The game most comparable to LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins (the 3DS prequel to the Wii U’s LEGO City Undercover) is probably Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories on the PSP. Both offer portable takes on their more fully featured console brother. Both offer open-world experiences that had, up until that point, been unattempted on their respective handhelds. Both offer an approximation of the full experience that check all the boxes. You know, like the Guitar Hero game on the DS. It’s just like playing a fun game.
Technically, on paper, both The Chase Begins and Liberty City Stories should be perfect handheld versions of these huge, expansive, incredible console games. But both fall short, and miss out on the “magic” that made the home versions so memorable. Simply, if you had only played the 3DS version of LEGO City Undercover, I don’t think you’d really “get” what makes the Wii U game one of my favorite games of all time. And even though they’re technically different games (in the most literal sense of the word) and follow undercover cop Chase McCain through an earlier part of his police career, they’re set in the same world and you’ll do many (read: all) of the same things. But it’s just… not quite as fun. And that’s without even mentioning up the pop-in, the fog, or the lack of a turbo button and things to discover on bridges. Continue reading
While reading a pile of BioShock Infinite reviews so I, in turn, could review them, I realized something: once you get past the intro, so many reviews devolve into saying the same thing about a particular game in a slightly different way. It’s the introductions where the writing shines most clearly, because – underneath it all – aren’t we game writers just trying to hook you, to get you to keep reading, to make you come back and read more again soon? I know I am. I should probably update more than twice a month. That might help.
To make it up to you, here’s something unique: a LEGO City Undercover review in the form of three different review intros, all taking a different approach to telling you that you should go buy this game immediately. Maybe I just couldn’t figure out a middle or an end and just kept coming up with beginnings. You’ll never know. Enjoy. Continue reading
Bit.Trip Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is waaaaayyyy too long of a name. Adding to that is the fact that it’s both “Runner2” (no space) and “Runner 2” (with a space) even on the official website, and, well… good luck finding it on the PSN Store.
HOWEVER. None of that matters in the end. The game is incredible, and addictive, and the perfect mix of challenging and frustrating. It’s worth every penny of the $15 asking price, even if it does have a few flaws that don’t become apparent until after you’ve sunk a dozen hours into it over the course of two hopelessly fun and sleepless nights. Continue reading
Myst is important. It was released in 1993 and remained the best-selling PC game for nearly a decade before finally being unseated by The Sims. It caused millions of us upgrade to the then-new CD format, with its impressive full-motion video, sweeping orchestral soundtrack, and cutting-edge world design and graphics. The neatest part? It was originally a Mac-only game.
Since ’93, Myst has been ported to something like a dozen different platforms, and most recently it has been spreading like a virus throughout the handheld realm. Now that the graphical and sound prowess of our portable systems can match that of a personal computer from 20 years ago, it seems like a perfect match, especially what with the touchscreens and stereo sound.
There is a sort of purity in Myst that seems untouched by time — obtuse puzzles, a go anywhere/do anything atmosphere with an unhurried pace, and a deep lore that has to be peeled back one layer at a time. The 3DS version has all of these things. Unfortunately, it is unplayable. Continue reading
Dear The Cave,
You are NOT as funny as you think you are, with your little quips, your little references to old LucasArts games, and your fedora-adjusting attitude toward an entire world that you think you’re just plain better than. You are that guy working part-time at the comic book store, getting overly defensive when I joke about the large number of Archie digests lining your impulse buy section right next to the check-out counter. “Actually,” you begin, “there’s an entire issue about the relevance of gender roles and issues in today’s society. It’s very timely.”
Shut your face, comic nerd. I was just making small talk. You think it’s your personal mission from God to prove just how much cooler you are, like championing something not drawn by Rob Liefeld will make us believe that you’re this deep, sensitive Nice Guy of OKCupid®. Continue reading
When the original Devil May Cry hit the PS2, it immediately drew me in. From the company that basically invented the Survival Horror genre with the PS1’s Resident Evil series, here was this new thing where you were no longer the hunted, but the hunter. You weren’t afraid of the creatures of the night while you struggled to find even a handful of bullets to fight off the approaching demon hordes – you had unlimited ammo and you killed them in some of the coolest ways anything up to that point had ever been killed in a video game. Slash a demon into the air then keep him up there with a barrage of bullets from your dual pistols before he explodes? Yes, please.
Flash forward a decade. The series hasn’t had a game that fans could be proud of in this current seven-year-old console generation. It was time to shake things up. So Capcom handed the reins over to Ninja Theory, creators of the under-appreciated cult classic Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. The first thing they did was give Dante black hair, instantly drawing enmity from that vocal minority scared of change (check the MetaCritic bombing of the user score if you want to see whether they’re still mad about it). But you know what? Screw the haters. The change-up of DmC: Devil May Cry is exactly the booster shot this lagging series needed. Continue reading
Little Inferno is this weird little puzzle game from the makers of World of Goo. Honestly, I had never heard of it before I saw it sitting there in the Wii U digital store, looking all interesting and different and only $10. It was the video embedded above that sold me on it. Dark humor? Old timey-time jingles? Kids burning all their childhood memories? That sounded exactly like the kind of thing I needed to break in my brand-new Wii U (thanks, Santa!). And boy, am I glad I did. Little Inferno is terrific. Continue reading
Paper Mario: Sticker Star is a very good game. The sticker battle mechanics take a minute to wrap your head around but then are great, requiring a lot of rhythmic skill to master. The story, characters, and world contain a level of charm and tongue-in-cheek humor simply not found in 99% of all other games. And the shiny stuff, secrets, and collectibles pushed every one of my magic buttons that keeps me playing a game. In fact, I haven’t been this completely into a game since Skyrim. And on a handheld with PaRappa-style graphics? That’s incredible.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star also has its flaws. Continue reading
Liberation Maiden is by far the least weird Suda51 game. I mean, sure – there’s still flying robots and *gasp* a female president, but compared to Killer 7? No More Heroes? Using those as Suda’s typical benchmark, this is about as tame as games get.
This time around, Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture teamed with Level 5 to “bring AAA production values to the downloadable space.” For $7.99, you get a flying mech shooter game with solid voice acting, sharp graphics, and Rez-style gameplay that wouldn’t feel out of place in a third-generation PS2 game. All they put into the game comes at a price, however – it’s only about an hour long. Continue reading
Halo 4 – the long-awaited reboot of Bungie’s beloved Xbox-exclusive series by internal Microsoft studio 343 Industries – is coming out on November 6th. The review embargo broke this morning at 12:01 am PT. A lot of people were impressed. Shocking. “Game of the year!” “Thrilling!” “A worthy successor to the Halo legacy!” Back-of-box quotes abound. Did you know that 343 was created just to make Halo games? And that’s it! Hope the series doesn’t flop or everyone will be out of jobs.
But! Which website had the best Halo 4 review? Which online publication is most worthy to get free games weeks before they’re released to the common folk, in order to better serve the public by telling them how much they should buy the latest AAA blockbuster? I read a lot – a LOT – of Halo 4 reviews, and I’ve learned that… first of all, don’t do that. They all kind of say the same thing (“Buy Halo 4“). Second of all, there are lots of different flavors of sites – some are basically tabloid trash, and others are snooty snoot-fests like Edge where everyone discusses games while smoking fine Cuban cigars and sitting around a fireplace in their silk bathrobes, drinking aged brandy out of hollowed-out orphan skulls. You’re sure to find one somewhere that speaks to your level of maturity. And if not, go make your own site. Whiner.