Dead Space Extraction

Dead Space Extraction is an underrated gem–an interactive movie for the Wii. I’ve jumped more than a few times. It’s amazing what some developers can squeeze out of the console. One of the best games I’ve played on the system. I had feelings of watching Aliens for the first time.

January Releases

It’s the new year and what a year it’s going to be for gaming! The excitement starts this month and hopefully the momentum carries us through the year. Let’s get to the list:

Xbox 360 banner

Week of January 4th
Bayonetta– I’m torn on Bayonetta. On one hand, it looks beautiful and wicked stylish. On the other hand, I’ve never gotten into the stylized-action-game like Devil May Cry or God of War. Maybe it’s time to try.
Darksiders– In a month loaded with triple-A titles, I’m worried I’ll never get around to playing this, but I am definitely intrigued.
Divinity II: Ego Draconis– I didn’t even know there was a Divinity I. Anyone have any info on this game?

Week of January 11th
Vancouver 2010 – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Winter Games– Gotta fit this game in somewhere I guess.
Army of Two: The 40th Day– Another one I’ll probably end up passing, but I wonder what I’ll be missing.

Week of January 18th
Dark Void

Week of January 25th
Mass Effect 2– There it is. This should do just fine to tide me over for quite some time. At least until February. I hope it doesn’t take me two years to finish this one.

Wii banner

Week of January 4th
My Fitness Coach 2 Workout and Nutrition

Week of January 11th
The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces
Crazy Chicken Tales
Walk It Out
Sleepover Party– Walk It Out? Sleepover Party? Have you Wii game makers have no shame?

Week of January 18th
Fast Food Panic
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection

Week of January 25th
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Tatsunoko VS Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

Nintendo DS banner

Week of January 4th
Fast Food Panic
Learn Chess

Week of January 11th
Daniel X
Sands of Destruction

Week of January 18th
Glory of Heracles– This looks like a solid DS strategy game. Tempting…
Bejeweled Twist– Haven’t you milked us enough already, Pop Cap?
KORG DS-10 Plus

Week of January 25th
Quad Kings
Personal Fitness Women
Legend of Kay

PC banner

Week of January 4th
Divinity II: Ego Draconis

Week of January 11th
The Sims 2: Fun with Pets Collection– Looks like the Sims 2 will not die.
Insecticide
Two Worlds

Week of January 18th
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventure
Dark Void
The Tudors

Week of January 25th
Hotel Giant 2
Mass Effect 2
Alcatraz

PS3 banner

Week of January 4th
Bayonetta– See above.
Darksiders– Ditto.

Week of January 11th
Darksiders
Army of Two: The 40th Day

Week of January 18th
Dark Void

Week of January 25th
MAG

PSP banner

Week of January 11th
Army of Two: The 40th Day

Week of January 18th
Shepherd’s Crossing
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Week of January 25th
TNA: Cross The Line
Shadow of Destiny

Not a bad way to start the year off. While I think I’ll be grabbing Mass Effect 2, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy. What are you picking up?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. Itís appreciated.)

2 Minute Review – Guitar Hero: Van Halen

A game that needs no introduction

Do: Play as the legendary band Van Halen

Type: Music Rhythm

Platforms: Playstation 2, Playstation 3, XBox 360 (Reviewed), Wii

Price: $59.99 PS3 and XBox 360, $49.99 PS2 and Wii

Meat: Not unlike Guitar Hero: Metallica, this is yet another band specific Guitar Hero release but with the ability to play all the instruments. Although after Guitar Hero: Aerosmith I said I would stay away from band specific games I am a huge Van Halen fan and I actually didn’t pay for this game. As part of ordering Guitar Hero 5 I received this free.

For anyone familiar with the Guitar Hero formula they should be instantly familiar with the game, though in many ways this game is a throwback and feels wrong after playing Guitar Hero 5. Despite some of the improvements made in Guitar Hero 5, which were carried over into Band Hero, Van Halen is clearly using a system more akin to the earlier Guitar Hero: World Tour. This just seems odd given its release date and the improvements made to Band Hero which was also released after Guitar Hero 5.

Also disconcerting is the total lack of reference to former band members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, or any songs that were sung by Sammy Hagar for that matter. C’mon guys! I know that David Lee Roth’s huge ego doesn’t like to acknowledge the band was actually successful while he was gone, but “Why Can’t This Be Love?” is a Van Halen classic! 5150 was a great album and it’s total exclusion is glaring to any Van Halen fan.

In fact, that seems to be the biggest problem with the game. It seems to be focused around the egos of Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth without any concern over fan expectations. It’s like every distasteful thing fans have put up with who loved their music but presented in videogame form.

Perks: Overall it’s a great selection of music that covers some of the classic Van Halen hits. Without a doubt the opening song should be and is “Panama” which will thrill most fans and is the perfect introduction to Van Halen’s musical style for those that didn’t grow up with their music.

For a band that has often focused on how great a guitarist Eddie Van Halen is, the other instruments are not ignored. There are challenging drum sections, vocals, and bass chords throughout different songs. The game is very guitar focused, but that should be expected given the source material.

