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Found 182 results

  1. barrel

    Stella Glow 5

    From the album: Stella Glow

  2. barrel

    Stella Glow 4

    From the album: Stella Glow

  3. barrel

    Stella Glow 3

    From the album: Stella Glow

  4. barrel

    Stella Glow 2

    From the album: Stella Glow

  5. barrel

    Stella Glow 1

    From the album: Stella Glow

  6. Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega Platform: 3DS Release Date: September 8, 2015 ESRB: E for Everyone Twintails, leeks, and synthetic voices -- what do all of these have in common? Well, next to nothing I hope, except for being somewhat tied to abnormally popular vocaloid popstar that is Hatsune Miku. While she is no stranger to the stage, virtually or not, she has had no shortage of video game appearances as well. From releases like Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd or proving she has no problem with dancing all night with the Persona 4 crew, she has predominately been on Sony hardware for games. For this reason it is actually rather interesting that her newest rhythm game namesake comes in the form of Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX on 3DS despite such an established history on other hardware. Though I have certainly enjoyed the Project Diva titles, they have been progressively less and less approachable with each new release. Aspects like an incredibly busy presentation or Project Diva F 2nd just being absurdly challenging even on the standard difficulty has made the series daunting from the outside looking in, setting aside the inherent weirdness of vocaloids. So, to see Project Mirai DX break away from Project Diva's formula in both art style and even its rhythm formula to a lesser extent actually makes it a refreshing contrast. Probably the most noticeable difference between Project Mirai and the Project Diva titles is its focus on the actual rhythm game portion. The first thing Project Mirai DX introduces is actually the My Room mode, unlike Project Diva where the rhythm game was at the forefront. Basically, at the offset" you pick a vocaloid and a room theme of your choice and from then on you are encouraged to accessorize up. The currency to pimp up your crib primarily comes from playing the various minigames within it. There are certainly lots to unlock through the room customization or spotpass/streetpass features to mess with, and it is visually endearing (ditching the weird uncanny valley for cute chibi art style), but it really is neither here nor there for me especially since it is so front-loaded. The real reason why I came to Project Mirai DX is, of course, the actual rhythm game. There are two different control schemes: the touchscreen mode which makes it feel somewhat akin to something like Final Fantasy: Theatrhythm; and the button mode, which is more like Project Diva releases. Regardless of the control scheme you pick, the game is incredibly easy to learn to the point where it seemingly doesn't even bother having a tutorial for either style (at least I couldn't find it). The song selection is pretty hefty and -- though decidedly simple -- manages to be fun to play. Even if it is fun to play, I can not help but compare it to its Sony brethren (sistren?) where it is clear Project Mirai simply puts much less attention on detail in comparison. Not only are the production values significantly lower but the inputs that accompany songs feel off-sync. Inputs tend to give off feedback that hitting them is just for the sake of it rather than for rhythmic timing. What is also inconsistent is the song library, borrowing some fan-favorites like Senbonzakura, and I found myself liking less than a fifth of the total song selection (not including multiple vocaloid takes for the same song). I may have been somewhat disappointed by the core music gameplay but I ended up falling down a rabbit hole I did not expect... which is Puyo Puyo. Most of the minigames are rather throwaway in the My Room mode, like vocaloids cheating at Riversi/Othello and raising frivolous affinity meters, but to see the classic puzzler Puyo Puyo as a totally optional feature was a pleasant surprise. I would be lying if I didn't say I found myself returning for Puyo Puyo sessions more than most other parts of the game. In the matter of fairness, Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX