Posts Tagged ‘DS’

Thor: God of Thunder C2E2 Preview

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Thor - God of Thunder

Last week out in California, most games press got the chance to fly out and check out the new Thor and Captain America video games. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fly out. In Chicago at C2E2, I was able to demo the final build of Thor: God of Thunder for the Xbox 360 and the Wii. The footage I was able to capture was off-screen with a Flip-like camera. With experiencing the controls on both consoles, I can clearly justify their port to each console. For once for a multi-platform game, I think the Wii version plays the best. Though the graphics look terrible comparing to the Xbox 360 version, the controls for god powers work so much better. The motion controls feel natural and don’t take much time getting used to. With the Xbox 360 version, all of the god powers are on the yellow Y button.

Without further delay, enjoy looking at some gameplay from my demo with the games executive producer:

Ready to play Doctor?

Monday, June 8th, 2009
Maybe this time it's Lupus.

Maybe this time it's Lupus.

Looks like House is getting his own game for the PC, Nintendo Wii, and DS in time for the holidays. Legacy Interactive has a history of detective adventure games such as Emergency Room: Code Red.

The game slated for December 2009 (Wii to arrive next year) is to consist of five cases for House and his team to solve, which will involve actual medical procedures, as well as questioning patients, and breaking into their houses (just like on tv).

There wasn’t a whole lot more expressed about the game other than there will be ‘actor voice over stand ins’, but were actually matched up really well.


GDC in San Fran launches this week

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Top seller so far!

GDC, get your game on in San Francisco this week!

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The videogame sector is looking for a resurgence this year through casual users and programs for mobile phones, themes that will be underscored this week at one of the industry’s most closely watched events.

Because videogames cost less than $50 but provide hours of entertainment, analysts and industry executives expect them to show strength even in a severe economic slump that has punished the entire consumer technology sector.

They say videogames are expanding their reach beyond a traditional base of young males to a wider audience of “casual users” through products like Nintendo’s blockbuster Wii console and mobile games on such devices as Apple’s iPhone.

This week’s Game Developers Conference — which has 300 exhibitors and bills itself as the industry’s largest professionals-only event in the world — will again attract independent developers showcasing cutting-edge technologies in console, PC, mobile and online games.

Organizers say the show, which kicks off on Monday, lured 18,000 attendees last year and has provided a platform for the launch of what became the Wii, now the world’s best-selling console.

“The phenomenon that’s driving sales this year is that a big chunk of sales are to a much, much more casual audience than we have historically seen,” said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.

U.S. sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories are up 11 percent so far in 2009, according to researcher NPD.

“We’re in a hot category that’s growing,” said Michael Howse, chief executive of privately held Bigfoot Networks, which is launching the next generation of its gaming network card this week.

“Our general view is that we’re certainly impacted on the consumer spending side,” he said, “but for some reason, consumers have a few extra dollars in their pocket to play games.”

Some game publishers have struggled as retailers cut inventory, forcing job cuts and delayed releases. Electronic Arts, which expects a loss in 2009, is eliminating 1,100 positions — 11 percent of its workforce — and closing 12 facilities.

But gaming shares have fared better this year than last, with Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive and game retailer GameStop all in positive territory.

NPD results are in!

Monday, February 16th, 2009
The Wii seems to be tha fav so far..

The Wii seems to be tha fav so far..

The January 2009 North American hardware numbers are in from NPD Group.

Nintendo Wii – 679,000
Nintendo DS – 510,000
Xbox 360 – 309,000
PlayStation 3 – 203,000
PlayStation Portable – 172,000
PlayStation 2 – 101,000

As expected, Nintendo’s Wii and DS systems led the list. The Xbox 360 continues to kick the PS3′s butt as we figured, but we hear that Sony was pleased that the gap wasn’t wider.

The PSP did some decent numbers that helped bump its worldwide total to 50 million units sold.


Glass Joe, get ready for some King Hippo action!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Send him home in a body bag!

Send him home in a body bag!

( – In December, Nintendo tipped its hand on its early-2009 lineup for the Wii and DS, revealing March launches for New Play Control Pikmin and Pokemon Platinum. Today, the publisher augmented that list with more specific windows for a handful of games, as well as for its highly anticipated handheld redesign.

