Video game sequels are some of the most anticipated products in the market. They can be more anticipated than television premiers and sell more than blockbuster movies. Franchise games like Halo, or Grand Theft Auto are among the more popular, and more highly anticipated, video game sequels. Both have released games that have broken all sorts of records for video game sales. The first day these games were on the market they made more money than record-setting movie Spiderman 3, and more money than record-setting book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The problem is some games are billed as sequels when they’re nothing more than expansions. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is one of these games. The game was a lot of fun, it was beautiful looking, and it had a good amount of playable characters and a great storyline. I enjoyed playing it a lot, but it felt too simple. There was very little added to the game that wasn’t in the first one. The customizable aspects and powers gained on each level were watered down a bit, but the way to use your character was a little simpler. The graphics were better and the camera movement was much better, but all of this basically makes the game seem very similar to the first, with a different story.
I enjoyed the storyline; I went out and started reading the Civil War comic books that it was based on. There is a choice that has to be made in the game that branches it into two separate set of levels before they reconnect later, which gives the game a pretty good replay value. The cast of characters is nice, but there are always more superheroes you can add. It’s neat to be able to control some of the supervillians in this game, due to the nature of the Civil War story line.
Another troubling trend in video games is the remake. This seems to happen more often with Nintendo and the Wii. A couple of weeks ago I picked up Wii Punch Out!! which is a remake of the old Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on the NES. The game, obviously, has superior graphics. It has the benefit of modern controls and animation. Even some modern day toasters have more power than the NES system. All this makes for a very nice game. However, the problem is that anyone interested in the game is probably only interested in it for nostalgia’s sake. It doesn’t contain a ton of new content. It almost felt like cheating, because I knew all the tips and tricks to play the game.
This isn’t all bad. You can get a lot of enjoyment out of playing a game spruced up from an old classic. Franchises such as Madden NFL, NHL 2K10 or MLB: The Show release what is basically the same game every year and do wonderfully. The difference is that these games put a lot of work into doing what they can to be at the forefront of video game development. These sports franchise games, unlike other remakes like Punch Out!!, know they have to make people want to buy a game that is basically the same game they bought a year ago. Keeping up with one of these games is like tracking the evolution of the video game industry as they add new features and better graphics and utilize everything they can think of. MLB: The Show added weather to their games, Madden 10 introduced an online franchise mode and improved tackles. The graphics and animation get better every year, and they’re getting to the point that at first glance you could think you’re actually watching the real thing. The Madden franchise doing this for 20 years suggests that remakes, if done properly, can be very successful.
Video games have taken huge strides in the entertainment industry over the last decade, competing with many of the other top products. With the market and technology available to them only growing video games will continue to be a top seller. Whether it’s remakes, franchises, sequels, or expansions, people are buying them at record rates.
Some of you may be familiar with Penny Arcade, and online comic based on the adventures of Gabe and Tycho, two gamer dudes who pretty much do nothing more than glorified gamer things. This is my third year in a row, and I found that PAX had a lot to offer this year.
Here are some of the highlights.
Blizzard Entertainment has their Starcraft and World of Warcraft booths up. No surprise there. Their new version of Diablo is drawing quite a crowd, which is also not a surprise.
Nexon has three really cool games displayed that are all free to download: Dragon Nest, D ungeon Fighter, and an FPS game called Combat Arms.
Speaking of completely free, I also got a chance to try out Faunasphere, a browser based game where characters make pets called Faunas and put them in a Faunasphere. It’s a lot like other browser-based pet games out there, but not as cutsey-wutsey as Facebook’s Pet Society.
The Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) has a booth that is all draped off with elegant translucent curtains and elaborate dƒÂ©cor. It almost makes me want to join them, especially for $20.00 a month. It is good for almost $300 worth of savings on video games, as well as a chance to hang around and eat snack food.
CDV has their DS games which include I Love (with a heart) Geeks and My Little Baby. It also has PC games Divinity II and Serious Sam HD.
Turbine games is proud to be displaying D&D Online. I believe I covered much of this in a previous article.
2K Games has some sort of display that has this odd room that everyone is searching through. BioShock II and a new game called Borderlands is the big draw, though.
