Posts Tagged ‘action’

If you asked me a couple of months ago about the game Dragon’s Crown I would respond to you with this phrase. “What’s Dragon’s Crown?” Before E3 I had no clue about this game, but during the show I became more aware about this action/role playing adventure. However, most media members were paying more attention to a certain Sorceress’ large rack. Breasts aside, as the professional journalist that I am, I was able to look past the succulent tits and focus in on what’s important. What I can tell you is that beneath all the scrutiny Dragon’s Crown is actually a very entertaining fantasy adventure filled with tons of action as well as satisfaction.

Developed by Vanillaware, most known for games including Odin’s Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dragon’s Crown is a hack-n-slash brawler featuring six adventurers on a quest for the Dragon’s Crown which is said to give them control of a dragon. Considering the fact that I’m a veteran of titles like Golden Axe, Dungeons & Dragons, and numerous Gauntlet games I found myself quite comfortable with the brawling style that’s presented in Dragon’s Crown. The combat moves are very simplistic to perform which never left me frustrated at any point during the game including the epic boss battles. Truth be said, once I started playing Dragon’s Crown I became addicted.

On this adventure six classes were available for me to select from. Right off the bat I chose the Fighter which looks like a badass knight. I was able to customize my character in terms of name, colors, and creative messages (I did a few Gauntlet ones for the nostalgia). The Fighter is more of a “tank” character allowing me to get a feel of the game. Then I started playing as the other characters testing out their unique strengths and weaknesses. Characters including the Dwarf and Amazon are also good starters with their melee and limited magic attacks. As for the other characters the Elf is great at ranged attacks with her bow. The Warrior and Sorceress are both weak in terms of melee attacking, but are awesome with their wide range of powerful magic attacks as well as summoning the dead to fight for them.

Questing in Dragon’s Crown can be achieved in solo gameplay which allows me to work on character progression as well as allowing the selfish part of me to keep all the loot I earn. I can also gain companions that I resurrect from the dead to join me on quests along with a rogue thief to open treasure chests. Of course this game is also even better with a few friends to join in on the adventure. Dragon’s Crown excels with both couch and online co-op for up to four players. There is a catch. The ability to play online is an unlockable option so I needed to gain some experience first before joining others. At first I thought this sucked because I wanted to join the online arena right away, but I guess having some battle experience was much better than questing with a bunch of noobies who’ll die more than actually help.

Now if there’s one thing that I really love about Dragon’s Crown it would have to be the artwork. Game creator and lead artist George Kamitani has created some absolutely stunning hand drawn visuals that are nothing short of breathtaking. When I would clear a room full of enemies I would just take a moment and stare at the beautiful backgrounds in 1080p. Character design is also well done, but also features the game’s biggest scrutiny around mostly female characters like the big breasted Sorceress. Kamitani has stated that he “wanted his game to stand out.” Well congratulations George because you definitely succeeded in that. I know there are people who may not like some of the female poses that look a little oversexed, but honestly it’s just art. The way I see it is that art is meant to be looked at as well as appreciated or even scrutinized. In the case of Kamitani’s depictions of the female body featured here in Dragon’s Crown (from the Sorceress’ huge breasts to other females in rather compromising positions) keep in mind that this is a fantasy game so this shouldn’t be treated as such a big deal. Then again I’m a guy, and I’m sure most females would probably disagree with my opinion.

With all the fun that was had in Dragon’s Crown from all the questing, killing, and looting I did unfortunately have one gripe. When multiple characters were on the screen (either teammates or enemies) things can get quite chaotic as I would lose focus on where I was in the battle. At times battles can get very involving (especially in multiplayer) where there is so much action taking place on the screen. I love seeing all the magic attacks and the huge bosses at the end of each level, but there was a moment or two where I was lost in the shuffle and I didn’t notice where my character was which led to a few cheap deaths as well as a misuse of health potions. Given the fact that I have unlimited lives this concern was only a minor inference, because I was just too busy having fun while collecting some epic loot.

