Platinum Games, the wonderfully creative team behind thrilling action titles such as Bayonetta 2, Vanquish, and Anarchy Reigns, blesses the Wii U with what will be the company’s first next-generation effort, The Wonderful 101. I previously played the game at New York Comic Con, but an updated E3 build showcased many of the game’s new features.
Bayonetta is an over-the-top, stylish action game developed by Platinum Games and directed by Hideki Kamiya, of Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe fame. Bayonetta brilliantly integrates free-form combat with structured combos, resulting in one of the best action games of the generation. Unfortunately, despite the critical acclaim, publisher SEGA never gave Platinum Games the green light for a sequel. All of that changed during the Wii U showcase last fall, where Nintendo announced a sequel to Bayonetta as a Wii U exclusive title. While a teaser trailer was revealed earlier this year to tide fans over while Platinum Games worked on the Bayonetta 2, the game’s current was kept secret until the day E3 2013 began. Not only did fans get a new trailer, but E3 2013 attendees could also get hands-on with a playable demo of Bayonetta 2.
Bad Bots prides itself on being molded from the past generation of two-dimensional shooter/platformer legends like Gunstar Heroes and Contra. While they share a gorgeous 16-bit style presentation, Bad Bots and the aforementioned games differ in one distinct aspect: fun.
Bad Bots puts you in the role of generic buff action hero Sam McRae who awakens on the Titan Hauler space cargo ship. His mission? Put down an army of rampaging former-worker robots and a meddling AI intent on generic destruction of things and stuff. Right from the get go, the game revels in its homage to the ’80s with comic book style openings and even a Star Wars-esque trash compactor scene.
Most of us know by now that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’s a good-natured parody of ’80s silliness. But… the ’80s were 30 years ago. Think about that, as grody and un-cool as that sounds! There are people walking around going about their totally bogus everyday lives who don’t know what makes the ’80s so ’80s! Even though most of today’s culture is just recycled stuff from the ’80s! Hello, Transformers and G.I. Joe!
To help alleviate the cultural disconnect, here are some of the shout-outs and familiar tropes Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon exhumes from the ’80s, the decade that never dies, that you ’90s and ’00s babies may not recognize. Put on your acid jeans and turn up the Wang Chung. Things are about to get radical. Radical to the MAX.
We meet again, Ninja Gaiden 3. After the release of the heavily flawed Ninja Gaiden 3 over a year ago, Team Ninja attempted to redeem itself and the series with an updated rerelease of the game, titled Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Razor’s Edge was released as a launch title for Nintendo’s Wii U in November of last year, and attempted to rectify many of the core issues that plagued Ninja Gaiden 3. It recently became available to PS3 and Xbox 360 owners as well, and added a few additional tweaks to entice fans to re-purchase the game. With that said, while Razor’s Edge is a massive improvement compared to the original Ninja Gaiden 3 release, it still feels subpar when compared to Ninja Gaiden Black and even Ninja Gaiden 2.
We can’t let the 80s go. The remakes and sequels to movies from that era like Miami Vice, Die Hard and Tron are proof enough. Then, somewhere along the way, our nostalgia for that decadent decade gave rise to “neo-80s”, a mini-movement in film, music and games that repackages the neon colors and synthesized soundtracks into new experiences. Ryan Gosling’s crime film Drive from a couple years ago, with its flamingo font and electro-pop score, may be the mainspring of this new sub-genre. Since then games like Double Dragon Neon, Hotline Miami and Retro City Rampage emerged, almost certainly inspired by Drive and our collective memory of VHS tapes and NES carts. As a fan of action movies with practical effects, electro synth and 8-bit games — and everything I just name-dropped in this intro — I’d love to see more games (and things in general) recapture that style. Like closely-related cyberpunk, these kitschy moods and atmospheres speak right to my tastes.
I won’t mince words here: Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty (a $4.99 universal iPhone and iPad game) is a mobile Mirror’s Edge with a Marvel Comics skin. Gamers are charged with guiding a sprinting, leaping, sliding, pole-swinging, and wall-running Steve Rogers through a HYDRA stronghold to bash WWII-era baddies. Packing 24 levels, a story by Marvel scribe Christos Cage (who also wrote Captain America: Super Soldier), art by Ron Lim and Christopher Sotomayor, this Disney Mobile game is a fun, lightweight diversion, but the focus on running may turn some away who were expecting a more hand-to-hand and stealth action.
Captain America: The First Avenger hit theaters this week, garnering very positive reviews. To help build hype for the movie, Marvel released a Web-based flash game, Captain America: Shield of Justice, which adopts many of the cutesy, 16-bit stylistic elements found in Thor: Bring the Thunder. The game, however, feels very much like a Mega Man rehash that subs the Blue Bomber with a badly animated Captain America sprite.
The horribly named Thor: Bring the Thunder, the promotional tie-in for Marvel’s big screen adaptation of its own Norse god comic, hit the Web this week. The Flash-based 2D game, which is free to play at Marvel’s site, puts you in control of the hammer-toter as you attempt to rescue a kidnapped maiden. The plot and gameplay are bare-bones–it is a Flash game, after all–but the retro music and visuals may prove enticing to those with an affinity for sprite-based video games.
Comic books have been a part of American pop culture for nearly a century, serving as the primordial ooze from which flew, punched, and kicked the likes of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Hulk, and X-Men. Early comics started of as simple comedic tales, but their range expanded to include the horror, sci-fi, western, romance, and super hero genres. Comics have become such a part of the mainstream entertainment mindset that movies based on superhero properties are often the most anticipated films of the year.