PAX often has a lot of energy drinks that are free to try. One of them is called Healing Potion from Mana. It comes in a fancy bottle like the one from Shrek 2, but it takes awful, like cough syrup. I feel less than healed. Another is some new non-carbonated ones from the Jones soda company. The Jones’ drinks are an improvement, but nothing that I would buy. Omni Consumer has a product called Tru Blood, which is supposed to be a fruit drink that looks like blood. I believe there is some vampire show in which characters drink this stuff, and this is actually what the actors drink. Who would have thought that Tru Blood would taste so delicious?
Nintendo has all the bells and whistles in effect, with the highlight being the displays of the new version of Super Mario Brothers for the Wii.
Disney Interactive has Split Second, which looks like a run-of-the-mill racing game. Not really what I would expect from the Mouse House. Pretty soon they’ll have Marvel-related games, thanks to that acquisition thing.
Sony’s PS3 display prominently features God of War, Ratchet and Clank: Future, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and an Eyepet, which uses augmented reality to make a virtual pet come to life.
EA’s booth makes you wonder what they don’t have. Some of the newest are The Saboteur, Army of Two, Dead Space Extraction, two Need for Speed games (Shift and Nitro), and a new Nerf game. Not to mention the Dante’s Inferno game that allows you to enter hell.
NC Soft has not one, not two, but three booths based on their successful franchises like City of Heroes, Aion, and Guild Wars 2. They also have some time to devote to Star Trek Online and Champions Online.
Bethesda is devoting much of their time sharing about Brink, a very Splinter Cell-ish looking game. Other games include Wet and Rogue Warrior.
FunCom has their barbarian fantasy MMO Age of Conan display set up. They also have another MMO game going on called The Secret World which takes place in modern times involving a global conspiracy.
As for iHarmonix, two words: Rock Band. Beatles Rock Band was on display prominently, and it looks very good. Fans could rock along with the Fab Four for one of the first times. Also on deck was Lego Rock Band, which uses bricks for the little bars that scroll upward.
Capcom had some interesting offerings with Lost Planet 2 (or Lost Planet Squared, depending if you read the 2 as an exponent or an actual number 2), Spyborgs, and Dark Void. The real draw was the new Resident Evil game.
Runic/Perfect World had an interesting downloadable game known as Torchlight which looked quite interesting. It involves you going into a dungeon and kicking butt, sort of like Gauntlet back in the day.
Phantom EFX had one of the most creative games that I have seen in a while with Darkest of Days, a first-person shooter that involves time travel.
THQ had this odd promotion for their DarkRiders game that consisted of a horse known as Ruin that was a mechanical bull that attendees could ride. Quite a draw for that, and you had to sign a waiver to ride it.
Stardock was up to their old tricks with Sins of a Solar Empire, and some new tricks with Elemental and Impulse.
CCP had their usual EVE Online fare displayed, not much new there.
WB games had Scribblenauts, which is easily one of the most original games that I have seen in a while. In the game you play a character that has to gather up stars in this virtual world. To succeed in your goal, you write you want. For example, if you want a ladder, just write ladder and one will appear. I am told it can do almost all nouns.
Flying Labs, makers of the Pirates of the Burning Sea MMO, were there in full pirate garb, using cannons to fire T-shirts into the crowd. Nothing new there.
Alienware this odd set up for that made you feel like you were in a UFO. They even had a bunch of booth people that were dressed like the Men in Black.
Ubisoft had their new Splinter Cell prominently on display, but I liked the Wii game known simply as Just Dance where you just dance. All the player needs to do is dance like the guy on the screen.
Nvidia and Zalman showed off their 3D emulators. There was a booth where attendees could see a preview of the new Avatar game (based off the upcoming James Cameron movie) that showed off its 3D as well. Yeah, I think 3D is just getting bigger.
So, if you have never been to a video game conference, this is what you have missed.
Sony launched a major offensive in the console war this week with a number of big announcements. During a presentation at the GamesCom 2009 event in Cologne, Germany they unveiled the new slim PlayStation 3 and talked about their plans for the platform. There have been suggestions that Sony are lagging behind Nintendo and Microsoft in the battle for gamers and this package of products and updates is clearly an attempt to redress the balance.
The Wii and the Xbox 360 have been outselling the much more expensive PlayStation 3 and Sony has resisted any price drop. Back in June they claimed to be happy with their price point, which even then represented a loss on every console sold. With pressure to stimulate the market amid falling sales they have finally made a move. The new version of their popular console heralds the long awaited price drop and the 120 GB machine will cost $299 in the US, ¢â€šÂ¬299 in Europe and £249 in the UK. By comparison the 120 GB Xbox 360 Elite remains priced at $399.