What was once considered “under the radar”, Dragon’s Crown has jolted into the spotlight and it’s praises are well deserved. This fantasy action/role playing game is a lot of fun to play and features nearly endless replay value with multiple difficulties unlocking when completing the game. I also liked the bonus art book (sadly no hardcover) that I received for pre-ordering the game early because the art looks absolutely fantastic. For those who deem the game’s artistic depiction as “gross” or “immature” need to stop being so politically correct, and just desensitize yourself while enjoying the game for what it is.

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Developer: Atlus, Vanillaware
Platform: PlayStation 3
Players: 1-4
Price: $49.99

Ok, so I took a long time to get this review out, but I wanted all the press to die down before I gave my opinion on Capcom‘s latest entry in the long running Resident Evil saga. Sure the survival-horror element that made the series popular is gone (then again it’s been gone since Resident Evil 4), but is it really a reason for so many so-called “fans” out there to shun the game? No! The series may be focused more on action (enough mayhem, crashes, and explosions to make Michael Bay orgasm in excitement), and the plot lines are more confusing as ever, however Resident Evil 6 is not as bad as purists are trying to make it. The game has some faults, but it’s still an entertaining experience.

Resident Evil 6 moves away from just a single campaign with one point of view. This time there are four campaigns that intersect into one complete story. Popular favorites including Chris Redfield, Leon S. Kennedy, and Ada Wong are back once again, but some of the new characters along for the ride are just as fun to play as. Sherry Birkin is back and all grown up. Helena really fits in with Leon’s campaign. Piers is no Jill Valentine but is still a good action hero. Finally there is Jake, the son of Albert Wesker, who is a complete badass and is a lot of fun to play as.

To sum up each campaign here’s how I would base it. Playing as Leon S. Kennedy makes the game feel close to Resident Evil 4 (my favorite game in the series so far) minus the shopkeeper. Playing the game as Chris Redfield makes the game feel like your typical third person shooter just with Resident Evil moments and enemies. Jake’s campaign feels like Resident Evil 3: Nemesis which will constantly have you on the run. Ada Wong’s campaign is full of stealth and crossbow action making this campaign a cross of Batman games from Rocksteady meets The Hunger Games. Of all the campaigns I enjoyed Leon’s the most because it felt the closest to the Resident Evil games I’ve loved.

Resident Evil 6 comes in with some big changes. The biggest change has to do with the clunkiness of the controls. No more standing and shooting while the enemies keep coming. It’s now been replaced with a more run and gun style. Basically, the release of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City paved the way for what was to come. Shooting, ducking, taking cover. In other words an increased chance of survival as well as saving some of those precious herbs. In between all the nonstop action there are plenty of Quick Time Events (QTE) sprinkled in. These QTE’s are quite frequent which at times come off as annoying especially when your in the middle of surviving a battle. Personally, I think it’s time to get rid of QTEs for any future games. They’re just not fun anymore.

Shopping for weapons and upgrades are also gone in favor of a skill point system. Throughout my game play in the campaign and in The Mercenaries (more on that later) I come across skill points icons that I collected to purchase upgrades. These upgrades included damage, accuracy, frequent ammo drops (which was sorely needed when I played Chris’ campaign), and so much more. The skill point system helps for multiple play throughs plus they can be used in any campaign. Now if they could only find a way to add the shopkeeper from Resident Evil 4 and this option would be awesome. He can also have all his signature phrases telling you how great the upgrade you want to buy is.

The Mercenaries mode is also back once again, and this time it’s better than ever. The same goal still applies here which is get the highest score possible before the timer expires. There were plenty of time extension points along with combo bonus icons to smash so I could rack up those points as I blasted zombies (yes, the undead that made the series popular are back again!) along with other infected enemies and bosses all out to get me. I find this mode a lot of fun especially when I need to kill off some unwanted stress from work. There’s also an Agent Hunt mode where I can go into an online game as an enemy character to kill the heroes. In theory this mode sounds like fun, but it doesn’t execute as well as it should.