Of note, Nintendo’s revamp of the classic NES boxer Punch-Out is now expected to arrive for the Wii during the first half of 2009. Though Sega and Platinum games had already confirmed Madworld for a March release, Nintendo today nailed down the stylized action game for a March 10 release. Nintendo also narrowed the release window for High Voltage Software’s anticipated Wii-exclusive shooter The Conduit, saying the game would arrive by June.

Lastly, the publisher also provided a small update on its latest hardware revision for the ultrapopular DS, which has sold 96.2 million units through the end of 2008. Nintendo now expects to launch the DSi in North America sometime this spring or summer. Unveiled in October and already available in Japan, the DSi is thinner than its predecessor and features 17 percent larger screens. The redesigned handheld also boasts two cameras.

Grand Theft Auto : Chinatown Wars

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

GTA - Chinatown Wars 
Since I was little, I remember GTA being a major selling platform for the Gameboy way before Sony was able to get its hands on it. The new GTA: Chinatown Wars is making its way to the DS and I’m actually really interested to see what it’s going to offer. I’m curious as to how the touch screen is going to work for it and how hands-on this game will be.

It’s based in Liberty City (SURPRISE) and includes locations with which we’re all too familiar viewed from the classic top down camera angle. From what I’ve seen, the environments are a bit flat but the graphics look fairly decent. The good news is, from what I’ve gathered on it, that as enormous as the city is, you’ll never bump into one of those pesky load screens. Thanks, progressive game streaming! I’ve also read pedestrians have their own individual AI routines and when following them around you’ll be able observe them heading to and from work, eating hotdogs, and getting into fist fights with total strangers on the road. Sounds pretty cool but I’m still not thoroughly impressed.
As hinted by the title, it’s about Asian crime in Liberty City. Rival gangs fighting for turf control and all that good stuff.  Your character is Huang Lee, the son of a syndicate boss who dies during a Triad power struggle. As Huang,  you will navigate your way through the streets and uncover the truth behind an epic tale of crime and corruption within the Triad crime syndicate. Controls are handled using the face buttons. X will let you enter or exit vehicles, B accelerates, Y reverses, and the right shoulder button locks up the handbrake to perform tight turns. The D pad is used to steer. When you’re on foot, the A button shoots your selected weapon (chosen by opening a submenu on the touch screen), which can also be fired while inside cars for drive-bys. The right shoulder button locks onto targets.
All in all, I can’t really base any opinions on the game until I’ve tried a demo or seen more videos on it. I’m very excited to hear more news on it and may just reserve it since I love my DS so much.

That’s all I have for now! Thanks for reading!

-Mina Rose

Puzzle Quest : Challenge of the Warlords

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Puzzle Quest - Busy Gamer Rating 5

Puzzle Quest - Busy Gamer Rating 5

First Glance:
Travel the land with your hero defeating your enemies… by matching gems. Like Bejeweled meets Dungeons and Dragons.

The Short Story:
This is a game that may not be played by people who only read the description on the box. But it’s more than just a puzzle game since you also have to build up your character as you play through the story. There’s a lot to this game if you just give it a chance.

The Score:
Ease of play allows for short sessions for the Busy Gamer and the portable versions allow it to go with you on the road or to the bathroom if you so desire. As such, Puzzle Quest : Challenge of the Warlords scores a 5 on our scale.

Body of review:
I admit to being a fan of puzzle games. The majority of my portable collection is puzzle type games or brain teasers. So when I heard there was a puzzle game that involved role-playing aspects, I just had to check it out.

The character creation is a simple process. There are four classes each with its own starting strengths and skills, four portraits for each class, and then you can name your character. Once you’re done with this process, you begin the tutorial portion which allows you to see how each of the gem types work and how your spells will affect the game board.

There are four types of mana gems representing each of the four elements, Blue for Water, Red for Fire, Yellow for Air, and Green for Earth. Matching the colored gems builds your mana reserves which in turn allows you to cast spells. There are also Skull gems which, when matched, deal direct damage to your opponent. Unless, of course, your opponent matches the Skulls in which case damage is done to your character.

There is also gold you can match to build up your cash reserves and purple star gems which grant experience at the end of combat. How much is given at the end of combat is determined by your Cunning Skill. The higher the Cunning, the more you are rewarded for these matches. Cunning also determines who will go first when a match begins. If your skill is higher, you go first and vice versa if your opponent has the higher skill.