also has some unique features that reach beyond My Room functionality and are quite neat conceptually. Most of it is predictable streetpass fluff like avatars pics with catchphrases but the more interesting ones involve sharing customized music videos or a Nico Nico-like approach to commenting on videos at specific time marks. So, if you want to tell the world that you think Kaito has some sweet dance moves at the 35 second mark for a song about a snowman, you can do that. Customizing music videos is also quite approachable and do not basically require programming skills like the Sony titles. Like I said before, the customization depth is there for those who want it, but it does nothing for me personally, who just wants more out of the rhythm gameplay. For a first (localized) outing on Nintendo hardware, Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX brings a welcome musical whimsy on Nintendo's hardware. The primary rhythm portion is not as refined as the Project Diva titles -- mechanically and production values-wise -- but it makes several strides to differentiate itself specifically with its customization aspects. Those less picky towards rhythm game finesse can find plenty of excuses to be overwhelmed with Vocaloid cuteness that is Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX with its more approachable overall design. Also, it has Puyo Puyo playable. Pros + Fun and very easy to learn rhythm gameplay + Has a totally legitimate version of Puyo Puyo playable + Much more approachable than the Project Diva releases from the art style to gameplay difficulty + Plenty of customization options Cons - Song selection quality is rather scattershot - Leans a little too heavily into the frivolous room customization features - Core rhythm gameplay can come off as a little too basic and somewhat off-sync Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Though is not quite as tightly knit as its Project Diva contemporaries on pure gameplay Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX still easily ends up being one of the best rhythm titles on the 3DS purely on its charm and its overall approachable nature Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable 3DS code provided by the publisher.
  7. Back in March, gamers were in for a surprise when it was made known that Game Freak (known mostly for their work on core Pokemon games) was working on an action platformer for SEGA based on a Rambo-style elephant, called Tembo the Badass Elephant. The good news is that you won't have to wait much longer to play it. Even better — each platform will offer 10% off discounts. Here's what you need to do on each platform to qualify: Steam — Preorder anytime from now until launch PS4 — Be a PlayStation Plus Subscriber Xbox One — Be an Xbox Live Gold member Tembo the Badass Elephant will make his big debut on July 21 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for $14.99. Will you be picking up this game?
  8. The Sonic Boom franchise started last year with one title for Wii U, one for 3DS, and a TV show, and it looks like SEGA is continuing on with the series in the gaming space with a new title for 3DS called Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. And once again, Sanzaru Games will be taking on development duties for this title. Featuring the same cast from Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (Sonic, Amy, Tails, Knuckles, and Sticks), this game is said to include more speed, adventure, and exploration as well as a unique focus on harnessing the power of fire and ice to aid each character. Also included is a new mode called Bot Racing, which will feature multiplayer gameplay and is all about speed. Throughout the course of the game, the player will unlock differently themed Bots that they can use to race in this mode with others. So why isn't there a Wii U companion game? It's likely because Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric performed well below SEGA's expected sales, and most reviews were largely negative to boot, so perhaps it makes sense for them to focus just on the 3DS for the meantime. Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice will be available in-stores and on the 3DS eShop during Holiday 2015. You can check out a trailer for the game below. Are you interested in this new Sonic Boom title?
  9. Jonathan Higgins