The new PlayStation 3 slim is 33% smaller and 36% lighter than the old PS3. The interior has undergone a complete redesign and the console will use less energy and operate more quietly than the old model. In fact power consumption has been cut to two-thirds the previous level and as a result the machine does not heat up so much so there is less need for noisy fan operation.
The console looks sleeker and more attractive than ever and the visual redesign has also seen the logo change to lower case and a matte, textured finish instead of a shiny one. It supports Wi-Fi out of the box, it has two USB ports and you can access the hard drive from the front and upgrade more easily than with the previous iteration. In fact you can now upgrade the hard drive without voiding the warranty. The old 80 GB and 160 GB models will now be phased out.
If you are looking for a downside then perhaps you could point to the lack of backwards compatibility for PlayStation 2 games, although it can run PlayStation 1 games. You also can’t store the PlayStation 3 slim vertically unless you buy a stand and they have ditched the option to install another operating system.
Sony didn’t rest there and the announcements continued with a big firmware update for the PlayStation 3 platform. PS3 Firmware 3.0 adds some useful menu updates which make navigation on the console a bit smoother with easier access to the store and a redesigned friends list. There are a few new cosmetic updates as well which allow animated themes and the option of new avatars for your profile. Most exciting for UK gamers is the support for BBC iPlayer. There is also a new video on demand movie rental service offering HD and SD movies due to launch in November.
These new developments look set to take advantage of the superior capabilities of the PS3 and technically speaking it is by far the best console of the current generation. The PS3 supports Blu-ray playback, it offers 1080p HDMI output, integrated wireless, free online support and a 120 GB upgradeable hard drive. The firmware update will combine with a big redesign of their online Home space where companies are now looking to establish an online presence.
The new offensive was not limited to the console space and Sony had news for the handheld market as well. The PSP Go was unveiled back in June. It is a smaller, slide open version of the PSP handheld. At GamesCom Sony announced that they will be launching a mini-game store for the machine and gamers will be able to download casual games which are under 100 MB in size. They also plan to launch a reader for the PSP which will allow people to read full length novels on it and the video on demand service due to launch in November will be extended to the PSP as well. To round things off it will be available in some funky colors.
There are obvious moves here to beat Microsoft on price and also to challenge Nintendo on accessibility and the casual gamer market. Sony is uniquely placed to capture hardcore and casual gamers and their PS3 console is truly an entertainment center. If consumers were to shop for a Blu-ray player with internet surfing capabilities and access to streaming video on demand they would be hard pressed to find a device cheaper than the PlayStation 3 and it offers gaming as well. Perhaps with this new design and all important price drop we’ll see the console really take off at last.
Last week, when I reported that Turbine was allowing people to play Dungeons and Dragons Online for free, I only briefly mentioned the negative press that Role-Playing Games received in the early eighties and late nineties.
As a kid who used to play D&D and other role playing games, I heard stories of people who committed suicide when their Player Characters had died, and I didn’t really give it much thought. However, when many Christian groups began to equate the game as some portal into Satanism, I often wondered if they were talking about the same Dungeons and Dragons game.
I remember reading one Christian pamphlet that was supposed to be an expose on RPGs, but some of the information in it was just plain wrong. I mean, it said that the He-man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. I’m sure there are a lot of geeks out there now who are thinking: oh come on! Do your research.
I’m sure the person who wrote that pamphlet just didn’t get their facts straight. There was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon that ran for about two seasons. They probably just heard that there was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, and just simply assumed that the He-man cartoon was it. It’s an honest mistake, but it shows how much conservative groups never actually researched, much less played the RPGs that they criticized.
There must have been some sort of anti-D&D bandwagon that was happening, and those who never played the game were creating a boycott for those who played the game. In the same manner, gamers who heard the argument against RPGs could not accept the facts as given any more than I did.
The alienation of RPG gaming eventually led to a very strong gamer counter-culture which is no doubt the target audience of most MMO and other RPG video games of today. Still, there seems to be a strong pervasive stereotype that says that gamers are guys who still live in their mother’s basements, and are completely incapable of living in any reality that is real.
For this reason, gaming continues to have a negative slant in today’s media. There is yet to be a movie based on a video game that has been a huge success, and most video games portrayed in movies tend to be negative. That is, you always see the geek characters playing them while the cooler characters apparently have better things to do.