So, do I like Resident Evil 6? Well, yes I do. It may not be survival horror, and the QTEs suck, but it’s clearly not as bad as everyone wants to say it is. At least the zombies are back which is a huge plus. Mercenaries is still a fun experience in short spurts. Plus all the over the top action is just as fun as your typical summer blockbuster movie. If your a fan of the series than you owe it to yourself to give at least a rental. For me, I can expect this game to stick around for quite awhile. By the way, did you notice that I kept this review spoiler free?

Developer: Capcom
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-4 (online multiplayer)
Price: $59.99

What happens when you load the screen with some of the biggest action movie stars in the history of film? Well what I got was the most explosive movie of the summer. Maybe these guys do belong in a museum, but for now they still can kick some major ass on the big screen with The Expendables 2.

A big step up from the “meh” first movie, The Expendables 2 continues the story with America’s biggest and baddest mercenaries, led by Sylvester Stallone , on another mission to take down another villain out to take over the world, or at least try to make a lot of money. This villain is played by none other than the legendary Jean Claude Van Damme. Of course he’s not the only attraction. “Lone Wolf” Chuck Norris returns in a limited role and Arnold Schwarzenegger is “back” and he’s going to let you know it quite a few times.

Along for the explosive ride includes Jason Statham and his collection of knives, Terry Crews and his badass auto shotgun, Dolph Lundgren who shows a he’s also quite intelligent and not just a grunt, MMA star Randy Couture who is the butt of more ear jokes, and Jet Li who let’s wannabe enemies know that if he runs out of ammo then he’ll kick your ass with a pair of frying pans. Sadly Li is only around for the first twenty minutes of the movie. Bruce Willis also returns and plays a larger role letting everyone know that he’s more than just talk. Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan round out the cast and fill in quite well with the regulars.

So what really impressed me about the movie. Well there were many things. One would be that this movie brought me back to the action movies of the past. Thin on plot and filled with tons of bullets, blood, and lots dead bodies. The body count is much higher in this movie, and I might have noticed the same guy die more than once in a few scenes. I also liked all the action especially Jason Statham who was dressed as a monk and said “I now pronounce you man and knife” and then proceeded to kick ass. Chuck Norris impressed me the most with his limited role. The “Chuck Norris Rules” were clearly in effect and he even made fun of himself with a “Chuck Norris Joke.” What really put it over the top for me was seeing other characters using the specific actors catch phrases. Hilarious!

What disappointed me about the first Expendables movie was that there were plenty of down moments in between the action which bored me at times until the explosive finale. With the gloves off this time The Expendables 2 runs on an even keel with plenty of action throughout the adventure and plenty of jokes  making for a fun popcorn movie. There’s literally no downers to give me that “meh” feeling which meant more smiles and laughs and a great time at the movie theater.

The Expendables 2 is more than just an action movie. It’s a celebration of everything we love in an over the top action movie. The battle and fight scenes are brilliant especially with the final battle between Sylvester Stallone and Jean Claude Van Damme. Would I watch this movie again? Hell yes! The only question that I have is how they can top what was done in this movie if there’s a third movie? Then again who will star in the third movie, because they’re starting to run out of older action stars.

GAME STATUS: Saved Princess Daphne using both a controller and Kinect multiple times
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 3 out of 12 (50 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade click HERE.

For what feels like the millionth time, I’ve stormed the castle, killed countless goons, avoided many traps, and stared at the face of death while constantly dying. All of this for the love of Princess Daphne who I took out on a date on June 19 all for the low price of one achievement and 30 gamerscore. What a deal! I feel so dirty now.

Ever since the release of the classic Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade, I’ve been completely addicted to Don Bluth’s animated adventure of the heroic, and yet sometimes clumsy knight, Dirk the Daring. Whether I was jumping around and slashing my arms using the Kinect, or just using the controller when I felt lazy, Dragon’s Lair never had me bored. Never has the thought crossed my mind thinking “haven’t I beat the game over a million times across multiple platforms already? It’s not like anything new is going to pop up.” Of course that’s the moment when I’m not paying attention and unfortunately die…again. Well at least the princess is rather forgiving unlike most women in this world.

