Archives for September 2008

[2 Minute Review] Marvel Trading Card Game

What’s better than a cross between the Marvel universe and Magic:The Gathering right?


DO: Use the stylus so much in the same spot that it scratches the surface of the touch screen on your DS. A game that probably has the most characters from the Marvel universe. Keeps you craving more cards.

TYPE: Card

PLATFORM: DS (and the PSP)

PRICE: About $20 or $30

MEAT: This game is a pretty straight forward card game. The battle system takes some getting used to and the tutorial doesn’t help out too much. If you put the time and effort into getting to know the system it’s well worth it. The game has all the main characters that you could want and even some that you wished they didn’t waste their time putting into the game. Then again you need to have some weak characters in the game, everyone can’t be the strongest card available. The actual powers/abilities, strength, and defense of the characters match up pretty well in the system as they do in the comics.

The story of the game isn’t the best and is kind of lacking yet the cut scenes are in the form of a comic which is cool. The artwork of the superheroes and super heroines on the cards and in the cut scenes are great, the characters have several cards each with different pictures on each one. Half of the fun of the game is getting new cards and seeing the new art on the cards. When you start a new single player game you pick either hero or villain and once you beat it as one, you play through the story of the other with all of your previously collected cards. The system to get new cards is the same setup as a store in the real world. You buy a booster pack of hero or villain cards and in each comic world like the X-men or Fantastic Four.

PERKS: Great gallery of all the main characters; smooth gameplay; online play; a good comic book based game; it’s great to beat a hard opponent that you’ve lost to multiple times.

SCREAMS: The need of a good story; no cancel button (if you hit the wrong button or choose the wrong card your stuck, I’ve lost a couple hands due to that missing feature); one boss was WAY harder than it needed to be; the tutorial/learning curve could be better.

VERDICT: Buy~ As a comic book related game it is a lot better then most of the ones out there. I enjoyed the game a lot. I recommend the game for anyone interested in it or knows enough about comics and needs a handheld gaming fix of them. [Read more…]

Thoughts on the new Prince of Persia

I’ve played a few of the previous Prince of Persia titles like The Warrior Within and the original version. The prince (for those of you who don’t know the main character of the series has never had a name except simply, the prince) was always alone and looked like a nomad who was in need of a bath but still looked cooler then cool.

This time around the prince has a companion in the form of Elika. She is able to help the prince fight, make it through the environments, and keep him alive. I think she’ll be taking the place of the dagger of time and help the player make it through the game and instead of stopping time and reversing it when you die with the dagger, she’ll be the one to save you with her magical powers.

One of the new abilities that the prince is getting in this next-gen version is called the “roof run” which allows the prince to run on the roof as he grabs a hold of rings hanging from the ceiling of a level. The developers even mention in one of their commentaries that he can go from a roof run to a vertical wall run. The new ability however really doesn’t make the game next-gen to me. Something that does and hopefully will make it seem much better then the previous installments is the newly revamped combat system. The new system was designed to be a cinematic experience. In the video that is linked they named Final Fantasy: Advent Children and Soul Calibur as inspirations for the combat system.

That’s encouraging to hear.

There are four main buttons that were described.

The Princes Sword button: which seems simple as the prince taking a swing at the monster with his sword. I’m hoping and assuming that the further the you take the combo the better the moves are and in turn the swordplay takes a more cinematic/skillful approach then just a simple swing.

The Elika button: you call in your backup and Elika takes a crack at the monster your fighting and if the videos I’ve seen are anything close to what she’ll be doing it seems that her attacks might be more flashy then the princes.

The Claw/Lift button: the prince uses his other hand to attack with his new claw. Which is also the attack to knock the opponent into the air. Hoping some cool stuff can come from this claw, who knows maybe it can power up and do some massive damage? Fingers are crossed….

The Acrobatic button: last and certainly not least, this button is the one that gets me thinking that the combat really will be a cinematic experience. Just imagine all of the combos that you can make with these four buttons. It would be a great system if they make a lot of button combination animations available.

I’m looking forward to see how everything they are trying to put in the game turns out. We’re probably still pretty far away from the game actually coming out but I for one am expecting it to be a solid game. That is if the game play length is more than 2 hours.

This is just a small amount of info about the game itself if your interested in hear more about the game check out the videos that are available at the main website.

[2 Minute Review] Time Hollow

What do you get if you lock Phoenix Wright, Hotel Dusk and Trace Memory in a room with a Barry White CD playing?

