Game Review: Kid Icarus Uprising – Too big to fail

 

 

Ah yes I remember when the Nintendo 3DS premiered at E3 a couple of years ago, the ones you saw it there thought it was the best thing ever especially after playing Kid Icarus: Uprising. In fact many people pre-ordered the 3DS just to play Uprising at launch. Well sadly the game didn’t make it at launch nor did it make for the holiday season last year, leaving the handheld to gather steam on its own (and it did according to me). Finally, however, Kid Icarus: Uprising is out and available to all now. So the question is: is the game all that or just E3 fluff that should go back into hiding.

 

 

 

Game Info

 

 

Kid Icarus: Uprising is actually the latest sequel to the original Nintendo Entertainment System game Kid Icarus; where the main character, who is not named Icarus (or ‘Kid’ for that matter) but rather Pit. He serves the goddess of light Palutena, keeping order in Angel Land and protecting humans from Medusa the dark goddess of the underworld and her monster horde. At the end of the first game Medusa was put down, but only 27 years later she returns swearing vengeance against all of Angel Land. So once again, guided by Palutena, Pit goes into the breach and faces down the underworld. And that’s it on the story front; it may seem a little light but trust me they make up for it in other ways.

 

This game is a part rail flight combat, part third person shooter in which the controls are highly customizable to individual players (from movement to targeting and so forth). In combat Pit can attack at range or melee depending on distance (of course) and the type of weapon he wields. That’s right; players can equip Pit with nine different weapons this time around each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Also goddess Palutena grants Pit various powers to make his mission easier, but he must equip them to use them and since there not a lot of pockets in his tunic players must pick and choose which powers would help them best. I mean a huge death beam is nice but healing is just plain smart. Outside of saving the day and cracking skulls players do battle with the demonic forces for hearts… Serious, hearts. Don’t worry it isn’t anything touchy-feeling, no; hearts in Uprising is cold, hard, cash, and have many different uses within the game. And of course the Nintendo fanboys (in which I am a lifelong card carrying member) would have a serious cow if multiplayer didn’t make it into the game (seeing how it was a major selling point at the beginning). It only comes with two modes, team and free for all, but playing multiplayer can net you special weapons, abilities and extra hearts for your use in single player.

 

 

The Goods

 

 

Action: Now people don’t get me wrong I like the modernization of video games; how they tell a story, how they make us as players identify with the characters we play and interact with, and so forth. The one thing that more and more current games seem to lack is constant action (meaning from a start of a level to its end is nothing but putting down enemies). It’s not exactly as bad when games like Mass Effect or Gears do it correctly, but too many games follow the formula of:

 

  • A little action
  • A long cut scene
  • Repeat til boss cut scene
  • Fight boss
  • Long aftermath cut scene

 

This formula can be so plotting it’s like watching a movie (a very slow paced movie) where all you want to do get down with your bad self. Uprising doesn’t do that; oh sure they have their unique way of filling in exposition (more on that next) and make use of cut scenes as well, but their cut scene are no long than ten seconds long. Everything else it straight, unhalted action and combat – it’s like playing a small arcade game right in the palm of my hand. What more, the action can be ramped up or down by the power of heart(s). See in addition to using your hearts to buy things, you can also use them to ‘gamble’ in stage difficulty. The harder the stage the better the hearts you earn, weapons you find, and treasure you collect. However if you lose your life, you lose your hearts (which seems backwards) you betted on. Consequently players will have to pay hearts to take the stages to its easiest level as well. So yeah Nintendo well done.

 

 

Single player Characters and Voice overs: By all that is good I love these characters! You wouldn’t think an over 20 year old cast would be interesting, but they are – and surprisingly Meta. While Palutena & Pit stay on task defeating the evil forces of Medusa; their off topic conversations and hi·jinks throughout the stages range from hilarious to heartfelt. Who would have thought an angel and a goddess could be so down to earth. Often they compare the standard gaming conventions (slyly might I add) in relation to their opponents, obstacles, and even the first game. The other characters are also just as unique in their personalities whether they’re allies or enemies of Pit. After all it’s one thing to have a three-headed hydra attack Pit just for the sake of being evil; it’s another thing entirely to have that same hydra have three different personalities (a brute, genius, and stoic respectively) depending on the head who’s talking – and they hate each other as much as they hate pit. Awesome.

