3DS in NYC Previews: Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition

Probably the easiest game to discuss that was playable is SSFIV 3D. Its very literally exactly the same as the console versions you are likely already familiar with. The same 35 characters (still my Ibuki, of course!) and all the moves you know. The characters all come unlocked from the get-go, and each character has an alternate costume that youve seen, bought, or fought against in the console version.

There are a few new things going on here, though. The bottom screen allows for some touch-screen shortcuts, a handy tool for new players not looking to get serious and just have some fun. Another new feature is a new way to play, instead of the 2D plane were used to, a new dynamic mode is offered, where you can fight in a more over-the-shoulder view. It looks so much better, and feels really action-oriented, but is definitely a lot more difficult because you cant accurately scope things like your hit box area and its moving really fast.

In an effort to utilize the StreetPass functionality of the 3DS, SSFIV 3D has figurines that you can level up in an RPG-like fashion by increasing their HP, etc. When the 3DS is in sleep mode, if you pass another player your figurines will battle each other, winner outcome decided by stats. Just a little extra feature, cute, but probably not something thats going to get fighting gamers all riled up.

The graphics look fantastic and I can say they almost match up to the artistic shine on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. The 3D, however, albeit quality, I am not sure benefits the game. When in 3D mode, the game runs at 30 FPS, as opposed to the 60 FPS it will run when the slider is in 2D. Any fighting game fan knows how speed and time is everything, so I ended up opting to turn the 3D slider off.

The 3DS is definitely making this possible to look as shiny as it can possible look on a handheld. Its a perfect way to keep training and honing your skills even when youre away from your controller or your fightstick/pad Only thing is, it plays like it would on a standard controller, if only there was a way to employ an extra two buttons and play in the style weve been training on all these years.

Bulletstorm Demo Impressions

First person shooters are like action movies: they’re flashy, lacking in substance, and you can’t walk down a hallway without tripping on one these days.  Occasionally, you’ll find a Matrix or a 300 in titles like BioShock or Deus Ex, but the majority of them are your typical Van Damme or Stallone flicks.  Bulletstorm, at first glance, would appear to be the latter.  It’s flashy to the point of comedy, but carries a distinct humor and a unique gimmick that you will not find in most shooters.  With the release of the demo this week on the PSN and XBLA, I sat down with the game and tried to determine if the insane people over at People Can Fly have a winner on their hands, or just another short-lived firecracker.

The demo begins with a presentation, which at first had me worried that it was hands-off.  It runs through some action much like any trailer, but shows players what theyll be doing before actually allowing them any control.  The game stars Grayson Hunt, a stranded member of an intergalactic peacekeeping force who finds his ship wrecked on a strange planet, and the only way to get home safe is to kill his way out.  Hunt himself narrates the demo, and the invisible fourth wall flat-out does not exist as he talks directly to the player.  He even calls the demo a demo.  I feel like this was a smart way to present the game to players, both those who know what it’s all about and those who don’t.  They let you know right away that this is a game not meant to be taken seriously.  It’s a Duke Nukem for the next generation, despite the fact that Duke Nukem will actually see the next generation.  And thankfully, the humor does not fall flat, and I found a few unexpected laugh out loud moments.


The pre-demo presentation explains the Skillshot system, which rewards players for creative kills.  In the demo, Hunt has access to three guns, his electric whip, and his boot.  These items all used in conjunction, along with the environment, can make for some nasty kills.  The presentation shows off the majority of these, many of which involve launching enemies into the air for slow-motion headshot kills.  Hunt, apparently, has some type of time-altering field that allows him to send enemies soaring slowly through the air for easy precision kills.  Each gun, as well as the whip, also has a power shot activated by pressing the back shoulder buttons.  These are nasty and humorous, as in the case of one gun that launches a rocket.  When the rocket hits an enemy, it attaches to them and takes them into the sky for an explosive ride.

The world around Hunt also acts as its own weapon.  There are spikes and protrusions littered throughout on which he can impale enemies.  There is even a train that he can activate, gibbing the foolish cronies who remain in its way.  Basically, if you can think of a way to use your tools to kill something, you’ll probably be rewarded for it, and the grislier it gets, the more points you rake in.

As far as mechanics go, there isn’t anything too much different from your standard FPS here.  Hunt can slide, and while sliding can kick out, but the standard gunplay is quite familiar.  The world itself is definitely colorful and vibrant, looking more like Enslaved or Uncharted than Gears of War or any Call of Duty.  It’s also war-torn and beat-up, which makes for an interesting playground to romp around in.  Lacking in the demo is the ability to upgrade anything, which is the point of the Skillshot system, and the fabled epic boss fights.  The demo itself isn’t very long, and everything is so action-packed and furious, that you can blow through it in no time.  However, the ability to change up the kinds of kills you can perform as well as a ranking system that puts you in competition with other networked players makes the replayability factor on the demo quite high.


