Bejeweled 2 can easily be called a game that most hardcore or casual gamers have at least tried before. The game is widely available and has seen its share of different looks and style. The game has been available on almost every platform imaginable including mobile cell phones. This can easily called one of Popcaps “Jewel” games.
The Bejeweled gameplay concept is very simple, match 3 in a row of the same color to clear those specific Jewels off. Better yet, if you where to match more the 3 special items are created. Matching 4 provides a bomb that clears out a small cluster of Jewels. 5 Provides an item when combined with a jewel, destroys every other jewel of the same color off the board. Finally 6 created an electrical jewel that shoots an electrical current in 4 directions destroying everything in its path.
The point of the game varies on the mode you are playing the game in. In Classic mode, players must complete a progress bar. The higher the clearing combo, the faster the progress bar fills. Each time the progress bar is filled, players advance to the next stage. Careful though, if your combos arent pulled carefully you might end up in a bind with no possible moves, at that point its game over and have to start over from stage one.
The other modes in the game include Action, Puzzle and endless mode. Action mode allows you to enter your top scores, this in turn allows you to compete with others to get the highest score possible. In Puzzle mode you are presented with… well…. puzzles. Boards are presented to players and players must complete the board with a certain amount of moves allowed. Endless is… well… endless…. play until you cant play no more!
Overall Popcap does a great job with their games, they know exactly how to reach out to gamers of all sorts. They are fully aware of what they are doing when it comes down to a specific group of people to target. Bejeweled is a game series that will be here for the long run. They have so much room to apply different aspect to always make the game seem refreshed. I wouldnt doubt seeing new ways to play in the near future along with new items and power ups.
Poker Night at the Inventory 2 is TellTale’s latest Xbox Live Arcade, Steam and Playstation Network game and is, as the title suggests, a Poker game at it’s core. More than that, this downloadable title is an example of how great personalities and some clever writing can make a functional but not particularly exciting card game into an engaging and fun experience for the player.
After a short and cameo filled introduction the player, aptly named and referenced to as “Player”, is introduced to their adversaries for the night’s game; Brock from “The Venture Bros.”, Claptrap from “Borderlands”, Ash from “Army of Darkness” and Sam of “Sam and Max”. Other characters from these titles and other telltale titles drift in and out during the course of tournaments.
The Cast of Poker Night at the Inventory 2
The writing in this game is superb, drawing from popular culture, developer-in jokes and character backstories, always keeping the player engaged and chuckling throughout. TellTale has made the focus of the game the characters and their interactions whilst playing, not the poker itself. This works well in this game as the mix of nostalgia and humour, brought to life by the characters and Glad0s, allow the player get wrapped up in the experience not the base gameplay, often hanging out for the cast’s quips and comments more than counting the chips on the table and watching for tells.
The poker in game feels a little drab itself, and without the writing would probably be just another basic poker game. The choice of Glad0s as dealer helps to liven up the gameplay as she regularly drops from the ceiling to provide ‘helpful’ comments to the player. The game also features character animations to give away when they are bluffing, but they are not common or very well executed. The Player may also buy drinks for the cast from the bartender Mad Moxxi of the Borderlands games. They make the ‘tells’ from others more obvious, but they still didn’t play much of a role in the results of the tournaments. When you get to playing you get a choice between “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “Omaha”, both games play well and the tournaments serve as opportunities for bragging rights, and more importantly, unlocks. After completing challenges you are offered the chance to win a special item from each character’s title, such as Ash’s Necronomicon and Claptrap’s Video Game Award, each awarding the player with unlocks outside of the game.
Borderlands 2 Unlocks
The game’s brilliant writing is added to by the ability to get heads and skins for Borderlands 2 on all platforms, and then platform specific unlocks including avatar items, Team Fortress 2 hats and exclusive themes. These unlocks keep the game playable well after the dialogue starts to repeat, but once you complete these there is little to keep you playing after the occasional game for nostalgia’s sake. There are also felt, deck and chip variants for each title to unlock, purchasable with ‘unlock tokens’ won in tournaments. These re-skin the bar and game aspects, but don’t affect gameplay.
Overall this game is quite fun and well worth the price tag, quite cheap on all platforms. The jokes, dialogue and unlocks make the game quite addictive and entertaining, but the replay value drops once the dialogue starts to loop and the unlocks are all collected. Some extra modes, multiplayer and more dialogue would help with the replay value, but the game is still great. For some laughs, free items and a good bit of poker fun this is well worth the download. A solid 8/10!