This kid will have a lot of questions when he’s older…

DO: A lot of reading, cause time paradoxes and get really confused… in a good way.

TYPE: Point & Click adventure game.

PLATFORM: DS

PRICE: $29.99

MEAT: If you’ve played an Ace Attorney game or Hotel Dusk: Room 215, you’ll be right at home with Time Hollow. The game plays like a combination of an interactive novel and an old Lucasarts/Sierra point & click adventure, with inventory management and conversation trees galore. Thankfully, it’s all done in a clean, simple way with minimal backtracking and plenty of hooks to move the story along.

Time Hollow deals with your character, Ethan Kairos, who wakes the day of his 17th birthday to find that everything in his life doesn’t seem right. His parents, who were just having dinner with him the night before, have now been missing for 12 years. Friends go missing for days despite Ethan having just talked to them moments earlier. Am I hurting your brain? Don’t worry. It all makes a lot more sense in the game proper and a large part of the game’s plot involves trying to unravel the cause of these paradoxes.

That’s where the Hollow Pen comes into play. Ethan uses this device to ‘dig’ into the past and find clues to the unraveling chronosphere around him.

PERKS: The production values on Time Hollow are VERY impressive for a DS game and that, plus the excellent translation from the original Japanese, make it a must-own game for fans of the waning point & click adventure genre. I was quite impressed with the number of animated (and fully voiced) cutscenes in the game as well.

VERDICT: Buy. If you’ve enjoyed the Ace Attorney games and want something with a little more actual gameplay and a more serious storyline (and time travel!) or are a fan of point & click adventure games in general, run, don’t walk, to the store to get this game. You won’t be sorry…

Yo, to all you buttonmashers

Hi everyone!

My name is James, and I’m Tony’s brother-in-law. He seems to be ok with that. = )

It seems like it’s a good idea to start off by letting everyone know my gaming history too. The first video game exposure that I had growing up was an Apple 2, I can remember my favorite game was Ali Baba (That was the best). Then came the PC (286,386,etc.) and with that came Maniac Mansion, Castle Wolfenstein, and so on, beginning my connection to PC gaming and PC’s in general. Eventually I would play various PC titles such as: Starcraft, Diablo 1&2, Warcraft 1,2, & 3, Everquest, Battlefield (most of the series), Guild Wars, Dawn of War and many others.

The first console I had was a NES shared by my brother and I, followed by the SNES and Gameboy’s. I had a Sega Genesis for a while until the PlayStation came out and I traded up all the old systems for the new kid on the block. The original PlayStation converted me to Sony as the gaming system of choice and the PS2 locked me in. You name it and I’ve probably played it on the PS2 or have seen it in action.

When the 360 and the PS3 were coming out I was all for the PS3 it had the better system specs after all. Yet, my brother and Tony getting 360’s helped me to see the good in Microsoft, at least in the game selection and exclusive titles. (As a side note, I am still interested in the PS3 and even the PSP but having limited funds can deter curiosity) My collection of games varies from titles like Dark Sector, Viking:Battle for Asgard, and Halo 3 to Marvel Ultimate Alliance, DOA4, and Burnout: Revenge.

I am in to comics and try to follow what is going on in the Marvel and DC universe’s. So any games that have to do with superheroes will usually peak my interest. I also tend to download most of the mainstream demo’s of new games that are available on Xbox Live.

Enough about games for now I think.

Oh yea! Why Ehergeiz as a handle right? Well there is an old PS1 game called Ehrgeiz from Square that I thought the name looked cool so I figure I’d change the name a little and use it. Not too much to it but that’s where I got it from. = )

I’m looking forward to posting a bunch of different things on buttonmashing.com for everybody.

Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.

Is This Thing On?

Um.  Hello.  I’d just like to thank Tony & Nat for giving me yet ANOTHER place on the web for me to go and blather about games.  I guess I’ll do a quick introduction.

I’ve been a gamer as long as I can remember.  I recall going over to my neighbour’s house and staring in envy at his shiny PONG console and sneaking over to friends’ houses to tinker with their awesome C64s and robust Colecovision consoles.

My first computer was a Texas Intstruments TI99/4a.  Alpiner rocks.

I’ve been a console player, a PC gamer, a handheld junkie and even played the odd board game.  I don’t do benchmarks, I could care less if a game is pushing 3 million polygons on the character’s left moustache hair if I’m bored to tears when I play it and I can utter the statement, “This JRPGs story is awesome AND generic” and not feel like a hypocrite.

