Mate Bors

Wolf of the Battlefield is the second sequel to Capcom’s popular arcade shooter series: Commando. Much like in the previous games, you take on endless hordes of enemies in a scrolling shooter, giving players a nostalgic experience. A question remains: is WOTB a positive nostalgic experience?

You take control of one of three characters, with whom you go around and shoot stuff. With that out of the way, I could basically finish the review, as this is all that the game is about: shooting stuff for five levels with a number of different weapons and vehicles. Oh yeah, you can rescue captured POWs, but they are pretty useless.

Run-and-gun games can be fun, especially if playing with other people, but Commando 3 makes a fatal mistake. You are permitted to die only so many times per level, and if you die more, you need to start all the way from the beginning of the game. This was probably acceptable in the 80s or 90s on an arcade machine. Today, it simply is not. Casual gamers simply will not have the interest or the patience to play for six hours, only to keep dying on the last level, and having to start from scratch for the sixty-seventh time. Though it can be considered rewarding when you finally beat the game, it’s probably as rewarding as building a sand castle, only to have a huge tidal wave destroy it before you complete it. While you can select levels after you beat the game, it will have probably pissed you off so much that you won’t bother.

Graphics are nothing special. Environments are different every level, but within the levels, there is not too much variation. The same could be said about the music and character design too; simply nothing special or varied.

If it weren’t for the tiny, yet game-breaking detail, WOTB could have been one of the better arcade shooters out there. Now, however, I can only recommend it to hardcore and desperate arcade-shooter fans.

Devil May Cry 4

March 20, 2008

The Devil May Cry series has been notorious for its difficulty, insane action, and a bad-ass anti-hero, Dante. Unsurprisingly, gamers were shocked to learn about the switch from Dante to a new character. Was this change good for the series? Was Capcom able to deliver on the hype and anticipation of the first Devil May Cry on a “next-gen” system?

Nero, the new character, is quite likable. He has his own set of cool moves (such as the Devil Bringer) and his own cocky/badass attitude. Nero’s journey leads through exotic forests, dark castles, and other mysterious places, trying to regain his abducted love, Kyrie. Japanese-style insane difficulty abound, but players can choose between “Human” and “Devil Hunter” difficulty, as well as a few more once you unlock them. You can even set the game to do some combos for you. If the difficulty of previous DMC games turned you off to the other titles, the lower “Human” difficulty of DMC 4 will make it worth your time to give the franchise a second chance.

Visually, the game is top notch. The game looks great in every environment, and all characters look unique. Dante’s and Nero’s moves are beautifully choreographed, making the game feel as realistic and ever. Voice acting, which can often break a game, is quite good here, though hearing Nero scream his secret lover’s name every five seconds per cut scene can get annoying.

The downside of the game, sadly enough, is when players take control of Dante again. While it would have been awesome to do some new missions with him, it’s rather tedious that players have to backtrack for almost a third of the game, fighting the same enemies, and even the same bosses. Speaking of which, you fight almost all of the bosses at least three times during the game. I’m pretty sure the folks at Capcom could have thought up something more creative. Also, the transition between Nero and Dante’s character is not too smooth either. The sudden lack of the Devil Bringer can be distracting especially against flying enemies. To compensate, the game unlocks some different melee weapons, as well as guns for Dante, that can be just as fun to do combos with, trying to reach the coveted SSS rating.

Though the game is short (you’ll likely beat it under 10-11 hours), there is plenty of reason to keep on playing. Since most of the missions are around 30 minutes, it won’t feel tedious to replay them. Going for achievements and S rankings in missions will probably allow you to put in another few hours. Not to mention, if you beat the game on Devil Hunter, you will unlock the Bloody Palace mode, where you will fight hordes and hordes of enemies for more than a hundred levels, and some harder difficulties, perfect for masochists.

Devil May Cry 4 could have been the best of the series, if only there wouldn’t have been so much backtracking (which, along with plot twists, are necessary parts of your average Japanese game, I think). The key word there is A

Budapest Game Show 2007

October 2, 2007

On September 29, 2007, Budapest, Hungary hosted its the first, and hopefully (and probably) not last gaming event. Microsoft, Electronic Arts and CD Projekt finally worked up the courage to do what no company has dared before: bring a western-style gaming event to a country where pirated games are king.

The event started a bit late, due to a power shortage. But once it opened, four or five hundred zerglings rushed up to be the first ones to try out the games on display. I walked around and took note what was going on. Halo 3, DiRT, Project Gotham Racing 4, Kane and Lynch, Crackdown, Guitar Hero II, Timeshift, Moto GP 07, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, FIFA 08, Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict were all playable. Guitar Hero II, FIFA 08, PGR 4 and DiRT featured organized contests, where the two finalists faced off on the movie theater screen and won all sorts of prizes. It was a good thing for them that I’m such a humble guy and didn’t sign up for anything, preventing their utter humiliation.