    The 3D Classics Appreciation Thread

    I've decided I want to create a thread that pays tribute to your favorite 3D Classics in the eShop library. Rather than rely on simple ports like the Virtual Console, folks like M2 put tender loving care into classic games, giving them new life and new depth. What are some of your favorites? I dusted off my Japanese 3DS just to buy and play this gem last night. 3D Streets of Rage 2 is coming stateside in July. I may have compiled 750 words of notes about all the nuances and changes made to the game's "3D" version. If y'all want to see them, here on this very thread, just say the word. I have to say, 3D OutRun makes my heart sing more than any of the others (not counting the above one). I'm not really sure why; I think it's because the 3D effects...like...belong in a racer like that one. Go 'head! Tell me what 3D Classics you own. Want Nintendo to follow SEGA's lead, for once? 3D Super Mario World? C'mon, it's a no brainer.
  10. A while back, there were a handful of sites that got a strange postcard hinting at a partnership project between SEGA and Game Freak. While my eager heart jumped immediately to a Pulseman sequel (I'm quite fond of that game, as a SEGA Channel kid), it turns out we're getting something brand new. Tembo the Badass Elephant is an action-platformer coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, as a digital download. It's target release is sometime this summer. What's the game all about? Feel free to check out the trailer below, but here's a quick summary: Shell City is attacked by the PHANTOM Army, who terrorize the city with skull-clad tanks and various destructive things. Shell City's General calls upon the only force capable of standing up to such a threat...Tembo, whose name sounds like "Rambo" and "Commando" for a reason. It's up to this commando-badass elephant to jump, smash, swing and butt-stomp his way to victory. Based on the trailer...it's as crazy of a premise as it sounds. But considering how bonkers Pulseman was in its day, I'm optimistic. Of course, Game Freak and SEGA not co-existing on Wii U is definitely jarring to some. Here's a piece from an interview with the game's director that might explain why PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam are its intended platforms: "When I was writing the presentation documents for this game, I drew a mockup poster, and I put the Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox logos at the bottom. It seemed to fit, and it happened to stick that way. We thought about other hardware during development, but our hands were pretty full with those three platforms!" We'll offer more information on Tembo the Badass Elephant as it comes. Source Are you excited about Tembo? How did you feel about HarmoKnight, the last new endeavor to come from Game Freak? Be sure to share your thoughts with us!
  11. Developer: Sega/Crypton Future Media Publisher: Sega Platforms: PlayStation 3/PS Vita Release Date: November 18, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the PS3 version of the game Hatsune Miku is an anomaly that I don“t completely understand. I get that her rise of fame started as synthesized vocal software (aka vocaloid) and her anime design managed to catch on in Japan. What I understand much less is how she became such a phenomena that she can take over established pizza chains, appear on late night American TV shows, or go on concert tours all over the world. Her cling to the title of the “most popular virtual singer” is not to be belittled. Still, if it means that I get more great rhythm games like Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd in the process, I could not care less about fully understanding her existence. Despite the virtual idol's strange popularity as of late, Sega still took a chance with bringing over the Project Diva series beyond Japan last year with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F on PS3 and delayed Vita release early this year. Likely deeming that a success, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd now finally sees a simultaneous release on both PS3 and Vita. Little has deviated from the central formula of previous releases in the series. This is by no means bad, of course. As with earlier entries notes appear from pretty much every angle until they overlap with their corresponding face button notes. To also keep the player on their toes, notes also have extra variables like direction based inputs or flicks of the analog stick, with an entire new star note that requires simultaneous taps on the analog sticks. It is certainly not ground-breaking amongst rhythm games, nor does it try to be, but it nails the intrinsic feedback of it. Despite how I may enjoy the recent Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call, that is an example in the genre where the core gameplay somewhat feels off-sync with the music accompanying it. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd does not have that problem and pretty much always feels in tune with both the gameplay and music together. It may sound simple and arbitrary, but I think that is what separates a good rhythm game and a great one. Well, that, and the quality of the soundtrack. Vocaloid J-pop music is certainly an acquired taste. To be honest, aside from the soundtrack of Magical Beat it would be difficult for me to say that to say I care for most vocaloid tunes in general. I tend to enjoy the series more for the well-crafted rhythm gameplay than anything else. I say that, but I think the quality of the soundtrack really stepped up overall in Project Diva F 2nd. I have gone from liking less than a small handful in previous releases to finding, erm, multiple handfuls dangerously catchy in Project Diva F 2nd with its 40+ tracks (not including dlc). To match the crazy presentation the J-pop vocaloid soundtrack also likes to