Mahjong is a game that most people by now have played or at least have heard of. The game involves of different tiles and the goal is to match them all up to clear the game. The game is widely available, in fact most people play this at work when they should be working, since it’s available in most computers. This game finally came to the PS3 back in 2009.
Mahjong has been around for quite sometime and is generally known as a time killer in China. As stated earlier, you start with a stack of mahjong tiles that have icons as well numbers that are in a certain shape or pattern. These tiles are to be matched up with each other and removed from gameplay. The concept is very easy just continue doing this until the board game is complete and cleared out.
The controls can be a little frustrating. The cursor is pretty much the same cursor you see on a computer, but the PS3 controller is nowhere near as precise as a mouse, obivously. As you can see from the video, when you move the pointer with your D-pad or your left joystick the selector doesn’t snap to the tiles. Instead you are having to navigate to each tile individually. It would have been a lot easier to have your arrow glide past the block and just scroll to each one. You need to micromanage and adjust for every…. single… move.
The developers of the game where able to give it a nice little twist, they took something that was old and gave it a new fresh look and concept. It features five parables that are told through nine chapters and narrated storybook cutscenes. After getting a piece of the story, you play a game of mahjong to advance to the next scene, which is a static background with the characters and objects moving around on top of the image, but it fails a bit. Example, the quality of the narration is bad. It’s one guy narrating the stories, and sounds tinny and echoy or far away. Also, the art is pretty plain and simple.
I liked that game, burned time. Which is what I would need when I was bored. Although I really can’t recommend to download this one. This game has plenty of potential if the story line, graphics and sound were a bit better. Not to mention the controls. The music is relaxing and calming. Once again as I stated in my Super Stardust HD review, this was one of those games that I downloaded mainly for the trophies.
When trophies were first introduced to Playstation I was intrigued and excited. This was Sony’s way of competing with Microsoft Xbox 360 Achievements. Super Star Dust HD was among one of the first games that started the trophy system. My goal? To obtain EVERY single trophy! This was also my first full 1080p game. So I decided to give this game another breath of fresh air and give it another go.
The game has many different play modes, such as arcade mode, planet mode, endless, survival, bomber and time attack and it also includes a 2 player co op mode. For the sake of this throwback we will go visit just plain and simple arcade mode. The player controls a space fighter craft that can move in any direction on a spherical shield surrounding a planet, while simultaneously firing in any direction independent of its movement. In arcade mode you are visiting planets and umm… destroying asteroids and alien enemies. Think of it as a very advanced Asteroids game. You get many different types of weapons for different types of asteroids. Rock Crusher for regular asteroids, Fire for gold asteroids and Ice for Ice asteroids. Along with those weapons you also get bombs which destroy everything with a certain radius. Weapons can also be upgrade by shooting the Kryptronite looking asteroid rocks that are found with in the bigger asteroids. Among the weapon power up you can also find points, shields and 1-ups.
After MANY frustrating attempts I was able to obtain every single trophy in the game. After doing so, I wondered… now what? I was able to get much play out of the game through the other modes in the game. The game was extremely easy to start and play for any novice player, but it does challenge even hardcore players. Very worth the $10.00 if you want to burn some time.
“JET GRIND RADIIIOOOOO!!!” proclaimed exuberantly by Professor K. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Jet Grind Radio or, Jet Set Radio as it’s called in Japan, has been given the re-release and HD coat of paint, and the original Japanese title, Jet Set Radio. Now the question is: Can a decade or more game from the Dreamcast, hold up well, or crash and burn? This reveiw will primarily focus on the PSN and XBLA versions, there is an Vita version out as well.
I’ll start here, if you remember the game fondly, for everything that it gave you, and revolutionized gaming at the time. Guess what, every single thing holds up from the previous incarnation on the Dreamcast. I’ll go with good first. Sega kept the game exactly the same, to the game’s features as the first time it was released. Simply amazing, beautiful, and nostalgia factor off the scales. The graffiti in crisp 1080p, character models even more streamline with the up to HD quality. But I’ll start with the graffiti, since it’s the star of the show, more than the weird story, control the airwaves, and control Tokyo-To and the taggers story. Every single graffiti from the first is back as well as a dozen new ones, which Sega picked to be in the game. Link to the reveal video here:
Congratulations to the winners, personal favorite is Snack Attack! That is all. But additionally, they also kept the create your own graffiti feature in game… sadly, XBLA version didn’t have it included for some reason. Sega, also, added a better camera to the game, allowing for better controls while skating, and when the camera slightly reverses during certain tricks and moments after tagging walls. It’s not a bad thing, that the game remained the same. Also, the music, the music wasn’t touched, but reduced number, and it remains the same selection of pop, punk, rock, hip hop, instrumental, and electronic. The music and the graffiti made the game a cult classic, and I’m glad, they kept the music the same, while adding new graffiti to the mix. Plus, best GGs in the gang, are Cube and Garam… He’s the weird version of Spider Man and a foot ninja… look!