The games that were shown, were presented in a movie theater. Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer Beta, PGR4, Halo 3, Medal of Honor: Airborne, FIFA 08, Bioshock, World in Conflict, and The Witcher all got 15-20 minutes on an enormous movie theater screen, commentated by publishers or members of the Hungarian gaming press. The presentations were even worth watching for games I’d played myself, as the guys playing and commentating gave a new, humorous look at them. And it was definitely worth watching presentations of games I knew little about, like the PC RPG The Witcher. During FIFA 08‘s presentation, Xbox themed green soccer balls were even handed out. Unfortunately, due to poor lighting, I could not take many decent quality pictures, but you can check out a few of PGR4‘s menu.

The event only lasted six hours, but it was totally worth attending, despite a few technical hiccups. I would like to thank Microsoft, EA, and CD Projekt for being brave and actually doing something for the previously nonexistent Hungarian scene. Some people trashed Microsoft, saying that this was just a blatant propaganda event on Microsoft’s part. It’s evident that it was, and so what? Where was Nintendo? Where was Sony? Nowhere. Microsoft deserves all the praise it gets for the event, and my hat it off to them. Let’s hope that next year even more developers and companies will be here, to please the much neglected Hungarian gamers.

With the Leipzig Games Convention, think E3 of Europe, now over, there is a lot of new information about some of the top upcoming games to talk about.

We’ve heard quite a lot about Metal Gear Solid 4, but the identity of the bosses, who are one of the most important and exciting parts of the games, have been kept secret… until now. To the fans of the series, these baddies should look and sound very familiar. The bosses go by the names of Raging Raven, Crying Wolf, Laughing Octopus, and Screaming Mantis. Collectively they are known as the Beauty and the Beast Unit.

The newest trailer is also availabe on YouTube. I suggest getting new underwear before watching it, as you will most likely need it. You can check it out here.

A few new screenshots have also surfaced from the upcoming Far Cry 2. Far Cry 2 is shaping up to be a sequel in name only, as the setting and protagonists have changed from the first one. Nevertheless, it looks amazing. Check out the screens here.

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos – Battle March was announced a few weeks ago, but until now, no information had been released. No additional information was released this time either, but some beautiful screenshots have surfaced. The game will not only be released for the PC, but for the Xbox 360 as well with the original game as part of the package. Mark of Chaos will be the third RTS that will be released for the 360; its predecessors, Battle for Middle Earth 2 and Command and Conquer 3, have been highly successful.

James Bond is also making a return, according to Activision. Activision purchased the rights to the James Bond name last year, but until now, they kept quiet about what they plan to do with 007. The only thing that they revealed was that the game will be developed for PC, consoles, and handhelds. Let’s just hope it won’t be another Rogue Agent.

Jeffry Kaplan, a lead designer in World of Warcraft said that the true WoW feeling will return in the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Many people felt that Burning Crusade, the first expansion to WoW, lacked the real feeling that WoW provided. As a result, Blizzard said that they will try to make WotLK much darker and fantasy-like. Time will tell if they achieve this result or not.

Despite the rumors, it was confirmed that there will not be a PS3 version of Bioshock. Kevin Levine, the lead designer of the game, stated that Bioshock (apart from the PC) will remain exclusively on the Xbox 360. Sorry PS3 owners…

Ubisoft has joined the list of developers and publishers to be a part of the Games for Windows brand. What does this mean? Support for Vista, high definition, and widescreen resolution, among others. The first game to be released under this brand will be Settlers: Rise of an Empire.

After getting banned in several countries and receiving an AO rating in June, Manhunt 2 was suspended indefinitely. 2 months later and Rockstar is stating that Manhunt 2 will soon be released. The makers of the game have been hard at work reducing the violent content, and now have received the highly coveted M for Mature rating. Release is slated for an October release on the PSP, Wii and PS2.

Bomberman Live

August 7, 2007

Despite entertaining a game called Bomberman Act Zero, Bomberman Live is the first real Bomberman game to grace the Xbox 360. When it was announced, I was quite happy that a real Bomberman was finally being released for my favorite, and currently only, console. As I waited for it to finally finish downloading, I had nostalgic thoughts about how much fun I had playing with my friends on the N64 back in the day. My expectations were high. In light of this, how did the game fare?

The game offers eight maps, and five game modes. The game modes depend on the level. Some levels don’t offer the same modes as others, to put it simply. These modes include: Arena Feature, in which you need to avoid the traps of the specific level; Zombie, in which you are immortal, and your goal is to paint as many tiles your color as you can; Paint Bomb, which is the same as Zombie, but once you die, it’s game over; Bombing Run, which is standard play, but much faster, and last but not least, Classic Mode, which I’m sure needs no introduction.

Some new features include power-ups and customization features of your Bomberman character. The powerups are standard stuff: increased speed, more flame, and so on. The customization of Bomberman probably seemed like a cool feature to add, but ended up being gimmicky and useless. The other people can’t really see what you look like, and I doubt they really care. This is Bomberman, not World of Warcraft.

Single player, for me at least, is just practice for online play. Bomberman was MADE to be played with other people. I highly suggest testing yourself on single (or local play as it’s called in the game), then go straight to multiplayer. In the end, Bomberman Live is not only loads of fun (especially on Live), but cheap, so I can only urge you to do one thing: buy this game!