utilize bubbly, eclectic beats to some surprisingly intense rock-like rifts. What remains as the series' double-edged sword is how extravagantly it is presented. The visuals are very eccentric with their colorful vibrancy, expressive movements and dances, and the sheer variety of the motifs. One music video may play with an romantic manga style while another is completely different by having Miku fight with dual katanas and then dying (oops, spoilers?). It probably has a bit too much personality in how it is displayed for would-be newcomers. Also, it becomes a developed skill to pay attention to the notes appearing and not constantly miss because of the extremely busy visuals. Heck, even the notes themselves will occasionally leave the player baffled the first time they see them—for example, a series of them will be in the shape of a heart. I may have personally become much better at not getting distracted, but even I get tripped up by several songs the first time I see them because of the aesthetic. I“m not going to pretend that I am great at most rhythm games, but it is clear that the standard difficulty has seen quite a spike over previous releases. So much so, that as one who has been able to complete hard mode in previous games, I have struggled quite a bit with some of the last songs even on the normal difficulty. Some of the last songs have inputs appear so fast that you don“t have any hope of sight-reading them and succeeding on your first try. For the first time ever I turned to the use of "help items" (which makes parts of songs easier at the cost of a score penalty) to even be sure that I even had the skill level to complete the song(s) anytime soon. Which, even then, I repeated certain songs quite a few times before completing them—I'm looking at you 2D Dream Fever. There is certainly more to Project Diva F 2nd than new songs and an increased difficulty, however, even if I don't really understand (or care to know) more than half of it. Customization options are abound from lots of unlockable costumes, accessories, and challenges to works towards, as well as a "Live Studio" which attempts to recreate a concert setting. Refinements have also been added to the edit mode, which allows players to customize music videos and upload/download them with other users, and the Diva Room too. To be clear, Diva Room is sort of a weird sim-like mode where you can use points earned through songs to buy stuff to customize a vocaloid's room and to raise their.affinity level with items, poking them (literally), or various minigames. Really, though, Diva Room occasionally feels creepy, the minigames within it are poorly designed, and room customization unappealing, so I don't really find any personal appeal in it. It also has a few new additions that are neat for returning fans. For example, being able to carry over saves from the previous game for new unlocks or the ability to convert a Japanese save file to English to carry over progress for possible early importers. Cross-save usage between both PS3 and Vita is pretty seamless for those that happen to have both. Also, Sega now has both a Romaji translation and the newly added direct English translation for those who want learn context behind the various songs, which is cool. Granted, I'm convinced that some songs make less sense in English, but it is the thought that counts. Lastly, a subtle, but smart (and dangerous) addition is "spotlight", which randomly selects songs in the main rhythm portion and gives the player one chance to complete a song for significantly more bonus points towards unlocks and pushes that "Just one more song..." mentality. As a smart performer, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd improves upon previous gigs in nearly every way. It's flashier, has a stronger overall musical selection, useful new features, and is dense with content and modes to work towards. The only real problems is that its significant raise in difficulty can be rather daunting, especially for newcomers, and some long-standing problems with the series still remain. I may never understand the enigma that is Hatsune Miku, but at least I can be at ease knowing that a lot of fun can still be found with her newest rhythm game performance. Pros: + Music is better than the previous Project Diva F overall + Vibrant, varied, and entertaining visuals + Very responsive controls and gameplay that syncs great with the music + Plenty of unlockables and challenges to work towards Cons: - Standard difficulty has spiked a lot. - Diva Room still weirds me out - Visuals can be distracting Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great With a better overall performance and musical selection Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd has proven that this idol is not out of tricks just yet when it comes to putting up a great rhythm game show Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS3 code provided by the publisher.
  12. I grew up during the peak of the Nintendo vs. SEGA console wars of the 1990s. And while my love for The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon run deep, it may surprise some to learn that I was actually a SEGA kid back in the day. And that“s why the current line of SEGA 3D Classics on the Nintendo 3DS eShop warm my heart. As of this very moment, folks can enjoy games like Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin and more, ported by the folks at M2 with a handful of features that should appeal to everyone. These aren't your typical fare of, “Oh, let“s put together a ROM and push out the foreground and background a little”. A fair amount of work gets put into these! I“ve been following the SEGA 3D Classics pretty closely, especially since I happen to own a Japanese Nintendo 3DS. The second line of SEGA 3D Classics have already been released in Japan and feature games like 3D OutRun and 3D Fantasy Zone II. Many were hoping the second line of 3D Classics from SEGA would also find their way outside of Japan. And today, SEGA keeps hope alive. 3D After Burner II is coming to the West in early 2015. And the rest of the second batch will soon follow in monthly installments. The second batch includes OutRun and Fantasy Zone II as aforementioned, as well as 3D Thunder Blade. All the games will be priced at $5.99/€4.99/£4.49. Personally, I“m still holding onto hope for 3D Bare Knuckle II, or as it“s known in the West...3D Streets of Rage 2. But I can dream! In the meantime, it looks like there“s no shortage of childhood nostalgia coming from SEGA. Happy times! Source: SEGA of America Official Blog Does anyone own any of the current SEGA 3D Classics available on the eShop? Are there any from the second batch you“re looking forward to playing next year? Let us know!