The guy on the far top left, that’s Garam, and on his left Cube
Now, onto the bad; remember, all the bad from the first version of the game on the Dreamcast. Well, they all persist in the HD version. I’ll start with controls… Seriously, remember having the inspector a 100ft from you and you have to finish that last graffiti with a full circle and half circle on the analog, and you’d be done finish the board? And for good measure, throw in, your one shot from restarting. And end result, you getting shot in the back, because your control wouldn’t register the freaking half circle. Yup my friend, that’s still present, love it or hate it. Even with the improved camera, it still has those moments where, you skate down the hall towards the Poison Jam for the boss fight, and you can’t avoid them, because the damn camera changed, and controls were inverted, yup still there. Also, with the new camera, it also, has rather random moments of pop-in and popup during levels. Also, another bad translation to HD, was the music during the cutscenes, tend to skip. Last thing, loading times, I don’t exactly remember the loading from the first iteration, but in the re-release, they seem rather long, but that could be me. Not a rage worthy long, but long load times, but a slight nuisance all the same.
Those new to the game, will probably guff at the simplicity of the controls and the feel of not doing the tricks, and everything being automated. But those who remember the game for what it really was, a romp through Tokyo-To, tagging everything from walls, to water towers, billboards, helicopters, rival gangs and the Inspector, you’ll love everything about this game, like first time you played it almost 12 years ago. The game style, humor, music, and fun have all translated well, as well as the quirky things that made you want to jump into the game and hunt down the GGs yourself. Even with the time that has passed on the game and franchise, the game with its new HD paint, character models sporting still very few polygons, and the game is worth the price tag.
Okami was a gorgeous game that came of for the PS2 in 2006. I still remember buying it at Gamestop: my best friend and I couldn’t afford the game, so we split it, 50/50 and shared the game until we both beat it. Then it just… ended up… at my house. Okami was known for its gorgeous design and beautiful blending of Japanese folklore with an original tale and it is one of my favorite games of all time.
Imagine my delight when I heard they would be making the HD version for PS3! I’m happy to report that after playing the HD version of Okami, I am still in love with this game!
The player is Ammy, the wolf avatar of Amaterasu, the sun goddess. Ammy and her pal Issun must journey to find all of Ammy’s lost brush techniques while destroying the evil darkness that threatens the land of Nippon (historical Japan). Along the way you will play puzzles, solve mysteries and meet hilarious characters with silly things on their heads. The game is an action/platformer puzzle game with RPG elements in the fact that you can customize your weapons and stats.
The story is fun and interesting, with some strange (but not in a bad way) twists. There are also numerous callbacks to Japanese folklore and culture, which I loved. There are even some easter eggs. Here’s a hint: go get some Cherry Cakes from Mrs. Orange for an awesome surprise.
For those who played the game on the PlayStation 2, the question you most likely want answered is: how does it look? For some games, the HD upgrade makes a world of noticeable difference, but to me, I can’t really see a difference in the HD version. The originaly game was already polished and pretty. There were no dim colors or edgy polygons in the land of Nippon. I showed off a gameplay video of Okami HD in action, and what I mentioned there still holds true.
Is the game lovely, a feast for your eyes? Bottom line: yes, yes, yes.
The gameplay is pretty addicting. You have the main quests and sidequests which follow the standard format of running around and doing things, but there are also mini-games that are more like puzzles and some that are more like oldschool 2D games. There are also secrets all over the place, prompting you to spend hours in certain areas just to be sure you found them all. The game isn’t actually open world, but the skills you gain and hidden pathways will make you feel like it is as you gain more and more abilities.
Much of the story hinges on your use of the celestial brush, a tool with which Ammy draws symbols that cause actual changes to game world. For example, drawing a slash mark on a tree will cut it down. That this game was developed before motion controls came into popularity is rather amazing.
This is an easy game to get into, although younger children may not have the attention span for all the text at the beginning of the game.
New for HD
Trophies! Yay! Now everyone will know that I beat Hayabusa at turnip pickin! I don’t know why you trophy lovers need them so much, but they are there and they are not all based on things you have to do to progress the story, which I appreciated.