With the many times I’ve played I had to come to a conclusion about how I wanted to enjoy Dragon’s Lair on XBLA. Sure it’s billed as a Kinect game, but I really enjoyed it more with the controller. The Kinect was more forgiving with how I approached the game as I jumped around and used some arm movements, yet for some reason I didn’t want to feel like a retard when playing. It just felt too gimmicky. Honestly, Dragon’s Lair was meant for the controller, and it punished me quickly for making a mistake unlike when I used the Kinect. Good thing I had unlimited continues or else this quest would be really short just like when I was at the arcades playing.

SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR PRINCESS DAPHNE?

As far as I’m concerned, the evil dragon Singe can continue to kidnap Princess Daphne all he wants, becasue I’ll continue to save her. As I stated before Dragon’s Lair never bored me at all so I plan to continue my quest to save the princess, and continue my “achievement whore” addiction by scoring some much needed achievements by dying. Now if you’ll excuse me, my quest awaits.

Publisher: Digital Leisure
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-2
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)

Pros:
Three classic Devil May Cry games in one package
All three games look great in HD
Gameplay is both fun and challenging

Cons:
Camera system still out of whack
Not everything is upgraded in HD
No main menu to change games unless you restart

Since 2001, the Devil May Cry series has been something special on the Playstation 2. The first game hooked me right in with it’s over the top sword and gunplay action. Tossing enemies up into the air with my sword and then blasting them to death with my dual handguns never got old. Some of the lines were a little cheesy at times when Dante was ready to kick some ass, but this series was not about dialog. It was about hacking and slashing with style and it was fun. Lately there have been some changes with a reboot along with a new style and younger looking emo-Dante. With such a radical change on the horizon, this HD collection serves up everything that we loved about the series…except for maybe Devil May Cry 2.

The Devil May Cry HD Collection is a three game set of Dante’s adventures all which were exclusively featured on the Playstation 2. The series’ only rivals at the time was the God of War games also on the PS2 and Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox. Talk about some good company. The main story centered around the main character Dante, the son of Sparda, who had the huge task of eliminating the demons of the underworld with his sword and trademark handguns Ebony and Ivory. Along with his apparent cocky attitude and an ass kicking nature in mind, Dante accomplished just that all in style. Besides all the action, the series also featured plenty of puzzle solving reminiscent of the Resident Evil series. Overall, each game was fun and filled with some memorable moments.

One of the biggest changes with this unique collection is the graphical HD upgrades giving the games a more modern look to them. These upgrades are noticeable in character design, some backgrounds, and in a few of the cutscenes. Of course not everything is in HD. There are some moments where some of the pre-rendered cutscenes and digital presentation looks aged and very dated. This is not a deal breaker in any way because this package is all about the nostalgia so even the standard and somewhat blocky resolutions here and there will not affect the reason why we played the game…it’s fun gameplay.

The stylish combat with swords and guns alike was the staple for the Devil May Cry games. Add on to the fact that you can use magical attacks for that extra “wow” factor and what you have is action/adventure brilliance. So many times have I walked into a room with a ton of enemies or even a boss encounter and thought to myself about how cool it would be to whoop some serious ass and score some cool combos (which you are rated on your performance), except this time I can now score an achievement or two in the process. Sadly, I wished that Capcom would have went back and worked on the camera angles, because they still are a distraction at times when in a tough fight.

As I first started playing this collection (starting with DMC 3, because that game is awesome), I once again found myself immersed in the demon slaying world. Swinging my sword and shooting my guns scoring awesome combos was so much fun once again. This was a series I really missed, and DMC 4 just didn’t do it for me either. I truly enjoyed the originals even though DMC 2 kinda sucked back then. Nowadays, I can  come to grips with that sequel and find time to enjoy it even if the main reason I purchased this collection was to play the original and DMC 3.