  13. Good news, Alien fans. The latest game in the series, Alien: Isolation, has officially gone gold, meaning development is complete and the title is being prepped for release. Unlike Gearbox's disastrous take on Aliens: Colonial Marines from a few years back, Isolation evokes a first-person survival horror atmosphere not unlike the original Ridley Scott-directed movie from 1979. You'll need to scavenge resources, improvise solutions, and use your wits if you hope to survive in this game, all while living in fear of a Xenomorph that stalks you from the shadows. In the meantime, you can check out the latest trailer on Youtube. Alien: Isolation will release on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on October 7. You can check out the latest trailer entitled #HowWillYouSurvive . Source: Press Release Are you excited for Alien: Isolation's release?
  14. SEGA announced release dates for both Sonic Boom games today. The 3DS version, Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, will launch first on November 11, while the Wii U game, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric will release a week later on November 18. As evident by their subtitles, both games will feature different plots and gameplay while being set in the same world/universe. Rise of Lyric is also more focused on action while Shattered Crystal (developed by Sanzaru Games) is more keen on on old-school 2D platforming. The latter also features a new character, Sticks the Badger, in place of Amy as she's kidnapped in that one's story. Expect to hear more about both as their respective release dates approach. Source: Destructoid Are you looking forward to either Sonic Boom game?
  15. It seems that SEGA's gamble with bringing games starring the Japanese virtual singing idol Hatsune Miku to the West is paying off. Already we've seen a Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f release on PS3 as well as Vita, and now SEGA has announced that another new title, Hatsune Miku: Project MIRAI Remix, will be coming to the West on 3DS for the first time. Project MIRAI Remix will be an enhanced version of the Japanese-only release, Hatsune Miku: Proejct MIRAI 2, and features characters rendered in stereoscopic 3D, two different rhythm modes (button and touch), and three difficulties per song. Players will also be offered a number of customization options for button icons and sounds, costumes, gear for character rooms and more. StreetPass functionality will also be utilized where players can share personalized player cards as well as customized dance routines to songs. The game also makes use of AR cards to bring the different characters to life in 3D. Hatsune Miku: Project MIRAI Remix is slated for release on 3DS in 2015. Source: Press Release Are you interested in this newest entry in the Hatsune Miku series?
  16. Developer: Sega/Crypton Future Media Publisher: Sega Platform: PS Vita Release Date: March 4, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen "Have you heard of Hatsune Miku?"- a wise man once said while advertising pizza. If you didn't get that reference, Hatsune Miku is a "Vocaloid" (a glorified synthesized voice program software) that is incredibly popular in Japan. So popular, in fact, that she has become personified as a green-haired Idol that sings a wide-array of original songs as well as covers, and has become an internet sensation because of it. In an attempt to continue to merchandise on her ever-strangely popular name, Sega brings us the newest iteration of "Project Diva" to Vita, a series which initially debuted on the PSP. With the unorthodox release schedule overseas actually following the enhanced PS3 version , does the original Vita version of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f have reason to shine in the spotlight? For the rhythm game genre, Project Diva f is rather standard fare in terms of the actual gameplay. Musical notes are displayed based on the Vita's corresponding face buttons until they overlap with their timed input marker, and generally vary based on pressed and held button-presses. Opposed to, let's say, Rock Band or Guitar Hero, notes are not visually presented in an obvious way, like on a track, and can appear from pretty much any angle from the sides of the screen depending on the song. Even if they are displayed in a rather confusing way at times, due to the busy presentation, the core gameplay is easy enough to learn in addition to having very responsive controls for the most part. Unfortunately, in a gimmicky fashion, the Vita release incorporates touch-based controls for the newly added star-shaped special notes. In the PS3 version these special note inputs were relegated to a simple "flick" of the analog stick, which was easy enough to do. Normally, I would not even mind the touch-based controls if it was a simple tap-based input using the Vita's touchscreen or rear-pad, like how DJ Max Technika Tune made it work quite well, but in Project Diva f these inputs are swipe based. To