Screams: At this point though I am tired of the idea that the other songs have anything to do with Van Halen. After Beatles: Rock Band I think its safe to say that either a band is strong enough to represent themselves based on their own music catalog or not.

Here’s another big problem with the game. Despite the fact that Guitar Hero and Rock Band have both moved away from doing cover versions and moved on to master tracks, some of Van Halen’s songs are covers themselves. “You Really Got Me” and “Pretty Woman”, both made famous by their original artists, are presented as Van Halen’s work. Considering the nature of these games, these seem like odd additions.

Overall, the game really was released too late. Some of the better known Van Halen songs should have been released sooner when Guitar Hero was only about guitar and bass and simply included with earlier releases. Part of the problem with Guitar Hero: Van Halen, is that they may not be strong enough to carry their own game. Maybe they are, but they would have to be willing to use the whole of their music catalog instead of pretending certain events didn’t happen.

Verdict: PASS – There is not enough of a game here to justify a purchase and I wouldn’t even bother renting. Many of the stronger non Van Halen songs are available as downloads in Rock Band already. This should not have been a full game.

Wii MotionPlus is A…Plus

On a whim last week, we purchased Wii Sports Resort and an extra Wii MotionPlus controller. Due to some family commitments, we didnít crack it open until this last Tuesday.

Our Wii has not been off since.

I donít know how Nintendo did it, but they have definitely improved on the control scheme of the device. Almost every game in the title is excellent and fun to play. Two of the biggest hits have been the airplane and sword fighting games.

LucasArts, Nintendo beat you. They beat you bad. Itís a shame, because you have the property for it. At any rate, it made me look forward to this game:

redsteel2 I didnít play the first, but apparently it deals with guns and swords. If Ubisoft can translate the controls well, itíll be a blast. The cell-shaded style is a plus in my book. Look for Red Steel 2 in 2010 I believe.

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop

Here’s something new at buttonmashing: a press release. Why is this a big deal here? 1) We like Dead Rising. 2) It’s now officially announced for North America.

It’s not really anything new we’ve already posted except the mention that it’s using the same engine as RE4 and the save function is “improved.” Here’s hoping the gameplay translates to the wiggle stick.

Press release after the jump.

I’m all set for Dead Rising 2, but this’ll suffice if priced right.

[Read more…]

Dead Rising Wii Changes

Here we go (with commentary):

  • A new title, Dead Rising: Zombie Sacrifice (A new name is not necessarily needed, but…)
  • Missions from Otis are no more (heck, yes! Best change yet.)
  • Linear missions (yes, good)
  • RE4 camera style (uh, I don’t think it was needed)
  • No photo mode (Thank you, although Frank is a photographer, I felt taking snapshots was bothersomeóI would not do it. Forget that dang thing. Survive!)
  • New enemies, new weapons, and all sorts of new wiggles. (And it’s not DLC? Yay!)

If they sell this title for $30, it will be a must-buy. However, I still think it’s Japan only so far.

Thanks to 1up for the news. Go there for a lot more detailed info.

Give It Up, Hardcore Gamers

A site I used to frequent more than daily recently posted the June NPD numbers. The number aren’t what I’m really interested in (i.e. Nintendo prints money). However, the comments on that post chafe me just a little.

It seems as if hardcore gamers cannot accept the fact that there has been a paradigm shift in the gaming world. Let me make it simple: the Wii is a success and is here to stay, Sony still has to prove themselves with the PS3 (Yes, they do. If you don’t think so, you are in denialóshow me the numbers next month), and Microsoft seems to be missing all the cues to stay afloat with the 360.

It also seems as if all the companies are copying each other: avatars and Miis, achievements and trophies, motion controllers, instruments, etc. You name it, but I only really see one innovation that’s driving all the momentum. It’s that thing that hardcore gamers call a gimmick.

I truly believe that hardcore gamers are a dying breed. Hardcore AAA games will keep being sold for a premium (and don’t get me started on the “Collector’s” editions that some games just have to have), and the casual waggle games will still fly off the shelves at an incredible rate at a cheaper price.

My big surprise for the June NPD was that the Wii Lego Indy made the top ten list and the 360 version didn’t.

I’ve done Wiis, you know

It now looks like you’ll actually get to swing that sledgehammer. Capcom announced Dead Rising for the Wii in Japan.

Considering the game kinda bombed in Japan, I would not be surprised to see it in the States. I would also not be surprised to see it budget priced.

Thank you, 4cr, for keeping your eyes peeled and catching this announcement in all the E3 (non)hoopla.

July Releases

It’s that time again. What does the month of July hold?

Xbox 360 banner
Week of July 2nd
Gears of War (2-Disc Edition) – If you happen to one of the seven people who don’t own Gears of War, here’s your chance.