Another negative portrayal is due out this Fall that is simply called Gamer. It takes place in a future world where gamers can somehow play other people, like puppets, apparently. Their puppets are actual prisoners put in violent scenarios, and the public just sits back and watches. Think of it a better version of The Running Man, but it has Gerard Butler instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yes, Gamer confirms all of our fears about video games taking over the world, turning into a hellish place. Once again, the video game industry gets another bad spotlight since The Ultimate Gamer. Could someone make a film that put video games in a positive light? Something that isn’t like The Wizard, which was some huge ad for Nintendo. You know, video games do inspire people once in a while. Every thought about doing a film about that, Hollywood?
E3, the biggest gaming convention in the world, has recently had its annual meeting at the Convention Center in L.A.. The gaming companies love to make their big announcements at this time, and here is a list of what they have been holding out on the gaming crowd.
Xbox 360 News
- The open-world action game Crackdown will have a sequel, appropriately named Crackdown 2. Like its predecessor, it is only available for the Xbox 360.
- Mass Effect 2 will be out in early 2010 for the PC and Xbox 360.
- Accept no substitutions, the one and only Jack Black will star in Brutal Legend. Jack is a roadie in this game, who must battle demons for some reason. It is available for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and will also star Lemmy Kilmeister and Ozzy Osbourne.
- Put out an APB on APB, a game available for the PC and Xbox 360 where the gamer plays a gang member.
- One of the bigger announcements was Project Natal, Microsoft’s answer to the Wiimote. This is a camera and microphone that mounts on the television that can sense motion, three-dimensional movement, and sound. This controller that requires nothing but the user was introduced by none other than Steven Spielberg.
Nintendo Wii News
- Red Steel 2 is due out for the Wii, and will make full use of the MotionPlus.
- For the first time, Super Mario Brothers will be available to play on the Wii. A sequel to Super Mario Galaxy is also coming.
- WiiFit Plus and Wii Sports Resort are two sequels that encourage Wii gamers to be more active.
- Dead Space Extraction is a prequel to the popular science-fiction M-rated game. This one appears to be available only for the Wii and is due out September 29th.
Nintendo DS News
- Nintendo DS users will have a unique gaming experience with Women’s Murder Club: Game of Passion. This is based on James Patterson’s novels, and I believe this had a series, didn’t it?
- Other new DS titles include Kingdom Hearts, Mario and Luigi: Bower’s Inside Story (Fall 2009), and Golden Sun DS (2010).
Sony PS3 News
- God of War 3 is slated to hit the PS3 very soon.
- PS3 titles to be released will be Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Assassin’s Creed 2. Believe it or not, Final Fantasy XIV is under development, exclusively for the PS3.
- PS3 is also developing a motion-sensitive controller similar to the Project Natal from Microsoft.
Sony PSP News
- PSP Go has finally been made official. The Go is smaller, has a slide-up screen, and no UMD drive.
- PSP games to be released include racing game Gran Turismo and a few others. For example, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker should be available for PSP in 2010.
Multiple Platform News
- Tony Hawk made a personal appearance for Tony Hawk Ride, which Zmogo has already reported on in a previous article.
- In case you haven’t heard, Beatles Rock Band will be released on 09.09.09.
- Lost Planet 2 will soon be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
- While we are on the subject of those three platforms and sequels, Dead Rising 2 will also be available soon.
Apparently, the new Ghostbusters video game isn’t enough ghosts for gamers, as Swedish developer A Different Game announced a new kind of ghost game with Ghostwire.
The game is an augmented reality game designed for the Nintendo DSi. For those of you who are not familiar with augmented reality, you should know this: do not use the terms augmented reality and virtual reality interchangeably.
According to Search CIO, Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. Augmented Reality is a type of virtual reality that aims togenerate a composite view for the user that is the combination of the real scene viewed by the user and a virtual scene generated by the computer that augments the scene with additional information. (Definition obtained from Webopedia.)
When I was at CES last January, I saw a demonstration of Augmented Reality from a company called Total Immersion. A TI representative took a K’nex box and waved it front of the webcam. The image on the screen was the box, but a digital effect of the assembled K’nex model floating above it. Special sensors within the box allowed the image to be manipulated in 3-D space by simply moving the box. It was easily the coolest thing that I found at CES.
The augmented reality program in Ghostwire allows a player to use their DSi camera to look a around a room for ghosts. Think of it as a portal to the astral plane to find and collect ghosts that exist all around. The game will even use the microphone so you can hear them. From there, the gamer uses the touchscreen to figure out why the ghost is haunting the world.
