Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gundam Memories: Tatakai no Kioku [Half-Review]

You may have noticed that I'm calling this a half-review. Well that's because I haven't completed the game, and I don't plan to. I can also summarize the entire game rather briefly because the game itself is barely a full game anyway. The game is in japanese, but menus are all in english and you don't need to know anything else because the game is as straight-forward as Tetris. Basically, its import-friendly.

I had very high hopes for this game, mainly because of the gorgeous cel-shaded graphics and the selection of playable Gundam. These things were obviously pretty easy to get right, and certainly they did. The cel-shaded Gundam 3D models are indeed pretty impressive, though its considerably fuzzier and lower resolution than the screenshots would have you believe. Unfortunately, that's as far as the pros for this game go.

Environments are bland; you'll mostly be seeing empty space, with nothing but black and stars. We get it, space is pretty black and empty, but god damn it, they use that as an excuse to put absolutely no effort into creating vivid environments. They could have created some pretty impressive cutscenes with those cel-shaded models, but they don't bother with that obviously. Story is just half-assed re-tellings of each featured Gundam series in Super Robot Wars style. What I mean by that is, its still-pictures of the characters chatting it up with never-ending dialogue. You'd best skip all this because its boring, a waste of time, and you probably can't read Japanese anyway.

Well, if the visuals are bland and the story is near non-existent, at least we have the variety in missions right? No you idiot, are you joking? Every single missions consists of "Destroy All Enemies! Mission Complete!". I'm not kidding. Start mission, shoot and slash mindlessly, end mission. This is why you don't need to read any Japanese; nothing ever changes. You turn the game on, go to the only game mode besides the multiplayer modes, and you'll find a list of missions. That's how straightforward it is. But that's enough of that.

Who cares about all of this, ALL of this, if you have fun, flashy gameplay?! That mentality often flies, but not in this case! Somehow, they ACTUALLY managed to fuck up the gameplay too! The one thing it could have had going for it. The gameplay is the typical fly and shoot format you'll find in absolutely every Gundam game in existence. But unlike games like Another Century's Episode, where the gameplay is actually fun and responsive, the gameplay in Gundam Memories is stiff and just total bullshit. A classic strategy is to maneuver side to side while shooting, but in this game you are stopped dead when you shoot. This means your maneuvers are completely restricted, and you'll find yourself immobile and open to all kinds of damage while you're trying to shoot your RANGED weapon.

There is also a dedicated block button, for melee battles. But the whole concept is bullshit and it doesn't work at all. There's no way of detecting enemy movement, and it just becomes a total mash-fest that requires no skill whatsoever. Overall, the game is stiff and frustrating. You'll likely find yourself retrying missions over and over again because all of these stupid limitations will prevent you from playing the game properly. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there are quick time events! Yep, every now and then you'll enter a little quick time event and you have to time a button press. While they actually manage to show off the Gundam visuals, its completely unnecessary and just interrupts your flow.

Overall, Gundam Memories is a total disappointment and not worth your time at all. The first thing I noticed when I got this game was that it was only 300mb. Normally, proper PSP titles are at least 1gb, so it striked me as a bit odd. But now I understand why. There is no fucking content in this game. No cutscenes, no extra game modes, no expansive or remotely interesting environments, nothing. It's just a couple of pretty, cel-shaded Gundams, and that's about it. Ugh, I'm just so utterly disappointment. I guess I was expecting too much. Still, it wouldn't be wrong to say that Gundam Memories is just.plain.awful.

[C.Jin's Overall Score:  3/10]


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gary Muthafucking Oak



Sonic Generations Demo

The big buzz in the world of Sonic is their impending new game, Sonic Generations. Sonic has had an incredibly rough life in the past decade, and even though the handheld games were pretty game, the console games were still met with pretty mediocre reception (though Sonic Colors was pretty decent). Generations is set to FINALLY change all that by appealing to old and new fans by featuring a classic Sonic and a modern Sonic. I don't want to spend too much time explaining, so you can look up all the info yourself.

What I want to talk about is the recent demo they released (like literally just released, I just downloaded it off the PSN) to coincide with Sonic's 20th anniversary. Its just one Green Hill Zone level, but I just finished playing it and I gotta say...I'm pretty impressed! I'm tempted to say they finally got it right this time! The graphics are nice and vivid, Sonic and his movements look great, and the platforming feels just right. You really feel the speed, and is infinitely more satisfying than what we got from Sonic 4. 

