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.

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