 

 

Multiplayer: Yes people you can relax, multiplayer is pretty good. Like I said before there is only two modes: Team battle (Light vs. Dark) or Free for all. Basically in these two modes players take on ‘Fighter’ forms and use the weapons and abilities from the single player to beat the crap out of your opponents. Each stage has their own little quarks to them as well as interesting temporarily weapons that’ll make someone’s day unpleasant. In LvD however if you beat the life bar out of the enemy team; one player from that team will spawn as a ‘pit angel’. Pit angels are powerful and have twice the heath as a fighter does, but if they go down the team loses and its game over. Admittedly the multiplayer still uses the Nintendo friend codes to a certain agree, but if you have a wireless internet connection you can play against one in the world for five minutes. And trust me, you can dish out a lot of pain in that short amount of time.

 

 

3D Graphics: Do I really have to say anything about the graphic superiority of the 3D graphics of this game? Ok I’ll say this: remember how I said that it was impressive that the 3rd party game Tales of the Abyss 3DS used the 3D in a creditable way. Well I still stand by that statement, but there is a reason why Nintendo games are some best games in the business. Uprising is the best looking, most colorful, handheld game to date; I dare you to play this game and call me a liar.

 

 

The Bad

 

 


Controls: Even this they tried, they gave players all sorts of options to control Pit and his targeting reticular. D-Pad, thumb pad, touch screen, heck even the ABXY buttons can be co-opted; but at the end of the day the controls are still a sore spot. The 3DS control scheme manipulated in the they need is awkward at best; they know this and even included a desk stand for stability, but for a handheld that doesn’t make sense. If I go to the bank for example and I wanted to play Uprising I don’t want to whip out a plastic stand just to play it – I would look like a dork. The killing part is that it wouldn’t be so bad if they added a target lock function to the controls and not be just a power to active (and find might I add) – very lame Nintendo. As it stands the learning curve on the controls is very high and almost brought the score down I’m sorry to say, but you can’t keep a good game down.

 

 

Ranking

Since the release of the Nintendo 3DS, which is a year old now, there have been games that properly show off the goods of the system but none I would call an icon title for the system (outside the Mario clone games out there). Well no more, Kid Icarus: Uprising will now and forever be synonymous with the 3DS as the very face of its lifecycle – it’s that good. Difficult controls aside the game has enough under the hood to keep 3DS owners entertained for a very long time. Go. Buy. NOW!

Yes people the AR cards return...

 

 

And they fight now, watch out Yu-Gi-Oh, Palutena is coming for you.

 

 

 

A moment of gaming reflection – Repo Games

 

Video Games are awesome; they can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Doubt me? Well in this moment of gaming reflection see how this lady’s knowledge of basic video games saves her ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s Gamertainment – DEATHBATTLE! Zelda vs. Peach

 

Ok ladies and gentleman in this new segment called ‘That’s Gamertainment’ we report on various internet bodies that use the power of video game to entertain the masses. And of course what better entertainment media than bloodspots. Deathbattle!, for those who don’t know, is a product of Screwattack.com that puts two fiction characters (mostly video game) against other to see who’s the best. As hardcore imaginists we agree with most of the death battles so far (the ninja turtle fatal 4 way is a little suspect, but that another post for another time) and today’s match is sure to be a true battle royal: Zelda vs. Peach. Now don’t get me wrong, I like these two princesses but they do tend to get kidnapped quite a bit. I mean they’re powerful in their own right and command their own kingdoms; but time and time again when the sheez hits the fan the only ones who can save them is a plumber and someone not old enough to shave let alone save the world. Oh well, that not a problem today the only thing these ladies need to worry is themselves.  Check out the match here, and catch up with season one here.