My only real concern with playing through this brief taste of Bulletstorm is that my options felt limited.  This could have been my own unfamiliarity with the numerous ways to kill things, but I felt like all I was ever doing was whip pulling and kicking my way through the enemies.  It’s unclear how the upgrade system will work in creating more avenues for awesome-awesome death, but hopefully it allows for more options.  Or perhaps I just need to play through it a half-dozen or so times.  It’s fast and fun enough that I can conceivably see doing just that.  Even that concern is minimal though, as Bulletstorm already offers more than 99% of the FPS games on any system.  I cant tell you how tired I am of the shoot-shoot-turret-driving sequence blueprint of almost every game I play in this genre.  To be able to do anything even slightly different will almost be a revolution.  Hopefully the full retail version offers up a whole world of brain-busting, ball-clenching action.  Well know for sure in about a month when we can finally start killing with skill.

Blockbuster Bethesda Line-Up with Release Dates: Hunted, Rage, Elder Scrolls and Brink

Four of Bethesda Softworks new heavy hitters have been given release dates. The good news? You wont have to wait very long to pick these up. The bad news, with so many great titles being released, you may run out of money.

To start the lineup, Brink, a new first-person shooter set to blend both single-player, co-op, and multiplayer together, will be releasing in North America May 17th and in Europe on May 20th.

Next up is Hunted: The Demons Forge. This new take on the traditional dungeon-raiding game promises intense action and a witty storyline. Players can expect this co-op gem to hit shelves on June 1st in North America and June 3rd in Europe.

Rage follows up as one of the most highly anticipated games to be released this year. Its a new IP from famed Doom developers id Software. An epic adventure in a wasteland, Rage promises vast lands to explore, intense firefights, and vehicle combat. The game releases September 13th in North America and September 16th in Europe.

Finally, the long overdue Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the next in line for the Elder Scrolls series, will be releasing November 11th (11/11/11) worldwide. All of these games are set to come out on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

Knights Contract Works Its Magic This February

What witch doesn’t wish she had an executioner at her command? Slash down those calendar days, because Knights Contract has gone gold for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. Gamers can expect the title in-hand on February 22.

The action game follows Heinrich, an immortal executioner whose list of victims once included Gretchen, a now resurrected witch. With Heinrich under her control, Gretchen can enact revenge against the evil Dr. Faust, whose bidding caused Gretchen her life by Heinrich’s hand. Together they’ll work to vanquish supernatural foes and restore order across 17th-century Europe.

The duo’s success depends upon the player’s ability to keep the mortal Gretchen alive while unleashing a flurry of combos as Heinrich. Think the Prince and Elika.

Sentinel and Hsien-Ko Confirmed For Marvel Vs Capcom 3

Robotic nemesis of the mutants and lower tier characters alike has returned, along with an undead Darkstalker. Sentinel and Hsien-ko joining the cast of Marvel Vs Capcom 3. Leaked via a German magazine picture, Marvel character Sentinel is returning to spam mini-versions of himself all over the screen. Wondering why his name isnt on the screen? Its because hes Player 2 and the lifebar is on the other side. If you tilt it just right, you can see a S. At the moment, its unknown if his playstyle has changed or if he will gain the coveted Mango coloring that fans are pining for.

As for Hsien-Ko of the Darkstalkers fame, you can see her face within a box for the character select screen as the guy turns the pages. Pause at 0:19, and look under Okamis mascot.  It seems the leaker Lupinko was right all along, though he did say he might have forgotten a character. Hit the video, though its rather low quality.

3DS in NYC: Combat of Giants Dinosaurs 3D Preview

Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D is an excellent launch window game to get kids interested itching to get a 3DS early. Its a combination of game types. When you start up, you can choose which type of dinosaur from a few different kinds: predators, hunters, chargers or defenders. Each family of dinosaurs has a different combative advantage over another. I was feelin rather predatorial this time around. You could also customize your dinosaur fully in tons of different colors and stripe colors, etc. Its your very own rather personalized piece of the Jurassic world.

Youre able to explore and adventure, have the ability to collect items and learn new dinosaur, facts, and throughout your adventure youll run into an enemy whom your dinosaur will then be pitted up against in a fight. Almost like a boxing ring concept, you and the other dinosaur (my first encounter being with a triceratops) will duke it out using special attacks that you can use at the right time. When the enemy rears his head and charges, thats your chance to break in and deal a powerful attack. You can also dodge their attacks or attack them forcefully enough and you can push them out of the arena and win, too.

As a side feature, you cant fight your friends dinosaurs in a multiplayer battle, but it does take advantage of the 3DS Street Pass feature. What that means is that if anyone else has the game that you pass by at school or in the streets, your dinosaurs will passively fight each other, and whichever dinosaur wins the duel while youre away will take home more items (though both will earn items for battling). This is perfect for kids who take their 3DS to school and put it away during the day, then open up later on to find out a classmate also owns the game and youve earned some new items.