Week of July 9th
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution – If you want to fry your 360 from overuse, do it in a Civilized manner.
Unreal Tournament III – Just when July was looking bad, UT3 comes along.
Beijing Olympics 2008 – I never “got” track and field games. Probably never will.
Mobile Ops One Year War for Xbox 360

Week of July 16th
NCAA Football 09 – Ugh. I have faithfully purchased EA’s NCAA since 2003. Every year I say I’m done with them, every year I pick it up anyway. Will it happen again this year?
World In Conflict
Space Chimps

Week of July 30th
Soul Calibur IV – I used to be a HUGE fighting game fan. I played a lot of the original Soul Calibur in the arcade, but haven’t played much since then. Maybe it’s time to go back to the franchise.
Spectral Force 3
Summer Athletics The Ultimate Challenge

Wii banner

Week of July 2nd
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon – Milking the FF Franchise, one platform at a time.
Purr Pals

Week of July 9th
WonderWorld Amusement Park

Week of July 16th
Rock Band Track Pack: Vol. 1
NCAA Football 09 – EA abandoned Nintendo with the NCAA line near the end of the console cycle, so it’s nice to see NCAA back in the Nintendo library.
We Love Golf! – Golf games are right in the Wii’s wheelhouse.
Space Chimps
Ford Racing Off Road

Week of July 23th
Chess Crusade
SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 – Haven’t we suffered enough with these Arcade Compilations? The Wii is 100% backwards compatible. Go to Gamestop and find the Gamecube versions of these compilations. Save yourself some money.
Order Up!

Week of July 30th
MLB Power Pros 2008
Sam & Max: Season One
Freddi Fish: Kelp Seed Mystery
Puzzler Collection
Summer Athletics The Ultimate Challenge
Red Star

Nintendo DS banner

Week of July 2nd
Trauma Center Under The Knife 2 – I started out really liking the first Trauma Center. Then I started hating myself for liking Trauma Center. Then I just hated Trauma Center. I’m not worthy of its hardcoreness.
Amf Bowling Pinbusters
1 Vs. 100
Ducati Moto
Journey to the Center of the Earth

Week of July 9th
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution – Seems like the DS is perfect for a Civ game. I wonder what they had to give up, game-play wise, to fit it on a DS cartridge.
Carnival Games
Pony Luv – The DS and its game titles are single-handedly wrecking the spelling skills of our poor children.

Week of July 16th
Wordmaster
Nancy Drew 2: Clue Bender Society
Space Chimps
Mister Slime

Week of July 23th
Final Fantasy IV – That’s more like it. This is probably my only must-buy this month.
Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns – This game wins “Title of the Month.” Unemployed Ninja. Is that even possible?
Chess Crusade
Suzuki Super-Bikes II: Riding Challenge
International Track And Field

Week of July 30th
Puzzler Collection
Puchi Puchi Virus – “Puchi Puchi certainly sounds like a virus.

PC banner

Week of July 2nd
Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze
Turbo Subs
Fighter Pilot 2
Piglet’s Big Game

Week of July 9th
Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice
Devil May Cry 4
Painkiller Universe
Insecticide

Week of July 16th
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm – I can’t figure this one out. How is this a game, basically a job simulator, fun? I can’t watch the show for more than five minutes.
Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel
Hot Dish – “A Spicy Time Management Cooking Adventure”. I’ll pass.
1701: Gold
Space Chimps
Let’s Ride: Riding Star
Hunting Unlimited 2009

Week of July 23th
Big City Adventure – Sydney
Slingo Quest Hawaii
Fate: Undiscovered Realms – Fate is a great game, wish I had time to play more of it.
Game of Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
Enchanted Fairy Friends: Secret of the Fairy Queen

Week of July 30th
Flatout: Ultimate Carnage
Beijing Olympics 2008
Legend Hand of God
Outcry
Avatar the Last Air Bender: Path of Zuko
Etch a Sketch – The words, they fail me.

PS3 banner

Week of July 9th
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Beijing Olympics 2008
Monster Madness: Grave Danger

Week of July 16th
NCAA Football 09

Week of July 30th
Soul Calibur IV

PSP banner

Week of July 9th
Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity

Week of July 16th
NCAA Football 09
B-Boy
Ford Racing Off Road

A few solid offerings, a few venerable franchises and Final Fantasy IV.

Are you planning on picking anything up this month?

Magic Mushrooms and Tanooki Suits

Today, during the Super Mario Galaxy show (for the munchkins), I defeated Bowser for the seven hundredth time in my life, saving the Princess yet again (from herself). I haven’t “finished” SMG yet, as there are plenty of stars still to be had, but the Princess is safe, at least for the time being. I plan on heading back to get the rest of the stars. I had found 70 before I saved her highness.

Super Mario Galaxy, as frustrating as it can get every so often, is a great game.

But that’s not the point of this post. I have really enjoyed the new power-ups added to this iteration of Mario. Besides the Fire Flower and 1-UP mushrooms, there are a bunch of new power-ups for Mario. So I want to know: What is your favorite Mario power-up? (from any game).

I really like the new Spring power-up in Super Mario Galaxy. In fact, I think it’s my favorite power-up mushroom of all time.

What’s yours?