Namco-Bandai experiments with its Tekken franchise and gives gamers a free-to-play full triple-A experience. That’s right, free-to-play, no gimmicks. It’s a bold move for a developer to release a free game based on one of its most popular series — so how exactly does this fighter stack up?
The first thing you will probably notice is that Tekken Revolution must be online at all times. This is largely due to the fact that the game is constantly uploading gameplay data from your console back to Namco servers — most likely to give the developer information on which characters are used the most or how people are playing them. The differences don’t stop there; Tekken Revolution is full of new gameplay mechanics. The two most prominent are Special Arts and Critical Arts, which can be recognized by their flashy particle effects and motion blur. Each character has one Special Art and four Critical Arts.
The early stages of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Episode 3: The Oracle don’t lead you to believe that the unfolding mystery will continue to grow in intensity, but plot twist after plot twist reveals a story where each new shock is greater than the last. Phoenix Online Studios goes above and beyond to keep players at the edge of their seats for the entirety of their playthrough. If you’ve followed Cognition from the first episode, expect a big payoff as the story elements begin to come to a head in the penultimate entry of this point-and-click adventure series.
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.
In distinct and direct contrast to the slop fest that is Transformers: Dark of the Moon comes SEGA’s Captain America: Super Soldier, an actual good high budget pseudo movie game tie-in. The $49.99 title is fun, action-packed romp that does a good job of capturing Steve Rogers’ WWII adventures despite a few hiccups.
So how well does Captain America: Super Soldier hold up though as a “movie” game? Pretty well, surprisingly enough. The visuals are super crisp and very detailed, from the low-level enemy grunts to how light reflects so perfectly off that iconic shield. The only visual that threw me off was Cap’s eyes: he has beady, black eyes that really give you a sense of the Uncanny Valley when the character isn’t in action.
A few months ago, Persona 4 Golden for Vita sucked up hours of my life even as it declared the importance of socializing. Shin Megami Tensei IV for 3DS looks to do the same this July. Between the two, we have Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, an updated port for the 3DS of a Sega Saturn title from 1997. It, too, traps me in its sticky web of interlocking systems, charming characters and grainy mid-90s visuals. Is it an essential RPG like Persona 4 Golden? Perhaps not, but it is a decent time capsule worth unearthing for fans of demon fusions and dungeon-delving.
I love God of War. I love it a lot. When I played the original God of War way back when and ripped my first siren in two with Kratos’ bare hands, I knew this was series was going to be special. There was nothing more satisfying in learning of Kratos’ fate and helping him to gain revenge on those gods who wronged him. It’s the ultimate rebellion against authority tale, and after killing the Hydra, trekking through Pandora’s temple, and finally impaling Ares with the Blade of the Gods, God of War burned itself permanently onto my mind.
And God of War II expanded the formula, introduced The Titans, and was even better than the first. God of War III was a bit weak in the story department, but still was an absolutely gorgeous, fun and satisfying conclusion to the God of War trilogy. I’ve owned each game twice across two platforms, have played through each multiple times and use the replica of Pandora’s Box to hold my most prized possession.
Everyone seemingly has their quips about the PS Vita’s small library of quality games — except the fighting game community. We’ve been spoiled with quality fighters since day one. Yes, most have been ports, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that most are quite good. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend, Street Fighter X Tekken, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat, and PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale are all very solid to excellent fighters — but none are 3D fighters. Enter Tecmo Koei’s Dead or Alive 5 Plus. It easily ranks in the upper echelon of graphically impressive Vita games. Not only that, it retains everything gamers love about the console version and puts it into a nice portable package.
Monster Hunter excels in its sense of teamwork and community, much like Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast over a decade ago. It combines the 4-players-only community aspect of Phantasy Star Online with the challenge of Demon’s/Dark Souls and the complexity and choice of Capcom’s own Street Fighter. It’s hard for me to be objective about this game. I love it, and encourage anyone curious to give it a chance.
Capcom has given players the opportunity to turn heel with DMC: Devil May Cry’s Vergil’s Downfall DLC. Players are thrown into the villain’s shoes as he seeks to quell his insecurities. Unlike Dante’s journey, Vergil’s Downfall isn’t filled with cheesy one liners. Instead, there’s a more visceral and raw character who develops — surprisingly! — in the game’s two short hours. In fact, the story arc makes you empathize with Vergil. And then makes you hate him.