If you poke around on the net, you’ll most likely find me going by the name Spigot on the inimitable Evil Avatar, where I write a weekly post about obscure and overlooked games (which is now going into it’s 19th week).

I plan on talking up some of the lesser known games and/or JRPGs more than anything else.  I’m absolutely burnt out on first person shooters right now and even most 3rd person action games are starting to wear on me.

I also spend far too much money on comics and books.  Somehow I am able to raise two kids and keep my wife from throwing all of my games into the garbage, though it’s an ongoing battle. 

And one last thing…

I AM CANADIAN!  Just don’t hold that against me.

New additions at Buttonmashing dot com

After adding a couple of bloggers to the blogging family last year, I think the site benefited greatly both in frequency of content and quality of content. My buddy Dark Reyule wasn’t able to contribute as much as he originally thought he could, but Nat has added a bunch of great stuff and has been on fire recently. He’s been bringing high-quality blogging post after post.

It’s my pleasure to announce the addition of two more bloggers to the team. Each one brings a new perspective and outlook on gaming. I’ll let them post their own formal introduction, so I’ll just post there names and who they are here. The first is my brother-in-law who’ll go by Ehergeiz (I’ll let him explain that) here on the blog. The other new blogger is prolific commenter and gamer extraordinaire Brock. Both will be doing all sorts of blogging, reviewing games, posting news and whatever else strikes their fancy.

Join me in welcoming them to the site. Here’s to some more great blogging.

LittleBigPlanet Gets Bigger…

…or, basically, some more info on what appears to be a wonderful game. (Can it be called that?)

Aeropause is reporting that the release date for the game may be moved up from Oct. 21 to Oct. 7. This is Good.TM

GameSetWatch has an indepth article covering the LittleBigPlanet game jam at NY’s Parsons School of Design that we mentioned earlier. The amount of creativity exhibited in this game in just 24 hours is staggering. I personally love the concept of telling stories with the game.

In [Nat’s] Digital Hands: WipEout HD (plus InstaPreview!)

I believe I’ve admitted before that I’m a closet WipEout (have to get the weird capitalization right now I guess) fan and today’s release on the PlayStation Network is no exception for me to miss. I’m not a hardcore fan, however. I’ve never really completed any of the games. They become hard. Extremely hard.

WipEout HD is basically a remake of previous game’s tracks in, well, HD. It is glorious. I would venture to say, initially, it’s one of the prettiest games on the PS3 right now. The sense of speed is not there yet, but it’s coming. I can feel it. Die hard players will know what I mean.

Also, there’s an added bonus that I didn’t expect in the game: a camera. I think I’ve spent more time there than anywhere else. This camera works a la Halo 3. However, it’s much easier to use and has a few more picture effects. I took these image with the Track Motion Blur effect.

Another perk the camera has over Halo 3 is that the image is saved directly to the system’s hard drive. You can then do whatever you want with it. I don’t have to go to some lame-o site and download it. The resolution on the images is pretty high. (The first one I uploaded full. Click on it to get the detail.) I expect to see some amazing images online. Take note, see the detail in the cockpit?

For $20, I believe it to already be a steal.

In My Hands

LittleBigPlanet to Offer More Than Gaming

In what appears to be an interesting turn for a “user-created” game, the developers of LittleBigPlanet (no spaces, please) hope the game can be

a whole palette of tools that can be used to create anything from a puppet theater to graphic novels to pop-up books to music sequencer.

Kotaku is reporting that

“Games have conditional elements,” said Kareem Ettouney, Media Molecule art director. “We wanted to make sure that there is a tool set in there that allows you to create those elements.

“But the exciting part of LittleBigPlanet is everything else you can do with it. We didn’t want to hinder people. What we wanted to make sure we widened the palette. The only real limitation is your imagination.”

So when Sony Computer Entertainment of America called Media Molecule and suggested that they hold a design contest at the historic Parsons School of Design in Greenwich Village, the team jumped at the opportunity.

Some of the ideas that these gamers and non-gamers came up with are pretty amazing.

The most intriguing of the lot was definitely Team Good Sportsmanship’s Sack Monster. The 24-hour creation told a story, albeit a short one, and included some very interesting design choices.

In Sack Monster the entire game is the Sack Monster. Sackboy has to take on the giant creature that, according to a fish out of water, is gobbling up sackboys.

I’m getting more reved up for this game. I’ve been disappointed with releases as of late. Give me something good on the radar.

Thanks to Kotaku for the news and image.