Many of my sources compare this game to Ghost Hunters, that SCI-FI channel show which gets as much flack as Crossing Over did a few years ago.
However, I think a better comparison would be made to the hit M. Night Shyamalan flim The Sixth Sense. It’s hard to believe that the I see dead people film is a decade old this year, but if the studio had ever wanted to make a television series out of this now-classic movie, then it would be a lot like Ghostwire.
Man, I’m really surprised that those crazy TV network execs didn’t ever try something like that. I mean, they made My Big Fat Greek Life for crying out loud. I personally would have enjoyed a series about a little kid who has to figure out what the ghosts in his life want. Of course, they already have Medium and Ghost Whisperer.
Those shows are pretty popular, so why not create a game where the player can interact with the citizens of the hereafter from a first-person point-of-view?
Ghostwire seems to be one of several games that have been coming out that involve much interactivity on the gamer’s part, but usually involve some sort of accessory. In the case of Ghostwire, the DSi allows the use of augmented reality brings the player into the game, which should be the goal of the entire video game industry for the future.
Obviously, there is a notable disparity going on. Take-Two released “Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, the newest game in the series about a month ago for Nintendo DS. The game has sold fewer than 90,000 units per the recent sales stats. For people unfamiliar with the gradation of game sales numbers, I will simplify: the game bombed big!
It has been intriguing to observe the many theories on why the game failed. It’s largely believed that it was a mistake to release a game with so much adult content, such as “GTA: Chinatown Wars”, on a primarily youth based platform, such as the Nintendo DS. I don’t know if I am in agreement. By looking at the numbers we can assume there at least a few million DS systems out amongst the people. There would still be a group of “core” gamers in excess of 6 million in the U.S. even if we say that they account for only 20% of the Nintendo DS audience. I believe it comes down to an issue of incompatible brands.
Consider, for instance, that Coca-Cola ventured into the wine producing industry. And imagine if Coca-Cola actually turned out a magnificent wine that was lauded by scores of wine judges to be one of the best wines in recent years. This wine would still be a failure considering that the brand characteristics for Coca-Cola lie on the opposite end of the spectrum from an expensive cabernet sauvignon. I believe it is much the same thing that is happening in this case. “GTA” fans love the feel of gaming in the video city, the amazing graphics, the edgy dialogue and quick action gun scenes. The Nintendo DS appeals to fans of inventive strategy and gameplay for convenient, portable gaming. The two just don’t match up.
If Take-Two would have not relied upon the already established brand power of “GTA”, it would not have been so simple for consumers to decide their opinion of the game without ever playing it. If the company would have taken some time to develop a clean palate for the game instead of just plugging back into what everyone already imagined, results would have quite different. To further complicate things, there was very little opportunity to demo the DS version of the game thus making consumers preconceived perception of the game that much stronger. With this in mind, it is very possible that Nintendo DSi will attempt to remedy this for future game releases.
Unfortunately, a possible result of the failure of Nintendo DS’s version of “GTA” may be continued pressure on game companies to think inside the box. This incident can stand alone and need not continue the call for conformity. It is indeed disturbing how at ease the gaming industry has become with separating its users into the two “core” and “casual” camps.
With the help of ‘smartclients,’ gaming may be the leader into computing’s future.
The tech world is currently dislocated. The gaming market is fragmented and the PC concept seems to have no clear direction or leader. Developers and users want a return back to a simpler time where one device could be used for multiple functions instead of a collection of new, complicated devices that are incompatible with everything else.
One possible solution to gaming’s problems, Onlive, was announced last month. Onlive would utilize a private cloud to link up and deliver content, mostly video games. But as for everything else, it’s currently up for grabs between Microsoft and Google and computing’s next big move, called “3rd Rebirth.”
The idea of a small device that could very well handle a selection of single tasks was introduced by iPhone. Apple is rumored to be in the netbook game, and HP is supposedly in development with an Android powered netbook. The system composed of a small, inexpensive device connected with a back-end computing service could be coming to fruition with the second half of the system being handled by a private cloud.
VMware (NYSE: VMW), EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) are companies that are currently showcasing the private cloud concept. The private cloud concept has the cost advantages of cloud computing with the addition of being much more secure, reliable and contained.