The nostalgia is what will bring in the fans, but it’s the gameplay that will keep you playing over and over again. It may even bring in a new gamer or two that have never played the series before. Devil May Cry HD Collection offers tons of gameplay for the small price and it’s well worth it. Maybe even those who disliked Devil May Cry 2 will find a way to enjoy the game we all wanted to forget at that time. Overall, Devil May Cry HD Collection is a definite buy for the fans, but is good buy for everyone else as well.

Pros:
Everything you love about NFL Blitz back in the day is back again
Elite League is awesome

Cons:
No Late Hits! WTF!
Why is Elite League online only?
Rage Quitting Opponents

Back in the late ’90s NBA Jam was at it’s peak. I always enjoyed the jam session both in the arcades as well as at home on my consoles. While jamming the ball in someone’s face hearing “Boomshakalaka!” is fun, my heart really longed for some hard hitting arcade over the top football. Madden was just not enough for me. Midway then brought NFL Blitz to the masses and the rest was history. While the game was on hiatus in the past few years since the ridiculous Blitz The League, EA Sports has revived the classic game of the past on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network.

With the NFL license comfortably in EA’s careful hands, they decided to bring back what fans so desperately wanted…NFL Blitz. A couple of my favorite plays like “Hurricane” and “Da Bomb” are once again dominating my offensive playbook along with the hard hitting defense and endless amounts of body slams and other after the play…wait a minute! Where’s the after the whistle action? I feel like I’ve been robbed EA! Oh well, no big deal (actually it is). I won’t harp on it anymore (yes I will). NFL Blitz is perfectly alright without all the extra shenanigans going on (no it’s not). With all that said, a word to the wise for the good folks at EA Sports: Blitz is not Madden! We want our extracurricular activities after the whistle! Late hits is what helped make this game fun! <cue the applause>

While this new version of the old Blitz brings back more of the same (which is a good thing) there are some new modes that help keep the aging formula fresh and exciting. Let’s take the example of Blitz Gauntlet. This ladder style game mode let’s you take on teams made up of lions, robots, and a slew of other mascot style teams just to add on the over the top formula. I’m ok with this, but part of me would rather have some sort of season mode instead. The good news is that winning games in the Gauntlet will net you bonus codes that you can enter in pre-game. Remember the Big Heads and other hilarious options? Well their all back for another round. Besides this wouldn’t be Blitz without all the hilarious features that make the game what it is.

New to NFL Blitz is Elite League. Those familiar with Madden’s Ultimate Team will feel right at home with this game mode. Honestly, your going to spend more time here then with anything else. Just like Ultimate Team you’ll start out with a starter deck of cards which is used to assemble your team. As you play Blitz online you’ll accrue Blitz Bucks that you can use to purchase new packs with more players to strengthen your team. Continue to play online and keep earning those bucks because you may unlock some legendary players as well as other bonuses. Now Elite League is a great mode, but the only problem I have has to so with only gaining Blitz Bucks online. What about players who play offline? What happens when the online community dies off? Then what? Just a thought.

Now everyone and their mother knows that a single player fans can only go so far. NFL Blitz was made for multiplayer and nothing spells fun better than scoring touchdowns and talking trash between friends. NFL Blitz features both local and online multiplayer so that the you can enjoy the thrill of victory and the agony of suckitude all from the comfort of your home. Multiplayer is great, but I have to comment on all the quitters out there. Rage quitting is for losers. Are you a loser? Please take a word of advice. If your getting your ass kicked royally in a game…stick it out to the end. Sadly, no matter what game you play the rage quitter still clouds the fun.

NFL Blitz is still the same smash mouth, in your face, trash talking, hard hitting, arcade style, over the top mayhem ever since it’s inception. Of course it also includes all it’s flaws like rubber band AI to keep games closer than they really are and now no late hits (still ranting on this). With that said the game is still fun and the $15 asking price should make NFL Blitz a no-brainer purchase. See you online, and no rage quitting when I beat you!