illustrate, the swiping gesture requires a much more deliberate motion, which is harder to do with consistency, especially in a rhythm game that is bombarding you with other notes very quickly on higher difficulties. It is not game-breaking, but it is a tough compromise to make in a genre that requires consistency and creates an unnecessary extra layer of difficulty when trying to master each song. A good majority of the soundtrack is actually conceived of original tracks made specifically for the vocaloid characters. So, if you don't recognize the music in the slightest, it's probably safe to assume you aren't an extreme devout to their music. That said, the soundtrack does spice it up some surprising remixes and variations of songs you aren't likely to expect. Would you expect an arrangement Amazing Grace, Leven Polkka, or even the original version of Nyan Cat (which apparently came before the Nyan cat video)? Well, they are all songs, among many others, that are in this game. Still, even if you aren't familiar with this hit-and-miss soundtrack, Project Diva f presents each track with such energy that it is very easy to not care and just go with the flow of the engaging gameplay. Now, I don't know if you picked up on this or not, but Project Diva games are relatively bizarre. Not just the musical selection of them either, but especially with how they are presented. Honestly, it's kind of shocking how high the budget is for this entry in particular considering its very polished and fluid visuals which are full of zany personality. It has no problem using an entirely new visual motif with each individual song and complementing them with many crazy dances and stages. In addition, there are plenty of one-off stages like a Phantasy Star Online 2-themed song that goes all the way in humoring it with its aesthetic to even a song that uses 2D animation almost entirely, just for the heck of it. Needless to say, the presentation is just plain weird in Project Diva f and it somehow really works in its favor. To add to a sense of progression, many cosmetic options are available in the game to unlock various costumes and accessories through the use of in-game currency. Multiple outfits, hats, glasses, masks, backpacks, bow ties, tails, animal ears, you name it, are there to obtain through the in-game shop. But that's not all, as there are even more items to unlock as bizarre gifts or room decorations in the "Diva Mode".... which I won't even pretend to understand how it works since I only care about the rhythm game portion of this title. For those who are also super meticulous, they can get much out of the fairly in-depth "Edit" mode which allows the player to incorporate their own MP3s and personalize both the music video and gameplay notes during it. So, if you were ever worried about the game holding you over beyond trying to master the many songs on higher difficulty, there is a lot to unlock for those who enjoy tailoring the vocaloid cast or creating their own music videos. Overall though, the Vita release is pretty comparable to the PS3 version, even down to the lengthy load times between each song. The load times are a bit faster, most likely due to it being a digital Vita release, and the visuals are less distractingly glossy than the PS3 title, but vary in minor ways for the most part. Aside from that, there is an AR mode which is exclusive to the Vita version which is not too worthy of note. At the end of the day, however, it really comes down to how much you enjoy the main rhythm game, which is quite well-made and captivating when it counts the most. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f manages to be a rather engaging rhythm game title, almost in spite of itself. Aspects like the busy presentation and awkward touch-based controls do unfortunately hinder the very well-made rhythm game underneath. This leads to the Vita release in particular not being the definite version, if only due to the awkwardly implemented touch-based controls, but for those who would prefer a portable experience, like myself, can find it to be a very worthy alternative. It's weird and crazy, yet Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f proves to more deviously engaging than it should be on the portable system. Pros: + Fluid, vibrant, and very polished presentation that oozes crazy personality + A lot of customization and cosmetic options in the game's various mode + Tight, responsive controls + Easy to learn gameplay Cons: - The busy presentation can be more than distracting at times - Lengthy load times between different songs - Special "star" notes requiring the touch-screen and/or rear-pad are awkwardly implemented Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great It doesn't make for the definite release, but Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f on Vita serves as a welcome portable alternative to this very well-made rhythm game. Disclosure: PS Vita downloadable code was provided by the publisher for this review
  17. Today SEGA announced when we can expect to see the upcoming Alien: Isolation release in stores: October 7th, 2014. Developed by Creative Assembly (best known as the developer of the Total War series), Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game that looks to recreate the sense of fear and dread from Ridley Scott's classic movie, Alien. You'll need to scavenge resources and improvise solutions all the while trying to stay alive amidst being stalked by a blood-thirsty xenomorph. Will this game rise above the disappointment that was 2012's Aliens: Colonial Marines? Early previews are pretty positive so far, so we'll have to wait and see. Maybe, just maybe this is the Alien game fans have been waiting for. Alien: Isolation will release on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, and PC. Are you excited for Alien: Isolation?
  18. Jason Clement

