Thursday, June 21, 2012

REVIEW: Resistance: Burning Skies

Let me be blunt here; Resistance: Burning Skies was one of my most anticipated games for the Vita and it succeeded in disappointing me at almost every turn. This is an extremely pedestrian, by the numbers shooter that does very little to entertain but everything to confound.

Burning Skies is a decent FPS, to be sure, but it certainly doesn't live up to the franchise's pedigree. The console Resistance titles all have compelling characters and clever story twists that keep you invested in the story, Burning Skies has neither of these things. You'll play as Tom Riley, a firefighter on his quest to save his wife and daughter who appear in exactly 3 scenes in the game. How are you supposed to care about these characters if you never get to spend time with them? The fact that Riley is such a boring character with very little to say doesn't really help much either. 

The game's controls are serviceable but the use of the front touchscreen can be a tad annoying, with wasted grenades and auxiliary ammo if you accidentally touch the screen. Why developer Nihilistic Games didn't put in an option to use the rear touchpad is beyond me, it wouldn't have saved the game, but it definitely would've made it slightly more user-friendly. 

Another turn-off and something that I thought games had moved past are the unskippable cut-scenes, which have very little bearing on Riley's situation. The cut-scenes are also extremely blocky which with a handheld of the Vita's power shouldn't even be a thing. Another knock I have is that the trophies are far too easy to unlock, this is a 6 hour Platinum if you really want it, and trophies will be popping every few minutes even if you play through the game with mediocre shooter skills.

I was severely disappointed in this game. I tried to like it and enjoy myself, I really did, but in the end it's shortcomings were just far too great. I can only recommend this to you if you can find it on sale and you really want that easy Platinum. It's a good showing of what the Vita is capable of, but not of what a Resistance game is capable of.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

E3: Aftermath

         Well folks, sorry this is late, but it's been a busy week here at homebase. Obviously by now you've read countless articles on other sites concerning who won E3, who lost E3 and everything in between, but you obviously haven't read my reactions yet. 

Well you're in luck, because here I am with what truly impressed/intrigued/depressed me last week at E3 2012.


     Holy crap this game looks fantastic! Sony opened their show with a first look at this upcoming Playstation 3 exclusive from the makers of Heavy Rain. Developer Quantic Dream seems to just get better as time goes on, continuing to master the art of motion capture and performance. David Cage and Co seem to have outdone themselves with a graphics engine that seems to be on another level from anything else I've ever seen. 

With a premise based around what happens to you after death, you'll play as Jodie Holmes, played by Oscar Nominee Ellen Page, as she makes her way through this dark adventure. If you thought Heavy Rain looked great, just watch the trailer for this ridiculously cool looking game.


Sony was having a pretty decent conference and then they stopped it dead in its tracks with a demonstration of Wonderbook, their new Move enabled reading accessory that went on for ages. Instead of a simple trailer, they spent 18 MINUTES on this sure-fire flop that's supposed to make books more fun for kids. 

I'm sorry but that picture just shows how silly this thing really is. 

The first Wonderbook release will be Book of Spells which takes place in the Harry Potter universe and was developed with feedback from J.K. Rowling. She must be really confident in this endeavor since she apparently couldn't even film a video of herself endorsing this product. Great job, Sony, you gave me some much needed naptime during your conference.

Sony ended their conference just as they began it...with a bang! As I said last week, The Last of Us was my most anticipated game of E3 and Naughty Dog did not fail to deliver. The engine they're using on this seems like Uncharted on steroids with lush greenery and some truly stomach churning gore.

Joel and Ellie seem like characters that you'll get to know and care for throughout their journey through a post-apocalyptic America. It's been confirmed for an early 2013 release and I'm honestly very glad they didn't try to rush it out for the upcoming holiday season. Games like this need the polish that extra development time affords and I'm certain we won't be let down when we finally get to own this beauty.


So Sony ended up showing a lot of great games, the real story is what they didn't show. Sure, they revealed the title for Call Of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified, but that's all they did...reveal the title. There was no Killzone Vita, inFamous Vita, nothing. 

So they had their ups and downs, highlights and disappointments, just like every other year. However, in a year when you've released a fantastically powerful handheld, you'd expect them to do a little bit more to bolster it's sales. The Assassin's Creed Edition White Vita won't arrive until October and that's not enough to  bolster sales now, when they really need it.

Overall, I enjoyed what I saw from Sony this year but they just didn't spend enough time on the Vita. If I were a public school teacher reviewing papers on a deadline, I'd give them a quick B-.


This was clearly Nintendo's conference to lose and they kind of did. I had super high expectations for the BigN this year and even though I'm still excited for the Wii U itself, they could have done way more to pump up the general public for it. 

What they did "announce" however was either games everyone already knew about (Pikmin, Mario) or releases that certainly aren't going to set the world on fire when the console launches this holiday season. The names Metroid, Star Fox, Donkey Kong and Zelda weren't even mentioned in passing, which was a huge letdown for me personally. 