 

 

 

 

Game Preview – Prime World Site Update

 

Hey gamers, remember Prime World? Yeah, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. See Prime World is a PC game similar to League of Legends (LoL) and Defense of the Ancients (DotA). Players are owners of their own Kingdom, where they can choose from there economy to how to wage war. The more impressive and well run your kingdom is, the powerful your armies becomes; you may even acquire heroes to fight for your cause – which is to obtain an all-powerful element called Prime. Well that game was announcement some time ago and when you would visit the website all you would see is a somewhat interactive flash page. Impressive, but not helpful for finding out information about the game. Well I’m glad to report that their site has been overhaul and new tabs have been included for research purposes. Still no release date information outside the ‘download soon’ tab, but something tells me I won’t have to wait for long – for now I’m going to read up.

 

 

 

 

 

WTF/FTW – The Flaming C on Young Justice (sort of)

 

Conan O’Brien, a sort of living legend on the late night talk show circuit. From the whole ‘Tonight Show’ debacle which he handled with style and panache to his current show on TBS that always keeps the entertainment industry on its toes he’s just the host to make a late nite into a great nite. However, thanks to True Backlash, I’ve think I’ve beaded down my personal favorite Conan O’Brien moment: The Flaming C. Basically he had Bruce Tim create an outlandish superhero based off O’Brien – it was just a sketch and quite ridiculous but it didn’t go any farther than that – until a year ago. I’ll let Conan explain the rest:

 

 

 

 

 

 

A momment of Gaming reflection – Do the mario

 

Ladies and gentlemen, we here at the armada are broskis (like bronies but for wrestling), as such we watch Z! True Long Island Story created by the Internet Champion Zack Ryder as well as CHI! True Long Island Story hosted by Michael Chiappetta (ZR best friend). While not as dynamic as Zack, Chi does his best to entertain the masses with odd ball antics and a cast of characters that could make of their own wrestling federation. Why do you care? I’m glad you asked.  One of Chi’s gimmicks is putting people who  dance better than him on his title intro; they’re usually very ‘unique’ but last week’s episode was downright inspired –we can now mark Chi as a video game fan, represent.

 

 

 

 

Game Review: Street Fighter X Tekken – Pandora’s Box is opened and the dark secrets are revealed, is hope all that remains?

 

TrueBackLash back again people and two weeks after its release, it’s time to review Street Fighter X Tekken (X is pronounced cross). Now I wanted to do this with voiceover and video, the works. Unfortunately Bronze blew our entire budget on his review of Mass Effect 3. So now I’m stuck doing a text review, oh well no use complaining, I guess.

 

(Hey! That was suppose to be a secret! – BB)

 

Also, if you want to know what I thought about all this “DLC on Disc” business, just click here.

So enough with the banter, let’s get to it.

 

 

Game Info

 

In an alternate universe where all the Street Fighter characters exist on the same Earth as all the Tekken characters, a strange metallic cube from space crash lands on Earth. Being dubbed Pandora, after the Greek myth about Pandora’s Box, the cube draws power from conflict, during which it releases a powerful energy. Fighter’s around the world are either want to find the box for their own plans (use it for evil, learn it’s secrets, destroy it etc.) or get dragged into the conflict because of the box. For some reason, this puts all the characters (notable exceptions notwithstanding) in teams of two, all with the goal to head to Antarctica, where the box crashed.

Similar to the Street Fighter IV series there are several modes of play. Arcade, where you run though the stories of the characters. If you pick a canon team, you’ll see them banter back and forth after wins, fight their own rival battle and have a shared ending at the end. Oh, there’s a multiplayer function her so you can also play with a buddy on the same team.

Versus are standalone matches where you can play with or against live opponents or the computer. There’s also training, where you sharpen your skills with the characters and Challenge which you can test your skill in Trial or Mission modes or lean how the game works in Tutorial mode. There is also Online Battle where you could battle real opponents over X-Box Live or PlayStation Network.

The fighting system plays similar to a mix of Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Tekken Tag Tournament. You have to select two characters, each has a one Super Arts or super moves and can perform Cross Arts, two supers at once with the other character. Cross Assault or fighting with both characters at once before the super bar is exhausted, can also be done. Characters can tag out to their partner off-screen as they please. The catch is if one character is defeated, the whole team loses.