    SEGA Announces Sonic Boom for Wii U and 3DS

    Last year, SEGA released two of its three exclusive Sonic games for Wii U, and now they're finally revealed the third game in the form of a new title called Sonic Boom at a press conference today. Sonic Boom is actually an entirely new branch of the Sonic franchise that will coincide with a new CG animated TV show, new video games for Wii U and 3DS, and a new toy line. Because of this, you'll notice that Sonic and friends sport a new look and design; SEGA mentions that these new designs are "inspired by the abilities and unique personalities of the characters while still retaining the core identity and values of the Sonic brand." Both the TV show and video games are said to share a common narrative and stylistic similarities. The Sonic Boom video game will actually serve as a prequel to the show and is being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment (Wii U version) and Sanzaru Games (3DS version) in collaboration with Sonic Team. Along with traditional elements like speed, the games will feature exploration, combat, and a new Enerbeam tether mechanic which is said to allow characters to experience the world in a whole new way. As for the character's new designs, they don't look wildly different from the traditional designs save for their proportions, except for Knuckles, who looks to have been beefed up quite a bit and given more overall height. There's no set release date for the game just yet, though the TV show is set for the 2014/2015 season, so it's possible we may hear more at E3 later this year. In the meantime, you can check out the game's trailer below. http://youtu.be/U0a7-1wdDuw Source: SEGA Blog What do you think of the new designs in Sonic Boom?
  19. In a rather surprising leak, the unannounced Alien title currently in development by Creative Assembly has been sighted on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Entitled Alien: Isolation, the game follows the exploits of Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda 15 years after the Nostromo incident. Amanda is hired by the ever-shifty Weyland-Yutani and sent to a remote trading station to recover the Nostromo's recovered black box. Following the leak, SEGA officially announced Isolation and released a preview trailer (check it below) of the lo-fi survival-horror game. It totally reminds me of Routine and Outlast, especially with the grainy '70s film texture and era-appropriate props. Since I'm a die-hard sci-fi nerd I am, to say the least, pretty darn excited. I know I should have reason to be suspect, especially given the absolutely awful Aliens: Colonial Marines, but Creative Assembly has assured players that there's only one (terrifying) Xenomorph that will hunt you. Amanda can only hide and distract it, despite the fact that a weapon or two has been hinted at. The dev team is trying to go back to the franchise's roots, stripping down the experience to pure terror and adrenaline. Curiously, the Xeno isn't the only living threat aboard the station. It'll be interesting to see what Creative Assembly does in order to keep the game a horror title. Going back to the endless waves of Xenos and human soldiers in Colonial Marines is definitely off the tables. Are you excited for Alien: Isolation or cautiously optimistic? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Source: Gamespot
  20. Jason Clement