This game does not use the stylus at all, and the combat is fairly easy and simple to get into, not to mention that the 3D looked great. There seemed to be plenty of dinosaurs to choose from and play as, and interesting facts to learn I can see this launch window title for the 3DS being popular among the early adopters of the 3DS with young boys in the household.

New Battle System in Pokemon Black and White

A new element of battle is being thrown into the mix with Pokemon Black and White: triple battles. Three-on-three battles are now possible, adding a bit more strategy to the mix and requiring a lot more preparation and diversity from a trainers team. The Pokemon placed in the center of your lineup can attack any of the opposing teams Pokemon, while the Pokemon on the left can only attack the one in front of them, or the center one, likewise with the Pokemon on the right only being able to attack the right Pokemon opposite them, and the center Pokemon.

Something that is a huge welcome to any Nintendo game is one of the new features in Black/White: random WiFi battles! Finally youll be able to just jump in and match up against players you dont know without the use of pesky friends codes with the goal of training your roster against players all over the world of all playstyles.

One of the tools in the game, C-Gear, seems like a handy device that is a great way to push the social boundaries forward for the Pokemon series. It facilitates the way you add friends to your friends list by allowing you to tap them in with the stylus instead of type out their friend codes using the IR communication built into the game card. What I like about it though, is the way it makes the game more social: you can pop up the C-Gear at any time and check out which of your friends are online and much like you would see on your console internet equivalent like on Xbox Live you can see exactly what your friends are currently doing in their game!

March 6th is coming up fast, and I cant wait to jump back into the series! The new 150 new Pokemon designs seem really unique and original this time around. Ill even give you a headstart on beating my butt: I always pick the water starter Pokemon

3DS Hands-On: Kid Icarus: Uprising

At Nintendo’s 3DS Conference here in New York, no one game in the demo room received more sparkle and pizzazz to distract you from another. Lined up, and in various small, circular stands were 3DSes. Everywhere. Same plain text sign above each wave of games. For me, Kid Icarus: Uprising was easily the star of the show. The 3DS has very significant graphical advances from the previous DS iterations. Of all the games present (and there were many gorgeous games), Kid Icarus has the most colorful, creative, and inviting visuals and art design. And thanks to the most comfortable, balanced thumbstick I’ve ever seen in the world of mobile gaming, quality shooter elements are now possible on the DS.

The playable demo offered two different stages. Level 1 which was labeled as easier and level 4 which was made for once you feel a bit more advanced and homey with the controls, which, I will add, are very easy to jump into. The first level starts off with Pit mid-flight, so you first learn the shooter controls. It’s pretty much on rails: the thumbstick on your left moves Pit, the stylus is used to aim your crosshairs and the left bumper will shoot. It might sound a little wild on pen and paper, but it works – for most people.

As a left-handed gamer for the history of my life, not every game was kind to my one-sided abilities. It kind of was relived a bit in Kid Icarus, holding the stylus with my right hand was something I could adjust to, but my left hand doing both the thumbstick and the bumper at the same time started to make the edge of the DS jam into my hand. It started to hurt. But there’s really no other way around it – there’s no other setup that could have been a better control scheme no matter how you look at it unless the 3DS had dual analog sticks, and then you wouldn’t even need the stylus.

Once you get accustomed to the flight controls, you start blowing through enemies. Place your cursor on them for an extra half second and you unleash a more focused attack from whichever ranged weapon you chose when the demo began (Orb, Claw, or Blades). Soon, you’ll find Pit kissing the ground to learn about the land controls. The camera can be moved by sliding the stylus – not ideal, but you can easily center the camera behind Pit, which is mostly how I handled that. Distant attacks will still yield your now-familiar attacks from the skies, but getting up close to your targets will allow you to bring the pain with your melee skills. You can also double tap the thumbstick to dash, like you would in many action/adventure games.

The soul put into the art and visuals shine very strongly in this title. Palutena, the Goddess of Light, is the one who has given you the ability to fly, and taught me the ropes in this first level of the demo, and had some dialogue going on during the demo. I didnt get much of the story just from this demo, mostly because it was noisy in the room I was playing, but the overarching goal is to take down Medusa and her swarms of hellions.

The game really felt the most polished, the most attractive, the most exciting experience that I had available to me thus far of the double fistful of games I’ve been able to get hands-on with thus far. It’s been forever since we’ve seen a Kid Icarus game, and ever since Brawl came out we’ve been wanting some one-on-one time with the brawlin’ angel. Now that it’s possible for shooters to succeed on a Nintendo platform, Kid Icarus has proved to me that it will not disappoint.