu. In fact, each character gets impacted by Pandora one way or another, especially after beating arcade mode where the game proceeds to tell the ending stories of your characters, obviously influenced by Pandora. This sparked a special mode in the game known as “Pandora Mode” (enabled with down+down+B&Y for Xbox users), where you can sacrifice the combatant you are currently using and give your sidelined fighter a mega power boost! However, albeit Pandora Mode is great to turn the tables, if you misuse it you will be dead in a matter of seconds. Since you have to kill off one of your fighters, that fighter’s vitality constantly decreases by the second as a time limit, and the game will call “time over” if you fail to defeat your opponent in time. You will automatically lose.
Another new thing in SFXTK is the Gem Unit. Gem Units are kind of like player cards in UMvC3, as you must do something like escape a throw or block a certain amount of times to use them. When you receive a gem, your body glows a certain color depending on which gem you have. Attack gems are red and increase the user’s power. Defense gems are yellow and increase the user’s defense, or decrease the damage of attacks. Speed gems are green and increase the user’s speed. Cross gauge gems are blue and increase the rate of a cross gauge’s filling, or decrease the rate that it’s consumed. Vitality gems are orange and can bring back players’ vitality either gradually or instantly. Assist gems are purple and do stuff like make special attacks easier to pull off or have your character auto-block.
PRESENTATION: The game has an eyebrow-raising number of deep story feats that make plot lines more conspicuous and help string the crossover together. How we see every character interact with Pandora in their own special way makes it seem like everyone’s still in the same universe. I have to admit, when I first found out about SFXTK‘s storyline a few months before the game hit stores, I was rather skeptical. It made no sense to me at the time and looked like something I would make up for a story idea. However, when I play the game and see all these connections, it makes more sense to me. (9.5/10)
VISUALS: The game’s graphics are drop-dead gorgeous, with detailed character models, bright and vivid stage scenery, eye-popping moves, and humorous bundles of personality. In some levels like the Mishima Estate or the Jurassic Era Research Facl., characters even jump down to the next level below them to continue the fight, which bumps up the game’s intrigue and fluidity. However, I don’t find it cool that this game has to jump on the gratuitous jiggling bandwagon that so many fighting games have paved. Also, I believe the cameraman is slightly perverse, as shots of female characters’ butts and lady parts are abundant, especially with characters like Cammy and Poison. (10/10)
SOUND: Besides the game’s dynamic voice acting, X Tekken has some of the best music I’ve heard in a fighting game, considering it’s from Capcom’s legendary composer Hideyuki Fukasawa. Fukasawa’s composed and arranged stellar music for other Capcom fighting games like MvC3 and Street Fighter IV (including the updates of the games), and this game hits the summit of his talent. Different stages have different tunes to set different moods, and all of these work together to make an enhanced environment. Antarctica has a catchy, fast-paced sound that makes you feel tense and excited–considering there’s a gigantic mammoth chasing you in the background. Stages like Mishima Estate and Pit Stop 109 have different tunes for different rounds, which keep things fresh and conserved. In the end, Fukasawa has composed yet another winning soundtrack that’s gonna be burrowed into my brain for I don’t know how long. However, in terms of dialogue, the game has some sprinkled profanity at the proportions of MvC3. (10/10)
GAMEPLAY: When I first played this game, I found myself immersed into a world with lots of content to offer. The game had an even mix between Street Fighter characters and Tekken characters, unraveling great connections between certain combatants (via dialogue) and a steady learning curve about each character’s backdrop in the arcade mode. The fighting of the game is fast like Tekken, but fluid like Street Fighter, enabling players to switch fighters out in the middle of a hot combo and keep on juggling without skipping a beat. Like Tekken Tag Tournament and unlike UMvC3, the round is put to an end when only one of your fighters is KO’ed, which makes fighting a bit more smooth. However, the game makes no good use of button mashing like Street Fighter would, as the key to fluid combos is a bit of planning in advance. Also, my brother has spotted various bugs within the game, such as how a character would jump forward when he tried to block. In fact, the entire SFXTK gamer community has gotten upset over these bugs. Furthermore, the game’s AI when playing on medium or medium-hard is frustratingly rusty, from jab spams to unblockable hits. (9/10)
EXTRAS: When you don’t feel like fighting, there’s tons of things you can do in X Tekken. You can customize the colors of your characters’ custom outfits, edit gem units for select fighters, check out your player data, do missions, or edit your battle profile–that’s basically the title and comment you had in Street Fighter IV. And with Xbox Live, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. (10/10)
DLC: X Tekken (oh, that sounds a lot better) has offered a handful of Street Fighter and Tekken characters that must be downloaded to be playable. All downloadable Street Fighter characters are Sakura, Blanka, Guy, Cody, Dudley, and Elena. (She’s a Kenyan character from Street Fighter III, in case you don’t know her.) All downloadable Tekken characters are Lars, Alisa, Bryan, Jack-X, Christie, and Lei. (Sorry folks, no Eddy here. ) On the PS3 version of the game, there are many more exclusive characters you can play as: Sony’s Japanese mascots Toro and Kuro, alongside Infamous‘ Cole and 80s arcade heroes Mega Man and Pac Man. (It’s funny because Mega Man’s from Capcom and Pac Man’s from Namco.) The game sparked a controversy when fans realized that on-disc characters can only be used by paying more, at which Capcom replied that they had done this to save hard drive space. Another center of criticism was that online tag-team matches were unavailable for the Xbox, and Capcom said that they refused to make a patch for this. Well, that sucks beans. (8/10)
FINAL VERDICT: Street Fighter X Tekken is a great game that stands out among tons of other fighting games, with unique elements, a deep story, and the like. However, problems in the game from bugs to controversies to online issues pull the game away from its potential, but still don’t do enough damage to make it anything less or more than a general doozy of a fighter. Hopefully the upcoming Tekken X Street Fighter will fix these problems.
FINAL SCORE: Street Fighter X Tekken gets a 56.5/60 score, which equals a 93% score aka an A.
So, d’ya like my new Game Face layout? Do you have any games you want me to opinionate? Contact me in the comments below or at my G+ (“Sam Mwak”), and you could be responsible for the next review! Anyway, until next time, stay tuned for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!
Stay classy America,
Video of the Week: If there’s one issue I’ve had in the past, it’s my allergies. Being allergic to eggs, shrimp, and nuts rules out cookies, cake, and the like. However, there are many people out there who question allergies’ existence, and ponder about why our bodies must react that way to eating or even being in contact with foods like nuts and pollen. However, our ole pal Tobuscus is here to deliver his fifth rant on that very topic: “Why do allergies exist?” If you’ve had allergy problems in the past, tell me your story in the comments below. But otherwise, enjoy the video!