You see, I'm one of those people that thought Sonic 4 was very unsatisfactory and wasn't enough to fill that void Sonic fans have looking to fill. The graphics look half-assed and stale, and Sonic's movements were stiff and awkward, thus making the platforming a bit underwhelming. Then after Sonic 4's less than enthusiastic reception, some fan on youtube released videos of a Sonic game that seemed to do what the entire Sonic team couldn't do. The graphics were several times more vivid and nicely blended, and Sonic's movements were much more fluid. Fans cried out "why can't they make a game like this?!". But with this new demo, I really think they've created something quite close to those fan videos.

But don't take my word for it, go play it yourself or check out this video of the demo in its entirety. It is quite short, but oh so sweet. Can't wait til this comes out.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Ouch Gamespot...

I thought the new Duke Nukem game was sub-par and disappointing, and initial reviews for it were very lukewarm, but the recent review from Gamespot is...absolutely brutal. I always hold Gamespot in the highest regard when it comes to gaming critique, so I trust their scores first and read them first. But god damn, a 3.5 (the 360 version got a 3)? Harsh, though I guess someone had to say it...the game is just god awful. Gamespot calls it an embarrassment, and has scathing remarks about absolutely everything in the game. It seriously doesn't leave anything out, it just tears the game apart piece by piece.

Just go ahead and see for yourself:


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever Gets Bad Reception...Obviously

If you ever try to look up vaporware on Google, you'll find references to Duke Nukem Forever ALL over the place. This is a game that was announced about 12 years ago, but delay after delay pushed it across two freaking generations of gaming. Fans of the Duke Nukem series have somehow remained loyal and waiting, however, and with the recent release of Duke Nukem Forever, the hype exploded.

Now, me? I have never been a fan of the Duke Nukem series. But from everything I could see, from the previews to the trailers, I just KNEW this new game was not going to live up to expectations. And sure enough, the reception has been depressingly negative. Common complaints have included sloppy textures and blurry visuals, disappointingly average shooter gameplay, and corny, dated humor. Not a single one of these complaints surprised me, and I actually predicted all of it.

DNF is a prime example of "too little, too late". This is a game that would have been sub-par if it were released a decade ago when it was even relevant, but now it doesn't even get to be half-decent. It's just plain awful. My point for this entire post is: who didn't see this coming? The Duke Nukem series was acclaimed for its tremendous role in PC gaming, but it is no longer as good or relevant as it was then. It managed to catch the attention of gamers for its crude and nonchalant use of sex and humor during a much simpler time in gaming, but like I said, this is no longer relevant. The older games have not aged well, and now have no reason to be remembered.

This is why the latest game is no good. Imagine bringing a dated, irrelevant game into a different era of gaming. What is one to expect. Duke Nukem Forever has been the butt of delayed release jokes for years, and now it gets an equally hilarious end to its history by being bad. It's not disappointing, everybody should have seen it coming. Now the series can slowly fade into obscurity and focus on being remembered in better times...


Thursday, June 02, 2011

[PSP] Gundam Memories: Memories of Battle

The current hubub is the impending release of Gundam Memories, the latest in a line of similar Gundam games on the PSP. I've seen several screenshots of it, and it really looks amazing! The graphics are very different from previous PSP titles; it seems to have a semi cel-shaded look and looks smoother than anything I've seen. I actually thought it was a PS3 game before I knew what it was.

But anyway, the special feature its touting is the "MS Shift System", which allows the player to choose three mobile suits in the beginning of the mission and shift between them during battle. I'm guessing it's basically like Marvel vs Capcom, where you pick a team of three and tag between them. The story mode will follow the stories of Seed Destiny, 00 (with Trailblazer), and Unicorn. I guess the main focus is on the very latest Gundam series.

Mobile Suits from these series will be featured:
Mobile Suit Gundam
Mobile Suit Z Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack
Mobile Suit Gundam X
Gundam W Endless Waltz
Gundam Seed Destiny
Gundam 00 (including 2nd season)
Gundam 00: A wakening of the Trailblazer Movie
Gundam UC (Unicorn Gundam)

I'm happy with that list; all the best Gundam designs are represented. I'm excited about getting to play as some of my favorites (Wing Zero Custom, Nu Gundam, X) while trying out some of the new designs (00 Qan't, Unicorn). The last Gundam game I've played on the PSP was Gundam Battle Universe, and that game was very good. I suspect the gameplay will be basically the same, so I'm anticipating this title like crazy now! Its current release date is June 23rd (very close!).