December 2006

Worms coming to the 360

December 29, 2006

Before you get alarmed and think that worms, as in viruses or Trojan horses are coming to the 360, let me assure you that is not the case. The classic game, Worms, will be available on the marketplace in early 2007. To extend the good news, there will be online play.

Famitsu held a poll regarding the DS exclusive Dragon Quest IX (which also features real time combat) to get a little feedback from readers and retailers alike. The questions they asked were the following:

[b]Are you happy that Dragon Quest IX will be coming to the DS?[/b]

Yes – 40.3% (47.5%)
No – 46% (20%)
Neither – 5.2% (22.5%)
Don’t know – 8.5% (10%)

[b]Are you happy of the changes made in combat?[/b]

Yes – 19.4% (15%)
No – 53.9% (40%)
Neither – 6.8% (12.5%)
Don’t know – 19.9% (32.4%)

[i]The numbers in parentheses are the percentages of retailers.[/i]

Seeing these numbers, could and will Square-Enix change anything? After all, Japan is their biggest market for Dragon Quest, and if it fails there it who knows how it will do in North America or Europe.

Though the Japanese don’t sound all that excited now, I certainly won’t be surprised if people will be murdering each other in line to get their copy of the game on launch day…

In case you don’t have a clue what this article was about read [url=]this[/url] and [url=]this[/url].


December 27, 2006

Having garnered a respectable amount of buzz and positive impressions during its debut at E3 last May, Elebits hit store shelves this December with some pretty high hopes attached. Released by Konami, the title was designed from the ground up to take advantage of Nintendo’s new console and its unique interface, capitalizing upon the company’s bold gameplay-over-graphics paradigm. Games developed this way are likely to be the strongest in the Wii’s catalog, so it’s understandable that gamers were excited to get their hands on Konami’s eccentric experiment. The good news is that Elebits makes good on the promise it showed at E3, as it is genuinely enjoyable to play and also a very good indication of the types of new gameplay ideas we’re likely to see from the Wii. Elebits features an odd but simple plot: gamers take on the role of a small child who inadvertently A

Superman Returns

December 26, 2006

Pity the Man of Steel. While most of his popular metahuman colleagues have appeared in at least one decent game by now, Superman, arguably the greatest superhero of all, has been stuck in clunker after clunker. Now comes Superman Returns, which… doesn’t break the curse. It’s not nearly as bad as the notoriously awful Superman 64, but it’s yet another chunk of kryptonite plaguing his video game career.Superman Returns is supposedly based on the movie, and a few CGI cutscenes recreate a few of the flick’s sequences. But that’s it. No controllable slugfests with Lex Luthor and his goons, no nail-biting Lois Lane rescues, nothing. These scenes are just pointless digressions from the actual events of the game, in which baddies not in the movie such as Mongul, Metallo and Bizarro randomly show up and give less motivation for their hatred than a sub-par pro wrestling rant. Conversations with supervillians almost literally unfold like this:

Supervillian: I’m going to pummel you, Superman!
Superman: Not if I pummel you first!
(Pummeling commences)

The “plot” is voiced by Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and Brandon Routh, but Routh sounds about as enthusiastic as a guy filing his taxes. With clunky lines like “go back to wherever it is you came from,” who can blame him?

At least Supes has most of his powers. He soars high above Metropolis, dashes through the streets at lightning speed, picks up and hoists the heaviest of objects and blasts things with heat vision. He even has the ever-cheesy super-breath, though it’s only used to blow out fires and fight a tornado. (Yes, one of the boss fights is against a tornado.) For a few minutes, flight and super-speed can be downright exhilarating. But once you slow down or land, you’ll be struck by how featureless and boxy the city looks.

That’s just the start of the problems. Like recent Spider-Man or Hulk games, you roam an open-ended environment and undertake missions. But you won’t know where missions are triggered until you wander in their general area, and if you get too close to one it starts automatically, whether you want to undertake it or not. Most missions boil down to pummeling some brain-dead enemies, blowing out the occasional fire, or challenging the surprisingly unimaginative Mr. Mxyzptlk to races around the city. What’s worse, you’ll have to finish a sizeable number of sub-missions before you’re allowed to save. Screw up once and it’s back to the very beginning of the chapter.

Not that Supes is in any danger of croaking, since kryptonite isn’t exactly available at your local Kwick-e-Mart. No, Metropolis itself serves as a life bar. Should the city take too much damage, our hero goes into a game-ending super-depression, possibly crushed by the thought of all those impending property damage lawsuits. Yes, you can accidentally speed up your own “death” by cutting lose and hurling a bad guy into a building. Pulling your punches all the time simply isn’t fun. Then again, playing as Bizarro and smashing things isn’t much better, as the overly-complex attack combos (same for him or Superman) aren’t as effective as simply mashing one button.

The list goes on. The camera swings around and often leaves you staring at cracks in the sidewalk, you can only lock onto enemies if they’re already standing in front of you, switching between ranged powers is cumbersome, Superman runs as if he were wearing a full diaper, there’s nothing to do outside of missions other than rescue kittens, etc. Oddly enough, the music sounds quite good, with orchestrated ditties that are downright inspiring. Too bad the rest of the game inspires nothing but an urge to power off your console.

Composer and producer of the Silent Hill franchise, Akira Yamaoka, has revealed that Silent Hill 5 will be coming for the PS3, but also stated that the Xbox 360 and PC are also likely to get their share of Silent Hill 5.

What do we know about the game so far? It’s supposed to be like the second one, to the delight of many fans. Yamaoka said that darkness is not the only thing that can strike fear in gamers, and the developers are trying to figure out ways to have sun light areas in the game that are equally scary as the dark parts (doesn’t that sound a lot like Resident Evil 5?)