There’s also the addition of Scramble Mode, which can be played in Versus or Online Battle. Two teams (four characters if you’re counting) are fighting at once. There is a catch however, each team shares a life bar and super bar, making it easier for a team to lose.

To bring some zip to the gameplay, there is the addition of the gems system and the Pandora mode. The gems give you power ups that boost speed strength, defense etc, of certain conditions are met. Each character has two separate sets of default gems, but the gems can be customized and used in sets of three.

Pandora mode sacrifices a team member who has a limited amount of health. The remaining character will have a slight power boost and an infinite super bar. Catch here is that if the Pandora powered character doesn’t win the battle in a (very short) span of time, they lose anyway.

 

 

 The Goods

 

Fluid Gameplay: The core mechanics of this game is perfect. Both the wily fighting game veteran and the wide-eyed rookie will be able to learn the controls with a low amount of difficulty. For the Tekken fans, Capcom has went out of their way to give them many, many Tekken-like combos, moves and mechanics so they can deliver the hurt with their favorite Tekken characters.

Presentation: The actual game graphics are nothing new to those who’ve played the Street Fighter IV series. Like SFIV, the level of detail put the background is insane, sometimes I’m half tempted to see what’s going on back there then concentrating on the fight. The artwork and end cutscenes for the team storylines go way beyond beautiful. There were also some very funny moments in the various Arcade Mode stories.

Tons of New Characters: For Tekken purists, all/just about all the Street Fighters are new to them; Street Fighter buff may be trying Tekken characters for the first time. This goes double for the Tekken characters in a 2D-fighter environment. This is not counting the four new-to-the SFIV-engine Street Fighter characters, Rolento, Ibuki, Hugo and Poison (and for the PS3 Cole, Mega Man, Pac-Man Toro and Kuro).

Scramble Mode: Hardcore fun, nuff said.

 

 

The Bad

 

Glitches, Glitches, Glitches: The only real thing stopping me from giving this game the score it really deserved. Problems like the sound cutting out in online mode, Mega Man floating off-screen and characters having infinite combos have become a real issue. Capcom is probably going fix these issues, but most of these should have been caught, before the game’s release.

The Gems: To me, they are useless and they really don’t add anything new to the gameplay. I don’t even notice when they activate at times. I heard that there are more gems coming soon, but the gems I have are completely interchangeable.

Pandora Mode: This is more of a nitpick because this is an interesting concept in theory. I reality, there’s not much time to really be effective with it. Those opponents with more than 20% health or know how to evade until Pandora mode runs out will not be beaten so easily. I also don’t like that the health doesn’t get a bit of a boost.

 

 

Ranking

 

This game just edges past “IT’S OK” because of the glitches. The online play important is to a game like this and it’s suffering because of the glitchy netcode. The experience of playing 2D Tekken characters, gameplay presentation and Scramble Mode are what make this game pass. If it was just the Gems and Pandora, then Street Fighter X Tekken would have a higher score, because it’s possible to play and be successful without them. Getting hit with an infinite combo or suffering from online lag because of glitches could end up in an unfair loss. To sum it up, offline, it’s one of the best fighting game’s Capcom’s ever made and a great crossover (and I’m not a Tekken fan). Because of the glitches however, the rank literally can’t go any higher.

Game Review: Mass Effect 3 – Forget the reapers, the Commander’s greatest enemies are his/her fans

 

Finally, it took about two weeks (but in my defense I was playing Street Fighter X (Cross) Tekken at the same time) but here it is my Mass Effect 3 game review – Enjoy!

 

Oh yeah, I’ve been hearing rumbling about the ending of this game being unsatisfactory. Well for me I like to take my time and enjoy what a game has to offer, not rush it down like a plate full of hot dogs to a hungry Takeru Kobayashi so I haven’t beaten the game yet. But once I do I’ll offer my own opinion on the matter – stay tuned.