The spells you gain as you level will affect how a match plays out. Some spells do direct damage to your opponent while others may clear a certain type of gem from the board, either in mass or based on how much of a certain type of mana you have when you cast it. And to further reinforce your skill set, once you have defeated a certain type of opponent three times, you are allowed the option of capturing that creature to learn spells from it. The capture process is handled through a board that
you must completely clear without benefit of your spells and without interference from your opponent. These puzzles can be daunting at first but they can be skipped completely if you simply want to use the base skills of the class you have chosen.

The story line is enjoyable and you will meet characters that can be added to your “party??? for additional benefits. While these characters provide no additional spells during combat, the boosts they provide during combat are substantial. Whether it is damage to your opponent before the match even begins or additional damage as combat proceeds, each individual can turn the tide of combat.

Additionally, various quests will become available based on what characters have joined you. The quests themselves may only provide experience when completed but several also offer up extra gear your character may equip to provide bonuses during combat. With this degree of customization, you will be tempted to play through the complete story more than once simply to see how a new character will develop.

Puzzle Quest has a low learning curve, a quest log which allows the player to see what exactly they were doing the last time they played, and an ease of play that will keep the Busy Gamer coming back for more. Throw in a multiplayer mode that allows you to see how your character stacks up against your friend’s and you’re certainly guaranteed a lot of bang for your buck.

Grits – End of Line

Brainage 2

Monday, June 23rd, 2008
Brain Age 2 - Busy Gamer Rating 5

Brain Age 2 - Busy Gamer Rating 5

First Glance:
Mini-games, Sudoku puzzles, and a version of Virus Buster all packaged in this “mental exercise??? game? So I can goof off and say I’m doing something good for my brain? I’m in.

The Short Story:
The mini-games are harder than they look. They also really give your brain a work out. After just a couple of days, I can tell a difference in how my memory works. Sudoku puzzles are a passion of mine so their inclusion in the game is pure bonus.

The Score:
The box sums it up pretty well, stating “More training in minutes a day???. The whole package is perfect for the Busy Gamer. The training can be done all in one sitting or you can come back to it later. The benefits the game provides to your mental acuity aren’t noticeable unless you’re playing every day but even short sessions can be enjoyable. As such, Brain Age 2 lands a 5 on the Busy Gamer scale.

Body of review:
I’ve admitted to being a fan of puzzle games in past reviews and there’s something about this game that makes you want to come back day after day to see how well you can do on a particular puzzle. I’ll also admit that at first, this game made me feel a bit stupid. I consider myself a fairly intelligent individual but when I first started playing Brain Age 2, it was clear that I don’t use my brain effectively on a regular basis.

It isn’t that the training is particularly hard. The “activities???, as the game calls them, are pretty straight forward in their presentation and explained well by game creator Doctor Ryuta Kawashima’s digital avatar. There’s no guess work to how an activity plays out but the work within the activity can force a mental stumble out of most people. From memory work to spelling to simple arithmetic, Doctor Kawashima’s creation will keep you on your mental toes.

Initially, not all of the activities are available. You have to do the daily exercises to gain stamps for a particular day. The stamp is placed on a digital calendar which allows you to track what days you’ve performed your activities and as you gain more stamps, more activities are unlocked. And if you continually excel at a given activity, a harder version of it will become available.

There’s a Brain Age test available that will allow you to track just how much you’re benefiting from the training. The scale is based on how old you are in “Brain Years??? versus your actual age. Many people might be put off when they take the test for the first time and discover their Brain Age is considerably older than their actual age but continued play will quickly change all that.

This isn’t the sort of game you purchase for quick thrills. While there are Sudoku puzzles available within Brain Age 2, it’s the mental activities that should be the real draw here. If you’re persistent, playing through the activities several days a week, you’ ll notice a marked improvement in your memory and mental acuity. It isn’t just a gimmick to sell the game, the activities actually do seem to give your brain a work out… They did for me at least.

The bottom line is that this is a thinking game. If you’re not into that sort of thing or have an unnatural fear of Sudoku puzzles, pass this one up. But if you’re looking for something to keep you on your mental toes, the activities can be completed in just minutes a day so the Busy Gamer will benefit from picking up Brain Age 2.

Grits – End of Line

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

FF Tactics A2 - Busy Gamer Rating 3

FF Tactics A2 - Busy Gamer Rating 3

First Glance:
It’s Final Fantasy, it’s portable, and it’s turn based combat. What’s not to like?