The next generation of computing may likely be defined by the operating systems war that will touch off between Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Of course Microsoft and Apple are vastly more established, but have current OS that must avoid doing battle with the new OS they develop. This cannibalization process may end up evening the field for Google.
Introducing the SmartClient:
Google’s initial offering isn’t expected until 2010. It will be a cross between thin clients and PCs, defined here as “smartclients”.
It has been largely believed that back-end performance would be inadequate for today’s market, but with the consolidation of various platforms that is underway, starting with gaming, this may no longer be the case.
Solving Gaming’s Problems:
Gaming’s first cycle came to an end with Atari being the last one standing. It was soon overwhelmed with low-quality games. For a short period there was one platform that everyone could focus on.
With PC gaming consistently falling short, game consoles have flourished under Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Sony and Nintendo spawned smaller versions and there were 5 gaming platforms with a new one said to be on the way. In this system bridging 2 platforms with 1 game is near impossible.
The PC never seemed to get into the gaming world. There was hope that the PC would eventually displace the consoles, but it has never materialized. PCs and gaming systems have very different sets of strengths and weaknesses that remain in place today.
Enter the ‘SmartClient’:
Despite Apple’s avoidance of gaming, it has been the iPhone model that is currently drawing the majority of the gaming buzz. More so that both PCs and gaming systems.
The situation has not been beneficial for anyone. Developers and users all must gamble when producing and buying consoles and games on what will be the other’s choice. It has been inefficient, but it has continued to seem to be what both consumers and developers want.
Is the ‘smartclient’ the answer?
It has long been believed that evolution would go the way of PCs, and eventually TVs would be on their way out. Over time though, it seems to be going the opposite direction.
Google appears to be betting on TVs in the race in an attempt to displace Microsoft. It is depending on the development of devices that are similar to smartphones and TVs instead of the PC direction.
The computing Renaissance:
But Google will be dependant upon the new presence of the private cloud. Without it, smartclient-like devices will be relatively limited and unable to give the performance needed to compete with the PCs.
Onlive should be the first major test of whether or not the performance expected from a PC can be achieved through a smartclient type of device. If it is successful, it could possibly change gaming forever by making the gaming systems and PC gaming completely obsolete. We then would be able to have an appliance-like device complete with PC capabilities. With this we should be into the aforementioned 3rd rebirth of computers.
As of now the current crop of netbooks would be unable to make the impact necessary to start the push to the next level.
The ‘CloneCloud’ by Intel:
But the concept ‘CloneCloud’ has just been introduced. This would provide the ability to mirror the virtual polymorphic image of a low-powered desktop device, like a netbook, in the cloud, and sync the two constantly. This will provide a full on PC-type of experience, with the benefit of private cloud-type assistance. This would allow for a new world of tasks that wouldn’t even require the client PC to be turned on; only the virtual client running. You could then be able to switch between running a high level game, transcoding a movie while the third was running an intensive virus scan.
It’s hard to predict the future, especially in the tech world, but massive change is coming in the near to immediate future… Are you ready?
Gameplay: Brutally Awesome
Graphics: Black, White & Red.
Sound: As fun and nauseating as the world’s greatest roller coaster.
Length and Replayability: If it were any longer, you wouldn’t be able to handle it.
There, you got your review. Now I’m going to talk about the game.
Before playing Madworld, I expected a throwback to the old arcade brawlers of Final Fight and Double Dragon. Now that I have played through the game, I realize that Madworld is more like that old Simpsons arcade game with a dash of sadistic style sprinkled on top.
In The Simpsons arcade game, you would wander through side-scrolling levels while performing beat-downs countless enemies with the plethora of weapons you would find along your journey. Killing a man with a skateboard or a lead pipe was the cool thing to do back in the day, but Madworld has updated the Simpson arsenal to reflect a more modern blood thirst with chainsaws, piranhas, jet turbines, and spiky objects. Even the after level challenges of the Simpsons arcade game ( does pumping up a Krusty The Clown hot air-balloon ring any bells for ya? ) have been reimagined into the deliciously deadly Bloodbath Challenges.
I spent many quarters fighting through the streets of Springfield, USA. Every time I enter an arcade I search for the off-blue console decorated with the Simpsons family and doughnuts, but it’s been years since I’ve seen it last. Madworld has fulfilled that desire, because it is The Simpsons arcade game placed in a world that is half Sin City and half Mad Max.