    Review: Sonic Lost World

    Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: SEGA Platform: Wii U Release Date: October 29, 2013 ESRB: E 10+ A retail copy of the game was provided by the publisher for this review Note: A 3DS version also exists, though it contains slightly different variations on the levels. As such, this review only pertains to the Wii U version of the game. If you've followed Sonic's games over the past decade, chances are you've heard of the "Sonic Cycle." It's a certain process fans are subjected to each time a new game in the series is announced, where hope and excitement eventually unfold into utter disappointment when the title releases. Sadly, this has rung true for many of the hedgehog's games in the last 10 years, especially console-based titles. Fortunately, Sonic's last few have been relatively solid, and with Sonic Generations serving as a good jumping off point for what was next, Sonic Lost World looked set to take the hedgehog to the next level when it was revealed earlier this year. But is the Sonic Cycle alive and well here, or did the the blue blur escape its wrath once again? Lost World's plot has Sonic and Tails inadvertently ending up on a world in the sky known as Lost Hex after a chase with their nemesis, Eggman. Long story short, a group of the world's inhabitants known as The Deadly Six rise up against Eggman and attempt to turn the tables on him by using his own weapon of mass destruction on the world below, forcing Sonic and Eggman to work together to stop them. Upon starting the first level of the game, it's apparent that Lost World is a very different type of Sonic title. It doesn't play or control like traditional Sonic games or even the more recent ones. Instead, it's as if SEGA tried to marry the speedy Sonic formula with the gravitational platforming found in Super Mario Galaxy. And while that may sound great at first, the execution is a different story. Gone are the gradual speed and momentum that Sonic would gain upon holding down the analog stick; now he's relegated to moving around at a controlled speed unless you hold down ZR, which is used for running fast. The control layout seems almost overly complex and requires a good hour or two to get used to, but even after becoming comfortable with it, it doesn't really feel like the ideal way of playing. Levels are divided in part between 3D segments and more traditional 2D platforming segments. Surprisingly enough, I actually enjoyed the 3D levels a bit more, even though they're often a mixed bag when it comes to their level design. Many of the 3D levels often focus on the Mario Galaxy-esque spherical planetoids and such; however, in order to emphasize speed in the game, many of the planetoids are shaped long-wise (like a hot dog or noodle) and often have two or three different sides to traverse. This makes exploration and different paths through the level possible, and it does keep things fresh for when you replay the level to grab red star rings. Unfortunately, Lost World is often not very good at guiding you on what to do at certain points throughout the game, leaving you to figure out things for yourself that might not be too obvious at first. It doesn't even properly introduce its Wisp mechanic, instead relegating it to a helpful tip that you need to pull up on the Gamepad. The Wisp abilities give Sonic a temporary color power that can be anything from becoming a UFO that destroys anything in its path, to a drill that digs through the ground. Most of the wisp powers use the Gamepad in some way, either by using the touch screen to control a path or using the gyrometer to control direction, none of which are ideal ways of controlling them, so the whole idea feels forced on the experience for the sake of making sure the Gamepad was used. Beyond that, the game's flow is often interrupted by strange placements of enemies or obstacles in both the 2D and 3D stages. It's a bit frustrating at times because there are some very good levels that almost seem to marry the speed/gravity mechanic successfully, and others that are downright irritating to play through due to a frustrating design that hinders Sonic's movement quite a bit. Also strange is the fact that the last levels of each world employ an animal quota that you need to meet, meaning you have to go back and 'grind' by defeating enemies to free animals or by finding tanks around the level and freeing them that way, until you free enough of them to meet the quota. It's basically an artificial way to ensure that players go back and explore alternate paths through the different levels, and while I can appreciate that, it does break up the pacing a bit and feels a bit strange. For all of the game's shortcomings, the story itself isn't terrible, despite its Saturday morning cartoon plot and some juvenile humor that teens and adults are likely to facepalm at. Out of all the characters, Eggman is actually the most interesting, with a few moments that show him to be a more complex and two-dimensional than previously thought. The Deadly Six, however, are a more forgettable bunch, as each is based on a different cliche: there's your wild, zany one; the fat slob who only thinks about food; the wise old master; the posh female who only cares about her looks; the depressed, emo one; and of course, the evil mastermind. Aside from that, it's a shame that they're played out as one-dimensional villains and that you aren't given any reason to sympathize with their motives. One of the best things Lost World has going for itself is its music, which is often quite good and catchy, as is often the case with many Sonic games. Unfortunately, I can't quite say the same for the characters' voices; Eggman, Tails, and Sonic all have voices we've gotten used to by now, but some of the Deadly Six's voices are just downright irritating to listen to. Making things even worse is the fact that they'll heckle Sonic and say random things in the background in levels where you do battle with them. On the brighter side, the game is very visually attractive; each world is bright and colorful as you zoom around, and even the cutscenes are of a high quality. It's admirable that Sonic Team tried to change up the formula a bit and really give the gameplay a unique twist, but the execution is dodgy at best. There are many levels that are brought down by inconsistent design or inconvenient controls, and then there are other levels that absolutely nail what the team was probably going for. If Sonic Team gives this formula another go with Sonic's next game, hopefully they can work out the kinks by then, but as it stands, Sonic Lost World is only a decent game at best. Pros + Visuals are some of the best on Wii U at the moment + Great soundtrack + Some great levels with interesting features Cons - Inconsistent level design - Frustrating controls and mechanics at times - Wisp abilities feel tacked on and not needed Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent Sonic Lost World is a game that looks full of promise but falls short in execution. Still, Sonic fans may find the game to be worth playing, especially to check out the levels that do get it right.
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