Of the games we already knew about, Pikmin 3 looks like another super-fun installment in this 11 year old franchise. The introduction of four different playable characters and 2 new species of Pikmin will definitely get fans to pick this up when it's released later this year. 

The game is primarily controlled by the WiiMote/Nunchuck configuration, while the Wii U Gamepad is used as your mapscreen as you fight the monstrous creatures that inhabit The Planet Of The Pikmin. The Wii U's HD visuals truly impressed me with this title, with realistic water effects and some great rendering of the titular creatures. 

With the exception of Pikmin 3 the real highlight of Nintendo's conference, for me at least, was Ubisoft's upcoming survival challenge ZombiU. This looks to be a true survival horror game as there seems to be limited resources at your disposal and a fantastic one hit death gameplay mechanic in use. 

The Gamepad is used to traverse a decimated London, unlocking doors and scanning for the undead with the second screen. Once you die you start back at the beginning of the adventure as a different survivor which intrigues me to no end. 

The game's tagline "How Long Will You Survive?" leads me to think there will be some sort of leaderboard set up for this gruesome game.  ZombiU looks to be a thrilling experience that as of now is exclusive to Nintendo's new console. 


With no huge games we didn't know about (Zombi U excepted) Nintendo pretty much presented a "Director's Cut" of last years show. True, they had more concrete details on the Wii U this year and actually showed a few games for it but there weren't any real surprises. I'd have to give their conference a C+ and hope that Reggie and Co. announce some mindblowing games in the next few months leading up to launch.

So there you go, my much delayed post-E3 article. Hope you enjoyed it and I apologize for not covering everything that Sony and Nintendo had to offer. Let me know what you think in the comments below or on the Twitters @TheRealMattC

Sunday, June 3, 2012

E3 Goodness!

      It's that awesome time of the year, when dreams can be fulfilled and dashed in an instant and the major software developers awkwardly tease their latest wares! E3 is always a pretty entertaining event with a ton of new games announced every year, and every once in a while we even get a new console.

In this article I'll be going over a few of the games that I'm really excited for as well as talking about Nintendo's new home system, Wii U.


Sony's Playstation 3 is currently my go to system when I want to play all the latest games. It truly is an amazing console that, like Sony says, Only Does Everything. On the other hand you have their recent Vita handheld, which hasn't been doing too great. To be honest I was super excited when this released but it just hasn't gotten much support.

Sony has already announced a bunch of huge upcoming games prior to E3, which can only mean one thing, they're going to drop some huge surprises at their press conference tomorrow night. One of which I hope is that PSOne Classics will finally be playable on the Vita.

Playstation 3 Games To Look Out For

The Last Of Us (PS3 Exclusive)

The next game from Sony's powerhouse first party studio, Naughty Dog, will probably be my highlight of the show. The story of a post-apocalyptic, plague ridden North America, this looks to be a sufficiently brutal and gripping tale of survival. Naughty Dog has clearly taken inspiration from various films and literature and the game seems to be a true emotional epic because of it. This is a game from a studio you can trust, they did make the Uncharted trilogy after all.

Tomb Raider (Multiplatform)

Five years ago when everyone saw the trailer for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, everyone's response was "Oh hey, Tomb Raider with a guy." Now in 2012 we'll get our first look at this gritty, "Uncharted with a lady" reboot of the classic Tomb Raider series. Judging from the trailer this looks to be a really good time with graphics and a storyline to match. Now we just have to wait and see if they've finally fixed those "classic" Tomb Raider controls.

Dead Space 3 (Multiplatform)

Not much is known about this game so far, but if it's half as terrifying as the last two entries in the series, we're in for a real treat. The only concrete details that have been announced are that it'll have a co-op mechanic and that it takes place on some sort of Hoth-like planet. Look for more details very soon.

Sure at first glance it's pretty much Sony Smash Bros., but apparently it plays a lot different Nintendo's fantastic brawler series. This should be a fun game just for the fact that you'll be able to have a four-way deathmatch consisting of Nathan Drake, Fat Princess, a Big Daddy and Cole MacGrath. Expect fun times with your friends either sitting on the couch or online.

Guacamelee! (PSN, Vita)

From the makers of the insanely fun Tales From Space series comes this cool sidescroller featuring a crazy Luchador. The last Tales From Space game that was released for Vita is probably that platform's best game and it only cost $8, so look for a sweet, cheap time with this one.

This appears to be another in a long line of crazy Japanese games that we rarely get stateside, but I'm glad we'll be receiving it. Soul Sacrifice looks very much like a portable Dark Souls with a cool, you guessed it, sacrifice mechanic mixed it. Developed by Sony's Japan Studio and being directed by the legendary Keiji Inafune (Mega Man, Onimusha, Dead Rising) expect some interesting gameplay on the go.