The Short Story:
If you’re not a fan of turn based combat, keep walking. There’s a good story being told here, something we’ve come to expect from the Final Fantasy games, and the fact that it’s on the DS will make it even more appealing to some Busy Gamers out there. The game is long but they’ve made some improvements over previous Tactics entries to help out; quick saving in the middle of combat being a huge one and a more comprehensive quest log being another.

The Score:
The quest log’s easy to read, the save function is easy to use, and the game play makes it easy to pick up for short play sessions. But the number of characters you have to manage, level, and gear, not to mention a lengthy story line make this a bad choice for the Busy Gamer. Long absences from the game result in trying to figure out what you had in mind during your last play session. All of these considerations earn Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift a 3 on the Busy Gamer scale.

Body of review:
We’ve come to expect certain things from the Final Fantasy franchise. There will be a hero, a young lad who aspires to be more than he currently is, and there will be an adventurous girl who he will eventually fall in love with. This will take place in an exotic land where chocobos roam wild on the plains and moogles give cries of “Kupo??? as they go about their daily lives. And at some point, we get to fight a bunch of stuff. With lucky number thirteen in the main series on the horizon, they must be doing something right.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift definitely falls into the doing something right category. Fans of the Tactics series will be familiar with the different classes and races but those who are newcomers to the series won’t have any troubles picking it up thanks to modifications to the help screens. Help screens can now be accessed to tell you what skills from which classes are necessary to change to the advanced classes later in the game, something distinctly lacking in earlier versions. This change helps you plot out a characters evolution as you play through the game and takes the guess work out of leveling.

Characters not involved in combat still learn skills, allowing you to build up lower level characters into the classes you need or want, another welcome change. Skills are learned by equipping different gear and then merely keeping it equipped until the desired skill is learned. Switching a piece of gear off of a character before a skill is fully learned merely halts the process meaning you can always re-equip the piece of gear and pick up where you left off at a later date if need be.

Equipment is handled completely different in FFTA2 than in previous versions of this title. You’ll gather components as you travel and then take the various components to the shops in the various towns you visit. Placing combinations of the components on the bazaar allows the shops to sell you new, more powerful gear. You’ll still come across equipment in fights and quests but being able to “build??? the new gear is a welcome addition to the series.

Combat is turn based and is resided over by “Judges???. Laws are in effect each and every time you fight and may restrict you from doing things like using elemental attacks or restrict certain races from doing anything but move and basic attacks. In most cases, the laws can be ignored but following them garners extra rewards at the end of combat and grants a bonus of your choice during the combat. Disobeying the laws result in the loss of the combat bonus, the ability to resurrect defeated allies, and the bonus items awarded at the end of the battle. There are quests, however, that require you to follow the laws for that battle resulting in some very interesting restrictions. You’ll find very quickly, though, that you’re the only one who has to follow the laws. Your opponents are free to do as they wish.

As I mentioned earlier, the game is lengthy. Forty hours in I began to feel as if I had barely scratched the surface. This is the trap you’ll fall into as a Busy Gamer. You can ignore the additional quests in favor of pursuing the main quest but you’ll find yourself overwhelmed in some situations if you don’t take the time to level up some of your other characters. The laws you’ll face may find you having to remove one of your most used characters from your lineup which will force you to rely on a lesser used, considerably lower level character as a backup. Relying to heavily on a certain group of characters will hinder you in the long run.

You can do a quick save in the middle of combat, a long overdue feature from previous iterations. The quick save allows you to essentially halt combat, set the game down and pick up at a later date. It’s very nice to have in situations where you might not be able to finish out that hour long battle. Yes, you’ll definitely come across a fight or two that will take much longer than you’d hoped.

The quest log allows you to quickly see where you’re headed, what you need to do, and any necessary items or characters you’ll need to complete the quest. This is nice for those long absences away from the game. It doesn’t, however, help if you had a particular profession in mind for one of your characters. Tracking character development can be done from the Unit Info screen but if you had something planned for one character, you’ll probably need to write a note if you plan on being away from the game for too long.

All in all, this is a great portable title and one I’d recommend if you have some extra time on your hands coming up. But as with most Final Fantasy titles, the Busy Gamer is better off looking elsewhere for an entertainment fix.

Gritskrieg – End of Line