You can also use the Move to play. Some of you may remember that a version of Okami was released for the Nintendo Wii a few years back. Quite a few folks complained that it was actually too hard to play the game with the Wii, although a game involving drawing should be right at home with our motion controllers. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Move, so I couldn’t test it out.
I asked my good friend how he felt about it, and he found one of the hardest parts to be making straight lines. Other than that he said it seems simple enough.
I heard one or two people grumble that this game is $20. Please do not grumble, this game is worth every penny. Gorgeous graphics, great characters and a beautiful story: what more do you need?
Oh Sonic, you’ve had your up and you’ve certainly had your downs. 11 years ago you released your last game on a Sega made console, the Dreamcast. For many, but not all, the Dreamcast era was the last time they saw a “good” Sonic game. With Sonic Adventure 2 HD just released on the PSN and Xbox Live, does this game live up to the nostalgia of long time Sonic fans? Or perhaps this game was never good to begin with?
Tell me how these two get mistaken for each other???
Sonic Adventure 2 is cut into two parts, Hero Side and Dark side. Hero represents Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles; Dark representing Eggman and the debut of Shadow and Rogue. Beating both sides unlocks a joint mission that ends the story. It’s interesting to see both perspectives of this adventure and witnessing why Eggman does what he does, but I think Sonic Adventure 1 did it better with each character getting there own story. Sonic and Shadow represent traditional Sonic gameplay, and honestly that’s where the most fun to be had is. Tails and Eggman are in these weird bipedal robots that are slow and bulky but can be fun at times. The worst levels are Knuckles and Rouge. Once again, the Master Emerald is shattered and Knuckles has to find 3 pieces per level to put it back together a la Sonic Adventure 1. Rouge plays the same way; she just wants the emerald for herself. These levels can be extremely frustrating, the your meter tells you Knuckles is right on top of an emerald piece, only for it to take you 15 minutes to realize it’s a level below you and the only way to get there is to go all the way around the level… Ya, it’s annoying. And let’s not forget the surprise drop down enemies that you can’t avoid unless you already know they are coming.
However, there are good sides to this game. The colors are bright and beautiful and runs smoothly. I always thought SA2 looked worse than SA1 and it shows here in HD. Same music is back and still get’s stuck in your head, in a good way. (?Fallow me, set me free?) As I said before, Sonic and Shadow are the most fun. Zippy through space grinding on rails or running through the jungle is pretty rad. And once again the Chao are back. I can’t lie, I find it really enjoyable to raise my Chao, maybe because I’m an animal lover and don’t have to clean the poop up for them. There’s also a lot for relay value trying to get better scores and emblems. Camera angles will sometimes go wonky but I didn’t have too much trouble with it. This game is fun, you just have to put up with the frustration as well.
Fight little blue cuddly things!
The last Sonic game to be released on a Sega owned platform before the company bowed out of the console wars. Sonic Adventure 2 for its time was a fun game, but with Sonic lost in the realm subpar games, SA2 seems like it might have been turning point from great, to mediocre. It’s still fun and better than a lot of Sonic games we’ve had to deal with in this generation (Sonic the Hedgehog on PS3 and Xbox is garbage) it still has its problems. Sonic Adventure 2 for the PSN and Xbox Live runs straight down the middle with a 3 out of 5.
We are back again!! Again!! Even though we said the wrong episode number. We are old, what do you expect? Sit back and enjoy us rip on the NFL replacement refs and all of our gaming opinions. Our good friend Robert Workman stops buy and classes up the place, or downgrades the place? We need all the help we can get sometimes. Robert is one of our favorite gamers. Anyway, we also discuss kids playing online, and Big Shel moving to Texas. We talk about the new games coming out as well. Enjoy the show!!!
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is exactly as it sounds. The game is basically an HD (High Definition) version of the classic series that many of us gamers grew up playing. While it is definitely not a direct port of the original it is more of a mash-up of the first, and second game in the series. From the start menu forward you’ll notice a complete overhaul of the various modes, and features that the game has to offer. It’s nothing like what I recall Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 being like. With that being said a lot of the old modes are still intact including the famous “career” mode which has the player completing various objectives in order to score cash for the customization options, stat upgrades, and extra boards. Aside from that you’ll find an entirely new Xbox LIVE mode where you can play with friends, or random people in four player lobbies. In that respect there’s something new for everyone.