Jack (the guy you kill things with) is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Little else is more satisfying than ripping men to pieces and turning them into a bloody batter while your friends sit around you and throw out constant ooohs and aahhhs. It’s not that they are awestruck by an amazing game, it’s that they are flabbergasted at the amount of gore and punishment you are able to achieve. Their dynamic responses are targeted at what you, the gamer, can accomplish. By playing Jack, you grab center stage and become a performer– whipping out as many wicked and vicious attacks as you can before you finally take the life of another deserving victim, and you do it all for the crowd.
Not that it’s all about entertaining the viewers, there is plenty of excitement for the gamer to take part in as well. The cold-blooded killing never gets tiresome ( I actually severed my Wiimote and Nunchuk connection once while trying to perform a gesture that would have eviscerated a two-tone lackey with a gigantic pair of blades), the bosses and mini-bosses are terrifying and tough, and I know that there are so many areas and weapons I missed on my first play-through that I’m going to have to play it again just to try them out.
All the little stuff is great, by the way. The Wiimote gestures aren’t gimmicky at all; they’re reserved for only the most extreme violence and work very well. The voices are done by the guy that voiced Bender on Futurama, that one guy with the glasses from Who’s Line is it Anyway? (not Drew Carey, the other one), and the rest are all very stylistic and fit well within their world.
Other than that, I really don’t know what to tell ya. It’s a game that really needs to be played to be understood. Videos and reviews really don’t do it justice, you need to play the game in front of a bunch of friends to get the most out of it.
I’m actually going to turn on my Wii right now and play some more Man Darts, I just can’t get that challenge down yet. Wish me luck!
I have some young children, and I really don’t like it when they play with the DVD player or the Nintendo Wii. I guess I’m afraid that they will break them, but I’ve seen them tamper with these devices plenty of times, and they still work properly. The other day, when my wife wanted to do a round on the WiiFit, she found that in the Wii was a DVD copy of the film My Best Friend’s Wedding.
I couldn’t help but laugh, not just because the DVD shouldn’t have been there, but how hysterical it would be if My Best Friend’s Wedding was a video game. What would it be like? Would it be a platform, where you play Julia Roberts, trying to destroy Dermot Mulroney’s chance at lifetime happiness? Maybe it should be a First Person Shooter with Cameron Diaz as the final boss?
Yeah, chick flicks are lousy subject matter for video games, but someone has thought that Grey’s Anatomy would make a terrific video game. Yes, you can play any Grey’s Anatomy character, and go through a series of obstacles that in the life of a soap opera doctor.
Most of the game is set up like your typical Grey’s episode. The player actually gets to do a little bit of surgery as well, which can be accomplished with a little bit of Wiimote or mouse action, or if you’re playing it on the PC. The game is T rated, so don’t expect too much gore here. I’m guessing that an M rating would probably shy away the target audience, which are probably die-hard Grey’s fans.
Since most of these Grey’s fans are female, is this the beginning of a new era of video games, targeted for the female crowd, and based upon chick-flick genres of television and movies. I could think of five or so that I would like to propose to any game developer for free.
The Nanny Diaries
Can Annie Braddock survive in the X’s family, taking care of Grayer without becoming too attached to him? Find out as you play a Type C Nanny going through several mini-games, including Avoid Mr. X’s Butt-Grabbing Hand.
In this game, you play Abigail Breslin’s cute little character, on a quest to find your true Mom. You encounter your potential mother in three different environments. Which one of the three mothers is it, and is Ryan Reynolds completely lying to you?
Legally Blonde: Road to the White House
Since Reese Witherspoon is an Oscar winner, and does not need to do another one of these flicks, why not release the third of the franchise in video game format, and find some other person that actually sounds like Elle Woods to play her. Also, since the last movie ended with Elle looking at the White House, why not have a video game devoted to it? I suppose that the game would be a combination of Political Machine and whatever the last Barbie game was.
Is it possible for someone could complete love and then forget all about it? In this platform game, you play the older Allie Calhoun reconstructing her memories on many intricate levels in order to write that title notebook.
The Devil Wears Prada
In this game, Anne Hathaway deals with Meryl Streep, the easy way. I’m not talking about tossing her mobile device in a fountain in France, but she’ll be plugging the evil editor with a choice of an arsenal of weapons.
Sex and the City
I’m almost surprised that someone hasn’t already invented a game based off this HBO franchise. If the game gets really graphic, they can slap an M rating on it and men will buy it too.
Yes, video games are the way of uniting the genders.