 

 

 

Capcom, Street Fighter and Additional Content (DLC, Locked ODC, updates)

 

Hey, guys TrueBackLash here, before, I get started with the article, I want to let you know that Boss Bronze is running behind, but he’ll be back with fresh reviews in a couple of days.

So all this talk about locked content for this game has got me thinking. The Street Fighter series has always been like this. Y’know adding stuff to one game and expanding it over the course of weeks/months. It annoys the hell out of people, but the Street Fighter series would be nothing without it.

If we stuck with just Street Fighter II, each non-shoto would only have two special moves, no super moves, no extra colors, no unlocked bosses, no necessary buffs and nerfs for balancing and no 5 new characters. I personally can’t think of Street Fighter now w/o Dee Jay and T. Hawk, and I know most fans wouldn’t be w/o Cammy and Akuma. The series stops there without all that content.

What about the other Street Fighter games? I found out about Sawada in the console version of Street Fighter the Movie, do you think I would have if Capcom didn’t rework the horrid arcade version? What about Alpha and SFIII, would they be the same if Capcom didn’t update them? No cult classic in SFA3 with one fighting games best rosters and features? No arguably the best 2D fighting game of its time(maybe still) in 3rd Strike? Scary thought.

Point is, additional content is not a bad thing and Capcom needs to find a way to do it without angering the fans. Honestly, I just don’t see how. When SFII was adding, y’know, all the stuff in the second paragraph, there was no DLC yet so they had to make new game to do it. Fans were angry and it became the poster child for Capcom Sequel Stagnation. What’s that? THIS http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CapcomSequelStagnation.

When Street Fighter IV came out, some fans were mad because it relied to heavily on SFII characters, Capcom made a new game with 10 characters added and some buffs and nerfs for existing ones. Fans were angry because they didn’t do it on DLC, which the original game was incapable holding so much. Then they made a small upload for said game on DLC, featuring four more characters. Fans were angry for another update they had to pay for.

 

 

What is Street Fighter X Tekken but a big, fat, nerd rage - am I right?

 

With this game, Capcom made a game that can handle the DLC, then came Locked Disc-gate. Obviously, Capcom intended to cash in on the 12 characters and other misc. locked away. The probably did it to save money on making it true DLC and (maybe as a built in excuse/afterthought/intended side effect) it saves on hard drive space on the console. Obviously fans were angry, they had a gold bar in their gym locker but it was hidden in a small locker inside that locker and they don’t have the key for it even though they paid for the gym membership.

Of course the hackers gloating about their finds on YouTube didn’t help any. What Capcom did was lazy and stupid, but I really don’t think it was shady and unethical. If you do, that’s why you have local senators and congressmen (or like government for other countries) and tell them that you feel Capcom ripped you off.

As for additional content down the road, what then? What won’t make fans angry? New games of mostly same stuff and DLC (or Locked ODC) doesn’t seem to cut it. And while free DLC and hidden (not locked) characters from Capcom would be nice once in a while, don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re not a business.

New content carrier pigeons maybe? New content telegraphing? no. Got it, new content smoke signals, genius!

Oh, if you have any thoughts leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

Game Preview – D514 on PS3 is a FTPFPS by CCP

 

Dust 514 just keeps getting better and better! An expansive game that an offshoot of a very popular MMO (EVE online), works in tandem with said MMO and its players to cause numerous proxy wars on many different planets for fame, resources, and sweet ISK; but now Dust 514 will be the first free to play first person shooter on console – freaken sweet. That’s right put down your wallets people this won’t cost you one red cent; oh sure like most FTP models you can put down money to buy vanity items such as hats or a Minmatar MH82-BCR  Personal Auto cannon in burgundy but in general it’s a free ride. Also worry not; the developers promise players who buy their gear with real money won’t have an advantage against players who don’t. Sadly the game is still in beta, but if you live in Iceland you can give this titanic game a try at EVE Fanfest on March the 22th through the 24th. I can’t reveal the location of the Video Game Armada bunker, but I’ll say this, it’s not in Reykjavik so we’ll miss out this time – but we’re counting the days this title goes live on PSN.