When it comes to staying true to the “old” Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD tries it’s hardest to deliver such an experience. As you play through the single player modes (Free Skate, Single Session, Career) you’ll play in very familiar territory. The levels (Warehouse, School II, The Hangar …) are available, and the unlock-able levels are true HD upgrades of the original designs. Nothing was short changed, and the only true difference comes with the change of a certain career goal. Back in the day when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was hot dvds had yet to be invented, so you would have to collect VHS tapes. Activision/Robomodo fixed this technological feature by turning it into a “Find The Hidden DVD” goal. Other than that you’ll still be spelling S-K-A-T-E, and collecting level specific items in order to score customization cash. You’ll even be shooting for the demanded high scores (High Score, Pro Score, Sick Score) within each level in order to further unlock the game’s various features.
The word “new” is something that will likely frighten off dedicated Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater fans, and sadly there is a lot of “new” within this revised edition. As I mentioned previously the menu system has endured a complete overhaul. For the most part the old features are still intact, but things like the available skaters, and available boards have been changed. My memory may be a little fuzzy on the matter though as I only recognized a few of the available skaters. The selection of unlock able boards also seems to have been shortened. The game definitely doesn’t feature the interesting board designs that I remember from the older games. With that being said though you won’t see much of the skateboard as you play the game. Another new feature, which isn’t all that bad is the “Avatar Skater” option that allows the gamer to play as their own Xbox LIVE avatar. It was fun to be able to play as the digital representation of myself, so I can’t complain there.
Aside from those features you’ll encounter even more “new” things as you venture online for some competitive/friendly gameplay. There is no doubt that the Xbox LIVE mode is new to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. When the original games were released online wasn’t even a thing, so it’s pretty neat that Activision/Robomodo decided to include such a feature in this game. In “Xbox LIVE” you will find a handful of available modes including “Graffiti”, “Trick Attack”, “Free Skate”, and “Big Head Elimination”. All of these modes can be played via the “Quick Match”, “Join Match”, or “Create Match” options. If you are familiar with online gaming then you’ll understand exactly what the functions of these lobby setups are.
Game modes such as “Graffiti”, Trick Attack”, and “Big Head Elimination” are entirely competitive modes. In “Graffiti” 2 – 4 players will compete head-to-head by scoring on the various gaps, ramps, and rails. The player who scores the highest on each interactive obstacle will paint the object the color associated with their character. By painting/tagging objects the player will earn points accordingly. In the end the winner is the one who maintains the most tags/painted areas. In “Trick Attack” things are different, and high scoring is the key to victory. You will need to score the most points by doing tricks, grinds, flips, and specials. Like “Graffiti” this mode can also be played with up to four players making it a highly competitive game mode. The final, and newest game mode is “Big Head Elimination”. In this mode you basically try to outlast your opponents by performing tricks. If you bail, or stop doing tricks your head (balloon if using avatar skater) will grow larger in size. If for some reason you are unable to perform tricks, or if you fall off your board enough times you’re head/balloon will eventually explode in a burst of confetti. The last man standing is the winner in this particular game type.
The last available mode of online gameplay is “Free Skate” in this mode no score is kept, and the gameplay is friendly. This mode is excellent for getting online with friends, and chatting while improving your skateboarding skills. You could also use this mode to give friends pointers, or get pointers from said friends. I tested this mode out with a couple of friends, and definitely had a good time doing it. In an odd sort of way it was like being at an actual skate park with my friends.
When it’s all said, and done Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD fails in it’s attempt at true nostalgia, but succeeds in breathing life back into the roots of the series. If you’re looking for the same game that you played way back in the day you will not find it here. What you will find is a challenging skateboarding game that will put your gaming skills to the ultimate test. Whether you wish to take on single player, or enjoy some online matches with your friends there’s pretty much something here for fans, and newcomers alike. As far as the online experience goes it was quite frustrating for me. I ran into some questionable glitches/hacks, and even some gamers who had ridiculous scores (Activision is currently looking into the matter). Even the single player aggravated me with certain goals being hard to achieve. With that being said the game still wasn’t all that bad. I know you’re curious as to if I think the game is worth the 1200 msp, and I think it is if you you don’t mind a challenging game. It definitely takes some skill to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, so don’t buy it thinking all is going to be easy.
16 years ago on July 5, 1996, NiGHTS into dreams… made its mark in SEGA history and became a cult classic among gamers. Now, the restoration of Nightopia can be relived with the HD version slated to be released this fall for Windows PC Digital Download, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade.
The HD remake of NiGHTS will bring improved graphics, a 16:9 aspect ratio, as well as leaderboard support, trophies and achievements. An additional feature called “Saturn Mode” will give players the option to experience the game with its original graphics for a nostalgic feel.
For more information and pictures of gameplay, take a look at the announcement on SEGA’s blog. Below is a trailer that accompanied the Thursday’s news.