Aliens: Colonial Marines (Multiplatform)

Sega & Gearbox Software's Aliens FPS has been a long time coming and it actually looks to be worth the wait. Set right after the events of James Cameron's excellent sequel you take control of a squad of Colonial Marines and the poop hits the fan once you board the Sulaco. Sega's recent Aliens: Infestation on the DS was the first good game in this franchise in quite some time, so hopefully this release can keep the momentum going.

Doom 3: BFG Edition (Multiplatform)

One of my favorite series of all time is finally coming to the Playstation 3! This game scared the crap out of me back in the day and I can't wait to go back to Mars and fight the hordes of Hell once again. Bethesda is even including the original Doom & Doom II, so if for some reason you've never played those classics, here's your chance.

Assassin's Creed III (Multiplatform)

Assassin's Creed. The American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin makes your gadgets. 'Nuff Said.


Nintendo had a pretty rocky E3 last year. The Wii U was mentioned almost in passing and they just didn't make much of a splash. This year looks to be The Big N's time to shine however, their 3D handheld is trouncing Sony's Vita in sales and they're about to launch their 7th home console. My panties are certainly in a bunch for the Wii U after seeing today's reveal and I couldn't be more excited for it. Expectations are naturally very high this year and the team of Iwata, Reggie, and Miyamoto will hopefully leave a lasting impression on fans.  

Pre-E3 Wii U Reveal

Nintendo Games To Look Out For

I'm a fan of the New Super Mario Bros. games that have been released for the DS and Wii so this will be a welcome addition to the series. The ability to play as your Mii seems a bit silly, but as long as it doesn't effect the classic Mario gameplay we've come to love, then I'm fine with it. Oh and Mario in HD? Yes, please.

Pikmin 3 (Wii U)

Look for the return of Captain Olimar and his Pikmin horde to make an appearance at E3 this Tuesday. This long awaited sequel to the GameCube strategy series will utilize the Wii U Gamepad's touchscreen in some way and be displayed in glorious HD. Pikmin has always been one of my favorite Miyamoto franchises, it just has this outright weirdness that you don't get from a Mario or Zelda game. 

Tanooki Tail? P Wing?!?!?! I'm sold.

Mario's taller brother rarely gets to be in the spotlight and when the original Luigi's Mansion released with the GameCube I was quite pleased with his Ghostbusters-eque game. The sequel looks to be like more of the same, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

There you have it, my personal E3 preview with what I'm most looking forward to. Just remember, these are only the announced games and there's always some awesome surprises that pop up at the Expo. 

So What are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below, or Tweet me @TheRealMattC. This is going to be one hell of a week, folks.

I'm Not Very Good At Sinistar

     Recently having been bitten by the "Retro Bug," I decided to dust off my copy of Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play for the PSP and give the dreaded Sinsistar a try. My experience was less than stellar. This is a difficult, brutal game that does nothing to make your time with it easier.

Originally released in the arcades in 1982, the game was notable for being the first to feature stereo sound and a 49-way optical joystick. Before playing I had heard how difficult it is, but I really wanted to try it out for myself, more for the history lesson than anything else. Good thing I went into this for the history and not enjoyment because with this game I was way out of my element. I consider myself to be pretty competent at old-school space shooters like Asteroids and Tempest, but Sinistar was so difficult right from the get go that my mind was effectively blown. The game starts off as a typical Asteroids clone then jumps into uncharted territory pretty fast.

  "Beware! I Live!"

With those immortal words, Sinistar himself appeared and promptly ate my spaceship, causing the first of many lives to disappear. This guy is a real jerk and since I hadn't really read about the game beforehand, I kept trying to shoot him with my space-laser, to no avail. Turns out I need to collect the difficult to see blinking sprites to gain bombs in order to destroy him, piece by piece. The game gets so frantic that you end up losing lives just trying to find the 13 bombs required to destroy him, leading to many a frustrating death along the way. Oh and while you're trying to destroy his evil mocking face, you still have to deal with other ships that are constantly trying to kill you.

I eventually got Sinistar down to just his face, having destroyed all his shields, when a friend decided that he wanted to play Rampart. This dashed all my chances at killing Sinistar and actually beating the first level. That's right, I never made it past the first level! I'm kind of glad I didn't however, since from what I've heard, it only gets harder as the game progresses. 

So essentially, If you find yourself in the mood for some light masochism, give Sinistar a try. It's a ridiculously difficult space shooter with some pretty impressive graphics and effects for it's time. Pretty much the entire game is a boss-fight, so it certainly has that going for it. Who might actually enjoy yourself, I know I did, before Sinstar ate me for the 30th time in a row. 

I just wish I'd watched that strategy video before playing.

So as you can see I'm trying to change this into a gaming site offering news, reviews and various feature articles. Let me know what you think in the comments below!